The Vantage Black Sticks Women have rebounded in the best possible fashion with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Belgium. Olivia Merry capped a great weekend with a massive four-goal effort that has now taken her to being the all-time leading goal scorer for the Vantage Black Sticks Women.
Belgium stunned the Vantage Black Sticks Women in the opening match of the FIH Hockey Pro League. They were looking to continue their winning streak going when the two sides met for the second time.
New Zealand came out of the blocks firing and went close on several occasions early in the match, unfortunately for the Kiwis they couldn’t get the needed touch to put themselves in front in the contest.
The Kiwis continued to apply significant pressure on the Belgians and were rewarded with three penalty corners in the first quarter to the Belgians 0.
Despite the weight of possession in favour of the Black Sticks, it was the away side that got on the scoreboard first when they pressed the New Zealand team aggressively, this forced the New Zealand team into a turnover deep in their half that found a deflection past Brooke Roberts.
For the second time in two days, it was the Belgians who played from in front in the match.
As the first half wound down the Belgium side started to play with attacking flair, they managed to string several passes together as they went close to extending their lead.
Early in the third quarter, the Belgium team couldn’t clear their defensive zone. Black Sticks star striker Olivia Merry took advantage of this to deflect in her first goal of the match and tie the contest up.
Moments later the Vantage Black Sticks earned themselves a penalty corner. This time the Kiwis managed to get a clear shot off as Olivia Merry would score her second with a shot that went straight into the corner of the goal.
New Zealand was able to increase their lead early in the fourth quarter when Olivia Merry tied the New Zealand record of 105 goals with her third goal of the match.
The win was sealed in the final minutes of the game when Merry had her fourth goal of the contest after a great pass from Gemma McCaw found its way through several defenders and took a deflection off Olivia Merry. Her fourth goal took Merry past Anita McLaren for the all-time record of 106 goals for the Vantage Black Sticks.
Vantage Black Sticks Women 4 (Olivia Merry 31, 35, 51, 55 min)
Belgium 1 (Abi Raye)