Hockey: Black Sticks women see Paris Olympics dream end with devastating loss to United States

Black Sticks women have seen their Paris Olympics hopes dashed with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to the United States in a qualifying tournament at Ranchi, India.

The Americans scored the gamewinner in the second quarter, when Elizabeth Yeager converted a penalty corner opportunity.

Faced with elimination, the Kiwis stormed the US goal throughout the fourth quarter and had two goals disallowed - one deemed too high and the other for obstruction.

Black Sticks women reflect on defeat to USA.
Black Sticks women reflect on defeat to USA. Photo credit: Supplied

An earlier loss to India in poolplay meant the Black Sticks needed Italy to topple the hosts to keep their tournament semi-final chances alive, but India ultimately prevailed 5-1.

Only the top three teams from tournaments at Ranchi and Valencia progress to the Olympics.

New Zealand lost bronze-medal playoffs to Great Britain and Germany at London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 respectively, but the warning signs were there, when they barely scraped through group play on goal difference at Tokyo 2020 and lost to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. 

The Black Sticks now face Czech Republic in the playoffs for positions 5th-8th.

Meanwhile, the Kiwi men are still alive in their qualifying bid, after drawing 2-2 with world champions Germany at Muscat, Oman.

New Zealand scored in the opening seconds, when Sean Findlay took advantage of a pinpoint aerial ball into the attack circle. Germany levelled the score from a penalty corner in the second quarter and then went ahead from another set-piece four minutes later.

Hayden Phillips brought the Kiwis back with a deflection into the roof of the net and goalkeeper Leon Hayward produced three outstanding saves to preserve the deadlock.

Black Sticks men now have a win and a draw from their two pool games and only need a draw against winless Canada to reach the semis.