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Hockeyroos' Cronk becomes the hero
Guy Hand
23:20 AEST Thu Aug 2 2012

As a sustainable landscape designer by day, Hockeyroos goalkeeper Toni Cronk knows a thing or two about retaining walls.

The 32-year-old has spent three matches at the Olympic Games actually being one herself.

And her heroics in a 1-0 win over the United States on Thursday may have provided Australia's women's hockey team the chance to build something special at these Games.

With the game at 0-0, Cronk's brilliant 30th minute save from a penalty stroke kept Australia in the match.

Two minutes later, Anna Flanagan banged in the match-winning penalty corner flick.

Now after losing their first game, the Hockeyroos are right back in contention for a semi-final spot - Cronk's save from US captain Lauren Crandall's stroke perhaps the turning point of their campaign.

"I just try to keep them out as long as I can. Some days you save strokes, some days you don't. Today was my lucky day, I think," Cronk said.

Dreadlocked Cronk is becoming one of Australia's brightest stars at the Olympic campaign - eight years after barely figuring in her only previous Games in Athens.

She played just eight minutes as Rachel Imison's understudy, missed Beijing, and came into this year down the goalkeeping pecking order.

Yet as coach Adam Commens made massive personnel changes, Perth-based Cronk - originally from Sydney - has worked her way back to the top.

Her saves in London have come at crucial times to allow the young Hockeyroos to stay in games and find rhythm.

"As a group we're quite resilient. We've had 18 months with the new coach to try and get things right, and we've had to be resilient through that time (because of a lot of changes)," Cronk told AAP.

"I feel like we're at the start of something, and if you're at the start of something, you can win tournaments."

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