Katie Glynn did not know what hurt more.
After a pause for thought she reckoned it one of two things. "But I am not sure if it is my head or my heart".
Both were sporting considerable wounds after the Blacks Sticks dramatic defeat in a penalty shootout to the Netherlands at the London Olympics this morning.
With her gold medal dreams in tatters, head swathed in a bandages, tears rolling down both cheeks, Glynn recounted the moment she was knocked to the Riverbank Arena turf where she lay prone, crowd silent sensing Glynn was in a big big trouble.
She'd been hit flush on the head with a full blooded swing of a hockey stick.
Blood was pouring from a wound on top her head. Players rushed to her side and a stretcher was immediately called for.
After what seemed like an eternity, but was only half a minute, Glynn picked herself off the turf, rendezvoused with the team doctor under the grandstand and had her head stitched, stapled and bandaged.
And, in the best traditions of NZ cricketer Bert Sutcliffe, she returned to the fray in the second half when her team needed her most as they struggled to keep the Dutch at bay.
She toiled for another 20 minutes of regulation play and a further 15 of golden point action.
Both sides were locked at 2-2 after 85 minutes and then the Dutch stuck a dagger deep in the New Zealand side's heart winning the shootout 3-1.
That the heroine's effort was to no avail mattered little.
She was lauded by her team-mates and the admiring and the slightly disbelieving Dutch amazed at how she could shrug off such a sickening blow.
"I remember the hit," said Glynn afterwards.
"Everything went quiet and I was lying on the floor. I have not really been hit on the head before but I am not sure what hurts the most, my head or my heart."
Her pain has a familiar feel to it.
Glynn was part of the New Zealand team which lost the gold medal match (in a penalty shootout) to the Australians two years ago at the Commonwealth Games.
And it was more than purely coincidentally she collided with the hockey stick of Ellen Hoog. Hoog also rammed home the decisive and winning penalty in the shootout.
"It feels like déjà vu," she confirmed.
"Obviously we are very disappointed and we now need to keep our heads up and try get that bronze."
New Zealand will play Great Britain in the bronze medal match at 2.30am on Saturday (NZ time).
Either way the result is a triumph. Unlike the men, the women have never played for a medal at the Games before.
And it seems Glynn's gutsy performance could be the tonic her team needs as inspiration after today's bitterly disappointing result.
"People would have been surprised that we pushed them so hard because they are the No 1 ranked side in the world. We are proud of our effort and it was disappointing not to get the result because we fought hard. We are a united team. The girls are good at sticking together. We have showed that in the past and we still have plenty to play for. I'm sure we will pick ourselves up off the ground and perform well in our next game."
- © Fairfax NZ News