26 Jun 2016

Black Sticks draw with USA

8:40 am on 26 June 2016

The New Zealand women's hockey team were unable to seal their place in the bronze medal match at the Champions Trophy in London after they drew 1-all with the USA in their final round robin match.

Black Sticks Kayla Whitelock (L) and Olivia Merry celebrate a goal

Black Sticks Kayla Whitelock (L) and Olivia Merry celebrate a goal Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Sticks, who are ranked fourth in the world, will now meet Great Britain in the play-off for fifth.

The USA are now guaranteed a minimum fourth place finish at this event, despite entering the competition as the lowest placed side in the FIH Hero World Rankings (7th).

USA scored the opening goal in the tenth minute thanks to Kelsey Kolojejchick, with New Zealand replying through Olivia Merry's penalty corner six minutes after half time.

New Zealand replaced their goalkeeper with an outfield player in the latter stages, although it was the Americans who would surely have won the match were it not for three exceptional goal-line clearances from Brooke Neal.

"Really, we are just looking to close out this tournament, put in a strong performance and play to our best", said USA defender Julia Reinprecht.

"We want to leave the tournament knowing what we have to work on before hitting it hard in training and getting set for Rio (Olympics). That said, we really are eying up the bronze medal here."

New Zealand's Charlotte Harrison said: "We weren't clinical enough up front today so that was a bit of a shame. We needed a win to play-off for the bronze.

"Unfortunately that didn't quite come through so we are pretty gutted. Onwards and upwards for Rio."

Assistant coach Sean Dancer said it was a disappointing result given the amount of chances his team created.

"We came up with a lot of good chances to score goals but struggled to put them away, so it was a disappointing result for us," he said.

"Tomorrow's game will be a tough challenge but we need to be ready to finish the tournament with a good result."

The Netherlands and Argentina will meet in the final.