Van As key to Holland's hockey title defence in Rio
She was in the squad that won the gold medal in the last two editions of the Olympics.
Judging by her performance at the TPG International Tri-Series last night, Naomi van As could just be a key factor in Holland making it a potential hat-trick in Rio de Janeiro, from Aug 5 to 21.
Van As contributed two out of Holland's four goals as the Dutch beat Australia 4-1 at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.
The goals, though, came as a surprise to the player.
IMPRESSIVE DISPLAY: Holland's Naomi van As (in white) outsmarting her opponents with two goals in a 4-1 win over Australia. -- TNP PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
"I'm not one who scores a lot of goals, but it's always nice to score," said the 32-year-old.
However, the heroine felt that the team's performance was more important, coming out of the match against their world No. 3 opponents.
The first quarter saw both teams having difficulty finding good opportunities before Dutch captain Maartje Paumen opened the scoring in the second quarter with a slick penalty corner.
It was the fourth quarter that turned out to be the most exciting with four goals converted.
Australia made the encounter interesting when they equalised through Emily Smith. However, the Dutch eased to victory, courtesy of goals from van As (two) and Kelly Jonker, who marked her 100th outing for Holland yesterday.
Dutch coach Alyson Annan believes that van As' star performance at the competition was important for the player to take away.
"Naomi has been an integral part of this team for a long time. And she just needs to realise that herself," Annan said.
"And we need to be able to give her the confidence and the ability to be able to play like she always can.
"And here we saw Naomi play better than she has for a long time and I'm very happy about that."
Annan was certainly pleased with her world No. 1-ranked team's improvements, by the end of the three-team (with Germany) competition.
"We're physically better, we're tactically stronger and (for) our finishing in the circle, we're more aware of where we are in the circle," she said.
"All we know is that we've been out to achieve a lot being here, and, as a coach, you always want to achieve more and be more, although I think we've done a lot here."