'Sensational' win takes team to semifinals
The Southland-Otago men's hockey team will contest the semifinals of the national senior tournament in Wellington today, after a fine 4-1 win over Wanganui yesterday.
Needing to win to book a place in the top four, the Southland-Otago team turned it on to run out deserved winners.
Hockey Southland elite coach Mark Stafford was thrilled with the result and labelled it the most comprehensive performance from a Southland representative team in several seasons. "They played sensational hockey. They played really well," he said.
Southland-Otago will now play Tasman in their semifinal clash at 3.30pm today. The composite team are predominantly made up of Southland-based players, with a couple of Otago players bolstering the side.
Morgan McLean scored two goals against Wanganui, with Rhuebyn Prattley and Matt Young also netting in the win.
The Southland women's team were less successful yesterday, losing 3-2 to North Harbour, in a game they had to win or draw to qualify for the semifinals.
Southland made a slow start to the game and found themselves down 2-0 at halftime, which they were never able to recover from.
Megan McCrostie pulled a goal back for Southland early in the second half, but another strike from North Harbour restored their two-goal buffer. Megan Winsloe added a late consolation goal for Southland.
It was Southland's second consecutive loss by a single goal, after losing 4-3 to Taranaki on Wednesday.
Earlier in the week, Southland made a wonderful start to the tournament, upsetting Wellington and Canterbury.
Stafford said the women's team were disappointed to miss out on a place in the semifinals, but they can finish as high as fifth over the final two days of the tournament.
"They deserved to make the semis, but missed a couple of opportunities as a team," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News