Field Hockey - Women's

London 2012 Olympic Games One-Year Out Preview


Women's Field Hockey 

 
2012 Preview
In May 2011, 28 athletes were selected to the Women’s National and Development Squad. The squad consists of 23 returning National Team members, including 10 2008 Olympic Team members.
 
USA was invited to attend the 2011 Champions Challenge I in Dublin, Ireland, in June 2011. The event is for teams ranked Nos. 9-16 in the world. USA advanced to the final match against Japan, but fell just short of the gold medal and advancement to the most premier international hockey tournament – Champions Trophy. Although the outcome was disappointing, the team and coaching staff are making the necessary adjustments to achieve success in Guadalajara at the 2011Pan American Championships. 
 
A combination of veterans and young collegiate all-stars on the USA Women’s National Team is sure to continue to develop the team’s reputation as one that can have a presence at the highest level heading into the 2012 Olympic year. 

Storylines
  • Life’s a Balancing Act: A balancing act that started on Jan. 8, 2010, with the birth of Xavi – Keli Smith-Puzo’s first child – is only expected to continue with the family’s next addition around August 30, 2011. A member of the National Team since 2001 and the only mother on the squad, Smith-Puzo’s bio is overflowing with accomplishments ranging from playing on both the World Cup and Pan American teams, to participating in the 2008 Olympics Games. She is now about to add yet another achievement to her running list – catalogued somewhere after achieving her 100th international cap, but before her 2012 Olympic training is another accomplishment: soon-to-be mother of two. Field hockey is the central root of the Smith-Puzo family. Her husband, Iñako, was recently appointed the head field hockey coach at Miami (Ohio) University. 
  • A Sweet Career: While spectators love the high-octane action that comes with a talented goal-scorer, and they can appreciate the incredible diving save made by a goalkeeper, sometimes overlooked is the artistry of a seasoned defender. Thus, it should come as no surprise that USA back Lauren Crandall is not only a very talented defender but also a superb artist. Her medium, however, might be a surprise. Crandall is a top-notch artist in the kitchen who specializes in baking desserts. Crandall started baking in fifth grade, which eventually led her to a restaurant in Biloxi, Miss., and, more recently, to a dream kitchen in Coronado, Calif., where she has continued to hone her skills with the oven.
  • Carrie’s Coffee: Many people know Carrie Lingo as a 2008 Olympian and a 2012 Olympic hopeful, but what may come as a surprise is that Lingo is also a suave entrepreneur and an owner of a successful coffee shop and bakery in Bloomington, Ind. A passion for coffee and food and a desire to be a business owner, Carrie and longtime boyfriend Greg Danielson opened Stone Cutters Coffee and Roastery a little over two years ago. Lingo spends half of her time in Chula Vista, Calif., training with other members of the National Team, and the other half of her time on the other side of the country in Indiana, managing the coffee shop.
  • Picture Perfect: Jackie Kintzer isn’t just good at stopping shots, she is also good at taking them – photographs that is. An accomplished photographer who has chronicled a number of weddings and events, Kintzer has her own website profiling her artistry.
  • The Good Life: Life has been good to Katie O’Donnell. At the age of 16, O’Donnell, a native of Blue Bell, Pa., became the youngest player to ever make the U.S. National team. Now 22 years old, the University of Maryland senior has won two national championships and is finishing her career as one of the most decorated players in Terps field hockey history. She holds multiple school records and became just the fifth player from Maryland to ever win the Honda Sports Award in field hockey, which goes to the top collegiate player in the country every year. In October 2010, she became the first-ever field hockey player to be named Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation. While she’s already accomplished so much, O’Donnell’s field hockey legacy is still a work in progress. Now that she’s exhausted her collegiate eligibility, O’Donnell’s next goal is to become an Olympian.
 Key Athletes
  • Katie O’Donnell: O'Donnell is the most decorated player in field hockey history. She was named the 2010 Sportswoman of the Year, an award previously awarded to Mia Hamm and Serena Williams. O'Donnell has been a member of the USA Women's National Team since 2005 and, at the age of 16, became the youngest athlete to earn an international cap for the United States. O'Donnell helped the University of Maryland win two NCAA championships during her career as a student-athlete.
  • Amy Swensen: Swensen made her debut on the National Team in 2001. Since then, her all-star performance at the 2006 World Cup and other elite international tournaments not only earned her a spot on the 2008 Olympic Team, but also earned her recognition as the No. 1 goalkeeper in the world. After failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, Swensen put her goalkeeping equipment aside to pursue a different dream – a career in massage therapy. She also married longtime boyfriend Mark Swensen and made Norfolk, Va., her new home. In May 2011, Swensen met up with old teammates at the Senior Women’s National Championships for the first time in almost a year. She immediately put herself back in contention for the starting spot on the National Squad and earned a place on the Champions Challenge traveling team. Swensen has shifted her focus back to field hockey and is looking to make a second Olympic appearance, only this time, she’s hoping for a podium finish.
  • Keli Smith: Smith has been a member of the Women's National Team since 2001. She received her 150th international cap on Feb. 16, 2011, in a four nations series in Rosario, Argentina. Following the tour in Argentina, Smith announced her second child was on the way, due in August 2011. However, Smith’s field hockey career is far from over. She hopes to have a quick recovery and be back in action for a possible spot on the Pan American Team roster as well as the 2012 Olympic Team roster.
  • Katelyn Falgowski: Falgowski was the only collegiate athlete named to the 2008 Olympic Team. As captain of her team in 2010, she led the North Carolina Tar Heels to the finals of the NCAA playoffs. She also participated in the 2011 NCAA Women's Field Hockey National Championship and was named player of tournament.
  • Michelle Cesan: After a compelling performance at the 2011 Women’s National Championship, Cesan was added to the USA National Team roster. She has spent time on both the Developmental Squad and U-21 National Team. Cesan was a member of the U-21 Squad that took gold at the 2008 Junior Pan American Games in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The standout sophomore at Princeton University has proved to be a serious offensive threat for the Tigers, tallying 46 goals and 16 assists and starting all 38 games. She will not return to Princeton in the fall, instead, she will be training full-time in San Diego in hopes to make the Olympic Team. One of the youngest members of the team, Cesan is extremely talented and is sure to have a compelling career on the National Team with some experience under her belt.
Qualification/Selection/Trials Procedures
Qualification to London: The direct route to the London 2012 Olympic Games is success at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October 2011. The gold medalist at this event will automatically advance to the Olympic Games. Canada, Chile and the world’s No. 1-ranked team, Argentina, will be key opponents for USA at the Pan Ams.
 
