Posts tagged "field hockey"

Quick exit leaves Team USA Field Hockey with higher hopes

By Tyler Poslosky  |  BSU at the Games

Whether summer or winter, most U.S. teams rack up the medals during the Olympic Games.

The U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams consistently blow out their opponents, while the U.S. softball team was so dominant, the sport was removed altogether.

On the ice, the U.S. men’s and women’s hockey teams almost always find themselves standing on the podium.

Inside Riverbank Arena, the blue-turf field-hockey venue, it’s the other way around.

Team USA went 1-4 in the round-robin stage of the Olympic tournament. But their lone win, a 1-0 triumph over perennial powerhouse Argentina, was proof that the U.S. could match up with the best teams in the world.

The four losses meant that the U.S. will not advance for a chance at a podium finish, which hasn’t happened in more than three decades.

Having been eliminated from medaling by New Zealand on Aug. 4, the U.S. rounded out pool play with a devastating 7-0 loss to South Africa.

“In sport[s], you get what you deserve,” coach Lee Bodimeade said. “We got what we deserved.”

The blowout wasn’t what the U.S. expected. It lost to a team that had been outscored by a combined 14-2 margin in its first four matches. With nothing to play for against South Africa, the U.S. lost its swagger.

“It’s disappointing,” Katie O’Donnell said. “In our games against opponents ranked higher than us, we took it to them and shocked the world. And then to come out and play this kind of hockey is saddening.”

The encouraging factor coming out of this tournament is the youth and experience gained by the U.S.

“We have amazing kids coming up,” said Keli Smith-Puzo, who is retiring after this year’s Games. “The young talent is going to be amazing. I think Rio [2016] is going to be a completely different team.”

Sisters Katie and Julia Reinprecht figure to be part of that team four years from now. Katie, 22, and Julia, 21, appear to have a bright future ahead of them with Team USA Field Hockey.

“Now that I’ve got a taste [of the Olympic Games], it’s something I definitely want to come back and try to do again,” Katie said. “I just can’t describe how awesome it is, playing for your country.”

“It’s the best job you could have,” Julia said. “We’ve never played in front of crowds like this. People you don’t even know are here, supporting [us]. It’s one of the coolest things ever.”

Tyler Poslosky is a senior journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @tylerposlosky@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Team USA field hockey eliminated: New Zealand spoils U.S. dream of podium finish

By Tyler Poslosky  |  BSU at the Games

In the weeks leading up to the 2012 London Games, Team USA field hockey head coach Lee Bodimeade was confident in his team’s ability to come away with a medal.

“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 thought we were [just] happy to go to the Olympics rather than be successful.”

Unfortunately, the U.S.’s play in London has been identical to what took place in 2008.

On Saturday night in a must-win game, New Zealand eliminated the U.S. from medaling with a 3-2 victory under the lights of Riverbank Arena.

The loss destroyed what could’ve been the U.S.’s first podium finish in nearly three decades.

“We trained for four years to maximize our achievements at the Olympic Games and we know that [the] result has put us short of our goals,” Bodimeade said. “The scenario today was that one team was headed forward in the tournament and the other team is going to really struggle. It is devastating for us.”

Clarissa Eshui’s goal in the waning minutes of the match put New Zealand ahead 3-2, eliminating the U.S. while keeping the Black Sticks alive for a potential spot in the semi-finals.

“We came into this game knowing we needed to get three points to keep going in the tournament and tonight we fell short and didn’t execute at the key moments,” captain Lauren Crandall said.

Penalty corners proved to be the difference in the match. New Zealand scored its first of three goals just over minute into the match.

The U.S. fought back to knot the game at 1-1 when Paige Selenski got the assist on Katie O’Donnell’s goal.

But the momentum quickly shifted to New Zealand after being awarded a penalty immediately following the U.S.’s goal.

New Zealand capitalized once more. Kayla Sharland’s shot changed directions multiple times before trickling past U.S. goalkeeper Amy Swensen.

The U.S. attempted to challenge the play, but it was denied and the goal was upheld, giving New Zealand a 2-1 lead.

With two minutes remaining in the first half, the U.S. was awarded a penalty corner.

This time, the team came through. Claire Laubach’s shot deflected off the New Zealand goalkeeper and a defender prior to going into the net. The equalizing goal was Laubach’s first of the tournament and gave the U.S. the momentum going into halftime.

