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Michelsen stunner caps NZ hockey victory

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/06/2016
Stacey Michelson © Getty Images Stacey Michelson

A first-minute solo stunner from Stacey Michelsen has lifted the New Zealand women's hockey side to a 1-0 Champions Trophy victory over Great Britain in London.

The 25-year-old Michelsen wasted no time putting the Black Sticks in front, weaving through four players and slipping past British keeper Maddie Hinch to tap into an empty net.

New Zealand had other chances to score, notably in the third quarter when Gemma Flynn rounded the keeper only to have her shot cleared off the line.

But in the end Michelsen's strike was enough, despite late opportunities for Great Britain to peg one back on home soil through Sophie Bray and Susannah Townsend.

The result lifts New Zealand off the bottom of the Champions Trophy ladder after earlier losses against Australia and world number one The Netherlands.

"It was just the good leading off the ball which created the space for me to be able to break through the middle," Michelsen said.

"I just continued on through."

She said the result could serve as a springboard for their Olympic tilt in August.

"After the first couple of games we were feeling a little bit disappointed and probably a little bit deflated given Rio is so close," she said.

"We definitely will be ready once we get there but we're certainly not there yet."

Coach Mark Hager says his side has improved on their previous two performances and defended well.

However he said New Zealand was too exposed through the centre of the hockey field.

"That first quarter was sensational," Hager said.

"Obviously having (captain) Kayla Whitelock back today gave the girls a bit more confidence, when you've got someone who has played that many games and is a good leader."

In other results, Argentina edged out Australia 2-1 and The Netherlands thumped USA 4-1.

The Black Sticks Women will play Argentina next on Thursday (NZT).

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