Black Sticks striker Olivia Merry is on a goal scoring run which is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Cantabrian has gone from strength to strength since being a key member of the team which won gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
This year the 27-year-old was the leading goal scorer in the Pro-League, notching up a staggering 15 goals in 16 matches against the best teams in the world.
Most recently Merry scored the goal which won her team the Oceania Cup over world number two ranked Australia. The win also qualified her side for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“It’s sort of become a specialty of mine over the last 16 months being good off the corners and it was pretty awesome to get that one,” said Merry.
“It was a massive team effort to get to that point and I was just lucky be able to be the one to put it in the back of the net.”
The early Olympic qualification is a huge advantage for the team which can now turns its focus towards the pinnacle event of Tokyo 2020.
“It means we can start our preparation now and don’t have to worry about the qualification process.
“It’s a pretty surreal feeling to beat the number two team in the world and really stamp our mark on the next six months.”
It’s been a busy year for the team which was recently in Japan for a warm-up series against the host nation. The matches allowing players to get to grips with the environment they’ll be playing in next year.
“It was really useful to experience that heat and what you can do in that heat. We had a physiologist who came with us so we’ll be putting the learnings from her research into practice as well. Overall we loved the trip and it was really cool to get to experience the Japanese culture as well.”
Merry has become one of the senior figures in the Black Sticks and credits the relationships within the team for her goal scoring stats.
“I’ve got a fantastic team behind me and it makes it pretty easy to put one in the back of the net when 10 other girls have done all the hard work for you. It comes down to playing really well with the team and being in the right place at the right time.”
The Black Sticks women celebrating their Olympic qualification and ready to put it all on the line at Tokyo 2020.
“Our team’s been through a lot in the last year so it’s pretty special to really nail it on the head and take the opportunities that were given to us. We were really happy with that win and now we know the next 11 months are going to be a lot of work.”
Tokyo 2020 Gold Coast 2018 Olympic Summer Games Commonwealth Games Olivia Merry Hockey