New Zealand came out strong in the second half, applying constant pressure on the U.S. defenders and Swensen.

“We were able to defend really well,” Bodimeade said. “When we applied pressure, I thought we may have been able to get a [goal]. But when you are facing a side as good as New Zealand…If you don’t take chances, the game slips away.”

Swensen kept the U.S. in the game with multiple saves in the second half. With the clock working against the Americans, Bodimeade pulled Swensen for an extra player.

The U.S. created a handful of scoring opportunities with the extra player, but couldn’t even the match or force a draw.

New Zealand came away with three points, improving to 3-0-1 in the preliminary rounds.

Team USA will play its final match of the tournament against South Africa Monday at 10:45 a.m.

“The goal now is the same goal that we had when we came into this tournament, which is to win one game at a time,” Crandall said. “I think taking that attitude into South Africa is what we really need to focus on. This is one that hurts, but we still need to come out in the next game and play or best.”

Tyler Poslosky is a senior journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @tylerposlosky@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

25 minutes for 5 quid—money well spent

After a confusing and frustrating run-around by the Olympic staff, I was finally about to see a field-hockey game in one of the arenas.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do today when I woke up. I knew a couple of the other reporters wanted to go to the Olympic Park to check out the media press center and wander around to find stories. I couldn’t wait to walk around though, so I broke off from the group to find my own adventure.

This is how I ended up at the recycle ticket sales booth. I saw a line and someone saying that the second session of field hockey was going to be easy to get into for people who didn’t have tickets. For me it was the only way I was going to get tickets, since I was not a U.K. citizen.

For this opportunity I paid a hefty price. It was an hour-and-a-half wait in the line to get to the end. By the time I paid my 5 quid, it was already 4:45 p.m. and I had only eaten a muffin all day. But I had my ticket.

I then sprinted to Riverbank Arena to catch the end of the match. Luckily I got there for the last 25 minutes of it. It was a good amount of time for the money I spent, the teams that were in the match (Germany and South Africa) and just the atmosphere of an arena in Olympic Park.

The 25 minutes I saw was enough to experience what everyone else probably was feeling that whole time. Even though Germany was already winning, there were close shots that looked promising for South Africa to come back, and even shots where Germany could have further divided the final score. People were still on the edge of their seats.

Putting aside the frustration and the long wait, I participated in a crowd wave that made it around the arena twice. It was an awesome day.

Michael Kerkhoff  |  Sports Reporter

Team USA field hockey suffers 1-0 loss against Australia

By Tyler Poslosky  |  BSU at the Games

On the heels of one of its most historic triumphs ever, Team USA field hockey stumbled to a 1-0 loss against Australia Thursday morning at River Bank Arena.

After consistently pressuring Argentina’s defense two days earlier, the U.S. only amassed half of Australia’s 14 total shots on goal.

“We are very disappointed with the outcome,” head coach Lee Bodimeade said. “This match was one we targeted as getting three points and today we came up empty. We had chances but unfortunately did not capitalize.”

Australia opened the game with two penalty corners, but Anna Flanagan whiffed on both. In the 33rd minute she came through, though, scoring the game-winning goal on another penalty corner.

Constantly being pressured to win each and every match can be overwhelming, and the U.S.’s play wasn’t up to speed against an aggressive Australian squad.

“I think obviously every game is important in a tournament like this where you have to be top two to make it through to the semifinals,” Rachel Dawson said. “I think there’s pressure on every game, so the pressure before this game wasn’t more than for the other games. We just came out a bit flat.”

The U.S. had multiple chances to knot the game or perhaps take the lead. Katie O’Donnell created consistent offensive pressure inside the circle but couldn’t fire the ball past Australia’s goalkeeper, Toni Cronk, who recorded her first shutout of the tournament.

“Australia got three points off us today, and when every game is a must-win and you let points slip away, it hurts you in the end,” captain Lauren Crandell said. “We have two more games left, so we’re definitely looking to get three points out of the New Zealand and South Africa games. We’ve got to refocus and get back to how we know how to play.”

The U.S. will look to rebound against New Zealand on Saturday. The match will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m. ET. With six points to its record, New Zealand is in second place in Pool B, while the U.S. is in fifth with three points.

Tyler Poslosky is a senior journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @tylerposlosky@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

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.”

Listen to an audio recording on this story. 

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.