The women's Black Sticks will defend their title at the Vantage Hawke's Bay Hockey Festival following a 2-1 win over USA in their final pool match today.
The home-side was in second place and needed to win to ensure a place in the final after Japan beat Australia earlier today.
USA started the match strong, scoring in the third minute when Caitlin van Sickle completed a well worked penalty corner.
The Black Sticks struggled to string passes together and had to defend strongly throughout the first quarter , but ten minutes from half-time they started take possession.
In the 23rd minute a cross from Olivia Merry found Kirsten Pearce unmarked in front of goal and she made no mistake with the shot.
Brooke Neal found the net in the 28th minute.
The 2-1 win sees the Black Sticks top the pool in the double round robin competition with 11 points, Japan and Australia finish on 9 and the USA 4.
The Black Sticks will play against Japan in the final tomorrow night .