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Spain down Black Sticks in opening Test

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/06/2017

New Zealand have lost the first match in their four-Test women's hockey series against Spain, beaten 2-1 in Barcelona.

It was a challenging match for the world No.5 Black Sticks, who arrived in the heat of Europe just two days earlier.

Tenth-ranked Spain controlled much of the match in front of a vocal home crowd, opening the scoring in the 15th minute through a reverse shot at goal from Belen Iglesias.

The second quarter was much tighter and after Spain doubled their lead, the Black Sticks responded thanks to a Kirsten Pearce field goal in the 20th minute.

New Zealand battled hard in the second half but were unable to convert any chances into points in a goalless 30 minutes of play.

Black Sticks assistant coach Sean Dancer said it was a scrappy performance in tough conditions.

"Spain dominated large patches of the game today, and as a team we were unable to control them well," he said.

"We are looking forward to resting up, re-grouping and coming out with something to prove for tomorrow's challenge."

The Black Sticks play Spain in the second Test at 6am on Monday (NZT), as they build towards the World League Semi Final in Brussels from June 21-July 2.

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