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The Pro League match, which was delayed by 20 minutes because of rain, was crucial for both sides.
The Black Sticks had the better in early possession and share of attack and struck first in the second quarter when Katie Doar entered the circle on the right side and sent a cross to Olivia Merry, who deflected it into the goal.
They added to their lead late in the second quarter when Kirsten Pearce deflected an amazing ball across the circle.
The Black Sticks looked positive early in the second half and were rewarded with their first penalty corner of the match, deftly taken by Ella Gunson to put the New Zealanders up 3-0.
The United States had the first penalty corner of the fourth quarter and were finally rewarded with a great set piece which featured two deflections as Danielle Grega scored.
Late in the quarter it earned another penalty corner which the Black Sticks defence kept at bay.
The New Zealand women will play Argentina tomorrow.
Black Sticks Women 3 (Olivia Merry 19', Kirsten Pearce 25', Ella Gunson 34'), United States Women 1 (Danielle Grega 51')
The Black Sticks men's team played out an entertaining 3-3 draw against Spain.
The New Zealanders looked to be heading for a win
before two late goals to Spain tied the match up.
Spain went on to win the penalty shootout with some clinical shots.
Black Sticks Men 3 (Jared Panchia 22', Stephen Jenness 34', Dylan Thomas 38'), Spain 3 (Pau Quemada 1' 53', Marc Miralles 53'). Win to Spain in penalty shootout.