Filed under: Lauren Crandall
June 23 marked a monumental day for us field hockey players. First off, for all of us old ladies on the team, we finally returned to our original home at the Training Center in Virginia Beach where we took on #2 ranked Argentina. For the first time in the history of American field hockey our game was televised live on NBC Sports Network. But even better than that – we got to play in front of an amazing home crowd! I do not want to say that I was shocked to see so many people because obviously we have the best fans in the world! But the support from everybody was unbelievable. Shout out to everyone who made a sign, painted their face, or joined in the cheering! There is nothing like hearing the U-S-A chant over and over again! Thanks to all who watched and continue to support!
As if playing in front of a large home crowd on national television wasn’t enough to excite all of us, after the game we hurried to get ready for the Olympic Celebration Dinner. What a great night that was! To share the excitement of Olympic Team selection with all of our family, friends, coaches, young athletes, umpires, and fans was such an awesome opportunity!
Our team snuck through the back door of the gigantic room and tried to silently watch the emcees production from the back. Well if any of you have met myself or any of my teammates you would know how impossible of a task it is to keep us quiet when we’re around one another…oops! I’d like to think that we pulled off an incognito back seat until our big reveal, but I also don’t like to lie to myself. Nonetheless we had a great time watching the videos US Field Hockey put together and listening to all of the speakers. But finally our time had come to be introduced and it was so fun to watch each of my teammates run up the aisle high fiving, skipping, jumping, hugging, pointing and anything else that came to their minds as their name was called to the 2012 Olympic Team. Such a special moment for all of us to share with all of you! And to top it all off we ended the production holding a giant American flag (of course making sure it did not touch the ground…we’ve learned our flag etiquette!) while this awesome voice sang our Star Spangled Banner acapello – with us accompanying him as his background singers (sorry to all who heard us!)
After the celebration dinner officially concluded we all ran into the crowd and had the pleasure of signing autographs and taking pictures with the coolest fans ever! Thank you all so much for taking the time to celebrate with us. I can not tell you how amazing it feels to have so much support surrounding us in a room!
My hope is that we will feel that support while competing over in London! I love hearing and seeing all of the good luck messages that are posted on usafieldhockey.com and all of the social media that exists today! Please, keep it coming!
Here are a few pictures that a fellow Demon Deacon took at the Olympic Celebration Dinner. One is a picture of my parents, brother, sister, and Tiki Barber’s little girl Sammi and the other is me with my college coach, the fabulous Jen Averill, and Neil MacMillan who was my assistant coach at Wake Forest for 2 years
Filed under: Amy Tran Swensen
We’ve been in Canada for five days now and have played three out of the four test matches against the Canadian team. It has been a tour focused on goal scoring and we’ve really improved in that area. We’ve won each game so far, 3-1, 4-1, and 5-2 respectively. Tomorrow will be our last game and last day in Canada. I think we’ve grown a lot on this trip and learned some great lessons that will help us to continue to develop and improve as a team. Hopefully we’ll finish off the tour on a high note tomorrow.
We arrived here in Victoria Canada on Friday after waking at 3:30 a.m.
to get to the airport for our 6 a.m. flight. Most of the team slept on the first flight to Seattle and then it was a quick 25-minute flight from there to Canada. We trained that afternoon and then got right into games the following day. We played two games back-to-back, had a day off and finish with two more back-to-back games.
Our day off on Monday happened to be a national holiday here in Canada. It was Victoria Day. Unfortunately for us, many businesses closed down for the holiday. So after our morning training session, instead of sight seeing or getting into downtown Victoria, we went to a nice hotel for the day and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and a great dinner at night.
We’re staying at a college campus, University of Victoria. You know what that means, dorm rooms and dining halls! But being on a college campus is very convenient- we even walk to the field for our games. On tour the things that are important to me are good food, comfortable bed, laundry facility available, a place to store my goalkeeper equipment, and good Internet service. It’s the simple things… After this tour, our team disperses and goes to our High Performance Training Sites. We’ll all meet up at the University of Maryland to play in our National Championships from June 1-8. This tournament serves as our selection process for the 2012 National team, Developmental team and Olympic team. Things are getting exciting so check back soon!
Amy Tran Swensen
Filed under: Claire Laubach
Australia became one of my favorite places to compete because of the crowds and… the animals. It’s a nice change of pace from the roadrunners and rattlesnakes of Chula Vista, CA to kookaburras, kangaroos and koalas. After our first three matches against Australia, a group of us players went to the Australian Zoo where we could actually hold and pet them!
Our second leg of the tour, our first Four Nations Tournament, was in New Zealand, just a short plane ride away. It was a tough few games after well executed performances in Australia. We finished third against India falling short of our first place goal but, we did, however, gain valuable experience with a kicking back and an overtime victory. This kind of high intensity pressure is great to work through just before the Olympics. Should these scenarios come up in London, we’ll be comfortable. Below is a picture of New Zealand playing Australia in the finals, and the field of the second four nations tournament.
We started our third leg of the tour today, a second Four Nations tour, with a W. Its been great practice getting to work through different playing formations and how it effects our defensive structure. The trip is wrapping up with less than a week left but we still have big milestones to hit. Stay with us as we work towards bringing home a first place finish.
Filed under: Kayla Bashore-Smedley
The 14-hour plane ride from LA to Brisbane was not as bad as we thought it would be. There were individual tvs on the back of the seat in front of us, the food was excellent and they even gave us a small goodie bag for the time between dinner and breakfast. When we arrived, it felt a little more humid than southern California. At our first practice, however, my soaked pinnie and shorts confirmed it. I don’t think I was that sweaty from humidity since we trained in Virginia Beach!
We had played Australia earlier this year, losing the overall 4-test series so we were determined to get a jump on them and start off this series right. The sun was setting as we started to warm up and the temperature started to go down; amazing weather for a hockey game. The lights were on, the crowd lined the grass fields in their lawn chairs around the pitch and we were excited to play in some more International matches. The kookaburras (yes, that is a real bird, like the brand) like to swoop down along the pitch and pick up some bugs…just another thing to dodge while on the field.
We started the game off well with good possession and broke through their press. Our first goal came early in the first half. Day three into our trip, the jet lag is still wearing off and at times it was noticeable as we made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Every day the jet lag is getting better though. We had a few more scoring opportunities than them throughout the game and kept the ball out of our goal to come up with a great win to start the series. Afterward, the club provided a nice sit-down meal consisting of salad, lasagna, and a chocolate mousse dessert with whip cream! We are excited to finish the series with two more wins before heading to New Zealand for two 4-Nation tournaments where we will play New Zealand, Australia and India. Stay tuned for more results!