Black Sticks lose heartbreaker in shootout

England players pile on goalkeeper Maddie Hinch after their shootout victory over New Zealand.
England players pile on goalkeeper Maddie Hinch after their shootout victory over New Zealand.
Black Sticks goalkeeper Sally Rutherford takes out England's Alex Danson, who still manages to score.
Black Sticks goalkeeper Sally Rutherford takes out England's Alex Danson, who still manages to score.
Sombre Black Sticks Sophie Cocks, Gemma Flynn, Anita Punt line up to shake hands with England.
Sombre Black Sticks Sophie Cocks, Gemma Flynn, Anita Punt line up to shake hands with England.
Kayla Whitelock attempts to clear the ball from New Zealand's end after a penalty corner.
Kayla Whitelock attempts to clear the ball from New Zealand's end after a penalty corner.
Dejected Black Sticks players walk from the turf as England huddle in celebration.
Dejected Black Sticks players walk from the turf as England huddle in celebration.
NZ goalkeeper Sally Rutherford cannot stop the shootout attempt from England's Georgie Twigg.
NZ goalkeeper Sally Rutherford cannot stop the shootout attempt from England's Georgie Twigg.
Black Sticks coach Mark Hager watches in the final minutes, as Kayla Whitelock and Petrea Webster sit in the sin-bin.
Black Sticks coach Mark Hager watches in the final minutes, as Kayla Whitelock and Petrea Webster sit in the sin-bin.
Katie Glynn is dispossessed and taken out by England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch during the shootout.
Katie Glynn is dispossessed and taken out by England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch during the shootout.
England's Lily Owsley celebrates her first half goal against New Zealand.
England's Lily Owsley celebrates her first half goal against New Zealand.
New Zealand's Petrea Webster attempts to make her way between England's Susannah Townsend and Lucy Wood.
New Zealand's Petrea Webster attempts to make her way between England's Susannah Townsend and Lucy Wood.
Under the gaze of a TV camera, the Black Sticks huddle before their semifinal against England.
Under the gaze of a TV camera, the Black Sticks huddle before their semifinal against England.

Meek performances right when it counts is now more than coincidence for the New Zealand women's hockey team, it's a nasty and a hard to break habit. 

After being shocked by England overnight, the Black Sticks are today mourning the loss of a chance to play for Commonwealth Games gold and preparing for a face-saving bronze medal game against South Africa.

New Zealand and England finished regulation time locked at 1-1 though that flattered the Kiwis.

DEVASTATED: New Zealand captain Kayla Whitelock was "gutted" after the Black Sticks lost to England in Glasgow.
DEVASTATED: New Zealand captain Kayla Whitelock was "gutted" after the Black Sticks lost to England in Glasgow.

As meek as they were in the first 70 minutes, they were worse in the shootout as nerves clearly took over. 

Captain Kayla Whitelock scored first before Anita Punt, Katie Glynn then Stacey Michelsen all missed their shots with uncharacteristic poor attempts. 

Kiwi goalie Sally Rutherford saved one of the English shots, but that wasn't enough to save her side. 

Coach Mark Hager was at a loss to explain what he called a "skittish and standoffish" performance against an English side that in June finished a lowly 11th at the World Cup.

Whitelock and Glynn both echoed his sentiments as their crestfallen team-mates left the Glasgow National Hockey Centre turf. 

"I'm pretty gutted to be honest, we all are," said Glynn whose clever 69th minute deflection forced the shootout. 

"We dominated that game. We let ourselves down. The ball movement wasn't great and we held on to it too long."

As the Kiwis trudged off the turf with disbelief and heartbreak pasted over their faces, Whitelock was livid her side had let the occasion get to them. Again.

"Gutted. Disappointed," she said bluntly.

"We didn't come out and play like we normally do and that's the most frustrating part. We were timid."

Hager was equally disappointed and was lost for an explanation.

"When you've only got three or four players who played well out of the 16, that doesn't help."

Even from early on the match it wasn't the Kiwis' day.

They dominated most of the first half and had a generous helping of possession, but couldn't score. 

Then England scored against the run of play through Lily Owsley. The Kiwi heads dropped as thoughts of recent costly slip-ups would have surely come flooding back.

They then tried to do to much individually and were guilty of trying to chase the game rather than continuing what had been working throughout the tournament.

"Apart from the last five minutes when we decided to move the ball quickly and combined," Hager said.

"We made silly decisions and were very poor entering the attacking third. Whether the players got overawed by the occasion, I'm not sure."

This is far from the first time the women's team have slipped-up when the pressure is on. 

They lost the final of the last Commonwealth Games - to Australia - on strokes and were beaten in the bronze medal match by a Great Britain side featuring most of the current England team. After setting high goals for June's World Cup, they also cost themselves spot in the semifinals when they were poor and were upset against Korea. 

New Zealand now meet South Africa in the bronze medal match after they were thumped 7-1 by Australia. 

England 1 (Lily Owsley) New Zealand 1 (Katie Glynn). HT: 1-0. England win 3-1 in shootout

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