Amy Rossiter-Stead making a save in the penalty shoot-out. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Jake Beleski

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A stunning performance from goalkeeper Amy Rossiter-Stead in last week’s national under-18 hockey tournament at Clareville epitomised the defensive qualities of the Wairarapa Under-18 women’s team.

Wairarapa played six matches over six days, and eventually finished 10th out of 17 teams.

Coach Bevan Brown said they were the second best defensive team over the tournament, but simply didn’t score enough goals at the other end.

Rossiter-Stead was at the core of the team’s defensive effort, and produced an amazing performance in the penalty shoot-out against Bay of Plenty after the scores were locked at 1-1 after extra time.

She made five consecutive saves, allowing Wairarapa to win the shoot-out 1-0.

The week started well for the team with a 2-1 win over South Canterbury, with goals scored by Stacey Wood and Rosie Rooderkirk.

Losses to Taranaki and Canterbury (both 1-0) followed, before the team beat Southern 1-0 in extra time, with the goal scored by Poppy Lambert.

The wild weather late last week forced the rescheduling of some matches, and Wairarapa’s last match against North Harbour was their third in about 24 hours.

It proved too much to handle in such a short space of time and they were beaten 1-0 to finish 10th overall.

Brown said despite their short preparations together, the group had come together really well.

“The girls dug really deep in the end and just couldn’t quite get over the line.

“We didn’t concede many goals, but the problem we had was we didn’t score enough at the other end.”

Canterbury eventually went on to win the tournament, with silver going to Waikato and bronze to Manawatu.

Brown said the group had plenty of potential, and had shown they could match it with the best in the country.

“We had a really tough pool, and the second game against Taranaki we dominated, but gave away an early goal and couldn’t get one back.

“Even the game against Canterbury, they had been scoring four or five goals in most games but only put one past us.”

Strong performers throughout the week were Rossiter-Stead, Maya Champion and Zophia Roberts at the back, and Annabel Butterick in midfield.

The girls would now go back to being rivals in Wairarapa’s local hockey competition, Brown said.

“They all split back off into their three schools now, and Waicol and St Matthew’s have their derby coming up in the first week back of school.”