Black Sticks women lose World League semis
The Netherlands have booked their place through to the final of the World League Semifinal tournament after a convincing 5-2 victory over the women's Black Sticks in their semifinal clash in Rotterdam this morning (NZ time).
The Dutch have had the edge over New Zealand in recent times, winning their semifinal battle in a shootout at last year's London Olympics, and that theme continued today.
They will now take on Germany, who beat Korea 3-2 in the other semifinal, in the final.
New Zealand will play Korea in the playoff for third and fourth. The winner of that clash automatically qualifies for next year's World Cup.
Both New Zealand and the Netherlands had already sealed a berth at the World League Final tournament in Argentina in December, before today's game started.
The Netherlands were rampant in the early stages of the game, scoring three goals in the opening 16 minutes to seize control.
They netted after just four minutes, when Margot van Geffen scored in a goalmouth scramble to give them the perfect start to the game.
The Dutch doubled their advantage in the 14th minute, when Kim Lammers deflected a viscous shot from Valerie Magis into the goal, to make it 2-0.
Things went from bad to worse for the Black Sticks, 2 minutes later, when Kelly Jonker found the back of the net from a great earlier pass from Ellen Hoog.
New Zealand had their best chance of the first half in the 22nd minute, but Gemma Flynn fired wide with a promising reverse flick chance.
The Black Sticks gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Petrea Webster pulled a goal back, 10 minutes out from halftime, to make it 3-1.
The Netherlands finished the first half strongly, and the Black Sticks had goalkeeper Bianca Russell to thank, for keeping the margin to just two goals at halftime.
It was an emphatic first-half performance from the Netherlands, as they enjoyed 71 per cent of possession and the far better goalscoring opportunities.
The Netherlands made sure of the victory with 16 minutes left, when Lammers scored her second of the game to give them a 4-1 buffer. Kitty van Male added to New Zealand's woes shortly after, scoring the Netherlands' fifth goal, to cap off a pleasing performance for the Olympic gold medallists.
To their credit, the Black Sticks kept fighting until the final whistle and added a late consolation goal through Katie Glynn.