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Penalty shootout disappointment for Black Sticks women

Black Sticks co-captain Megan Hull says she is proud of her side after it suffered a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out loss to England in Birmingham.

Alex Lukin on the charge.
Photo: Matthew Impey / www.photosport.nz

New Zealand had to beat England to defend their Commonwealth Games hockey title.

It was 0-all after regulation time and came down to a penalty shoot-out which England won 2-0.

The Black Sticks will now meet India in the bronze medal match.

An emotional Hull said she was proud of her side.

“That performance out there tonight was nothing short of incredible from our girls … there’s a few shattered hearts out there but boy am I proud to be a part of this group,” Hull said.

Hull said they put everything into it.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t go our way so we’ll go home tonight and take the time we need but I know the character of our group and I know we’ll be back fighting for that bronze.”

New Zealand were reduced to 10 players on two occasions after being issued yellow cards.

Other than the penalty shootout Hull said there was not much separating the sides.

“It’s probably at the end of the day a bit more clinical around PCs [penalty corners] and just finishing off a few things in the circle … but we defended like trojans and when it gets to shoot-outs it can be anyone’s game.

“Sport can be an absolute beauty and it can be a beast and it’s a beast of a day for us today but we’ll have to make it a beauty in that bronze medal.

“It really hurts us but we’ve such incredible characters in this team that we’ll get back up for this bronze medal match.”

The team includes just four of the athletes who were part of the gold medal winning squad at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Given their inexperience Hull said they were brave in the face of a loud English crowd.

“Our girls that took shoot-outs, to actually be out there doing that is unbelievable and our entire unit is just so bloody proud of them for

even getting out there and giving it a go.”

Hull said goal keeper Grace O’Hanlon also had an outstanding game after making a number of saves.

Australia sunk India in a controversial penalty shootout 3-0.

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