Slattery dazzles for Hockeyroos as they reach quarterfinals

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Two brilliant goals from South Stirling star Kathryn Slattery in the final pool game have guided the Hockeyroos to a strong position at the Hockey World League Semifinal tournament in Brussels as part of their bid to qualify for the HWL Final and next year’s World Cup.

After wins over Malaysia (3-0) and Belgium (1-0) to go with a 2-0 loss to New Zealand, the Hockeyroos came up against Spain in their final qualifying game of pool B on Sunday and a dominant display from the South Stirling-bred striker led her side to victory.

In the 28th minute, Slattery opened the scoring, a clever deflection finding the back of the net to reward her side for their dominance in possession.

Spain equalised after half-time, but again Slattery stepped up to give her side the advantage with a superb piece of play, weaving around a defender and then slamming a searing shot into the bottom-right-hand corner.

Goals to Georgina Morgan and Emily Smith ensured the Hockeyroos won 4-1 as they went on to finish top of their pool by virtue of a superior goal difference over New Zealand.

The victory over Spain was crucial to the Hockeyroos as they now play the fourth-placed side from pool A, China in tonight’s quarterfinal. Slattery, a member of the Hockeyroos Olympic squad last year, has now played 74 caps for the national side and scored 27 goals.

She said the new-look squad were feeling confident heading into the important stage of the tournament.

“I was stoked with the goals, really happy to get on the scoreboard,” the 23-year-old said.

“I was also happy to get some field goals in the tournament as the group has struggled a little bit in that area.

“It was a quality performance and one we can take a lot of confidence from.

“Quarterfinals are always tough but we feel confident with our structures and way of play moving forward.

“It’s a big game but that also brings some excitement, and having a few days off beforehand puts us in a good position physically, as well as time to scout the opposition, and there is a good feel around the group.”

The Hockeyroos face China in the quarterfinals at 9.30pm WA time, and a win will progress them into Saturday’s semifinals and then medal games and position play-offs on Sunday.

A top-three finish in the tournament will qualify the Hockeyroos for the HWL final in Auckland in November, while the top five teams earn automatic qualification into the 2018 World Cup in London.

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