Field hockey looking for first podium finish since 1984
By Tyler Poslosky | BSU at the Games
Four years removed from its eighth-place finish in the Beijing Games, Team USA Field Hockey is set on making history in London with a podium finish.
After shocking Argentina 4-2 in the final of the XVI Pan American Games en route to claiming its first-ever gold medal in the tournament, the U.S. looks to transfer that momentum into the London Games.
The unpredictable triumph over the former No. 1 team in the world, Argentina, boosted the U.S.’s confidence heading into London, and head coach Lee Bodimeade believes his team has learned from the past.
“We’ve just targeted every game as being one game in a row,” Bodimeade said. “You play well enough to beat the world’s No. 1 [team], then that’s the level of performance that you need to bring to every game at the Olympics.”
With nine of his 16 players making their Olympic debuts, team chemistry hasn’t been a concern for Bodimeade thus far.
“The team has been together for 12 months of preparation,” Bodimeade said. “We’ve added three players due to injuries just prior to the Pan American Games—Kayla Bashore-Smedley, Amy Swensen and Keli Smith Puzo. And there’s 450 international caps collectively [between them].”
As the No. 10 team in the world, the U.S. drew a challenging crowd of teams in Pool B. Undoubtedly the tougher of the two groups with four of the U.S.’s five opponents ranked in the top seven, Bodimeade is optimistic about his team’s chances of medaling.
“We learned a lot of lessons out of Beijing,” Bodimeade said. “We missed an opportunity to really challenge the top teams in the world. I have a feeling that we were [just] happy to go to the Olympics rather than be successful.
“The positives that come out of it are now we have that Olympic experience. Most of our [team] is doubling up for their second [Olympic Games], and we want to go into London knowing that our goal is finish in the top four and to challenge for the medals.”
Tyler Poslosky is a senior telecommunications and journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @tylerposlosky, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.
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