Punjab News Express/Balbir Singh
AUCKLAND : Vantage Black Sticks Women’s head coach Mark Hager has named two teams for this month’s series against USA and the Vantage Festival of Hockey, reports Hockey New Zealand.
A group of 17 will travel to Rangiora for games against USA on March 25 and 26 , before Natasha Fitzsimons and Rachel McCann join a full team of 18 for the Festival in Hastings from March 31 to April 9.
Both teams are highlighted by plenty of young talent and led by a core of experience through the likes of Stacey Michelsen (221 tests), Olivia Merry (148), Rose Keddell (144) and Liz Thompson (130).
It will be an exciting return for Midlands defender/midfielder Shiloh Gloyn, who sees her first international action since suffering a torn ACL last year.
Coach Hager said it’s a timely follow on for the squad after some lessons taken away from the recent series against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
“We’re still broadening our squad as we track towards some important selections for the FIH World League Semi Final in June, which is crucial as it doubles as a chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup,” Hager said.
“We need to start converting our opportunities which was highlighted from the recent Argentina series as a priority work on, so we have made some changes to our forward line and playing structures in an effort to complete the good work we have been doing in the attacking third of the field.
“Both series are great opportunities to identify players that will provide us with the best combinations as we move forward over the next few months.”
Vintage Black Sticks Women’s Teams
USA Tests – March 25 and 26, Rangiora: Shiloh Gloyan, Erin Goad, Sam Harrison, Pippa Hayward, Tessa Jopp, Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Grace O’Hanlon, Kirsten Pearce, Amy Robinson, Sally Rutherford, Kelsey Smith, Jenny Storey, Kim Tanner, Liz Thomson.
Hawke’s Bay Cup – March 31 to April 9: Natasha Fitzsimons, Shiloh Gloyn, Erin Goad, Sam Harrison, Pippa Hayward, Tessa Jopp, Rose Keddell, Rachel McCann, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Grace O’Hanlon, Kirsten Pearce, Amy Robinson, Sally Rutherford, Kelsey Smith, Kim Tanner, Liz Thompson.