If the USA fails to qualify in Guadalajara, there are three qualification tournaments held between February and May 2012 that will provide both the men’s and women’s teams with one final opportunity to qualify. The three locations that will host qualification tournaments are New Delhi, India; Beerschot, Belgium; and Kakamigahara, Japan. 
 
Gaining Selection to the USA Women’s National Team: The Senior Women’s National Championship is a one-week showcase event and the only selection opportunity for athletes to make the National Team. The 2011 event was held at American University in Washington, D.C., from May 20-27. The top field hockey athletes in the United States – including collegiate all-stars, current National Team members and members of the 2008 Olympic Team – competed for highly coveted spots on the National Team roster and the opportunity to represent the United States on the world’s biggest stage, the Pan American and Olympic Games.
 
Athletes attending the national championship are evaluated throughout the week by USA Field Hockey’s national coaching staff. At the conclusion of the event, 28 athletes were invited to the Central Training Program at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The Central Training Program is a full-time residency program focused on preparing the team to compete at the highest international level. The program provides athletes with an environment that is conducive to elite level training and offers access to state-of-the-art strength and conditioning facilities, medical support and nutritional services. The atmosphere promotes international, Pan Am and Olympic success. 
 
Of the 28 athletes selected, 18 will be given a spot on the Pan Am Games roster.    
 
The same event will take place in 2012, providing athletes one more opportunity to make the USA Women’s National Team prior to the Olympic Games. From that pool of athletes, 16 will be selected to attend the 2012 Olympics. Participation in the Pan Am Games or the Olympic qualifier does not guarantee selection to the Olympic squad.

Key Dates
  • Sept. 1-11, 2011: USA vs New Zealand
  • Oct. 19-28, 2011: Pan American Games – Guadalajara, Mexico
  • TBS: Qualifying Tournaments
Communications Contact
Ashley Meunier
719.866.4365