COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Today Lee Bodimeade, head coach of the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team, announced the 16-player roster for the 2012 Olympic Games. Seven players make a return to the Olympic Games, including U.S. captain Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa). The U.S. will look to record their first Olympic medal since 1984, after finishing a disappointing eighth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
“One of the things that we have been able to achieve since Beijing is increasing the depth and ability of the entire squad,” said Bodimeade. “To go from 25 athletes down to 16 was an extremely difficult task and one that had some really tough decisions that needed to be made. We had 16 rookies at the Olympics in 2008 and now to have seven athletes with that experience on the Olympic Team puts us in a much better position heading to London.”
A total of 13 players were part of the U.S. Squad that booked the team’s ticket to London last October by defeating Argentina in the finals of the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Kayla Bashore Smedley (Shoemakersville, Pa) and Amy Swensen (Grantville, Pa) were named to the Pan American Squad but were withdrawn from the team at the last minute due to injuries. Keli Smith Puzo (Selinsgrove, Pa) returned to the National Team in December after giving birth to her second child on August 31. Smedley, Swensen and Puzo have all competed in over 150 international matches including the 2008 Olympic Games.
Smedley leads a talented group of midfielders, alongside Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa), a rising young star on the world stage who has recently recovered from knee surgery. Falgowski was named a 2011 World All-Star by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and was among four nominees for the 2011 FIH Young Player of the Year Award.
Making their Olympic debut will be 22-year-old Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, NJ) and 25-year-old Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, VA) who will guide the front line beside Puzo. Vittese was recently named U.S. Player of the Year and Taylor leads the U.S. Team in goal scoring.
The defensive unit is made up of three 2008 Olympians and five players who were part of the team’s qualifying campaign. Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa), a poised and consistent back and the youngest player on the squad at 20-years of age, will be accompanied by her sister Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa) in London. Swensen, regarded by many as the world’s premier goalkeeper, sits in cage. In addition, Bodimeade has nominated two replacement athletes to the Olympic Team, Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa) and Michelle Cesan (New Vernon, NJ).
The U.S. has been drawn into a challenging pool made up of No. 2 Argentina, No. 3 Germany, No. 6 New Zealand, No. 7 Australia and No. 12 South Africa. The U.S. will open Pool B play at the Olympic Games with a face-off against Germany on Sunday, July 29. From there, the U.S. will advance to their next opponents in the tournament – Argentina, then Australia, New Zealand and close the preliminary rounds with South Africa on Monday, August 6. The women’s first semi-final will take place on Wednesday, August 8. The gold-medal round commences on Friday, August 10.
“We have a tough pool but we actually welcome that and the challenge it brings,” said Bodimeade. “We are not going to the Olympics for the experience, we are going to win. That is our goal and that has been and is our approach to this Olympic Games. We are really looking forward to the challenge ahead of us at the biggest sporting event in the world.”
The U.S. will begin their final preparation for the London Games on Monday, June 18, with the start of a four game test series against Argentina in Virginia. The 16-women nominated to the Olympic Team plus two replacement athletes will compete on the tour that stops at the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University and the National Training Center.
The final match on June 23 will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network. An Olympic celebration will follow at 6:30 p.m. ET, which will formally recognize and celebrate the U.S. Olympic Women’s Field Hockey Team. Tickets are still available to the public and can be purchased on usafieldhockey.com.
The team will depart for London on July 21.
A teleconference is set for 2 p.m. ET today, featuring head coach Lee Bodimeade, U.S. captain Lauren Crandall, Katelyn Falgowski and Julia Reinprecht.
All nominations to the U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee board of directors.
Amy Swensen (Grantville, Pa)
Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, PA), Claire Laubach (Centreville, VA), Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, VA), Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, PA)
Kayla Bashore Smedley (Shoemakersville, PA), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, PA), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, NY), Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, PA), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ)
Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC), Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, PA), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, PA), Keli Smith Puzo (Selinsgrove, Pa), Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, VA), Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, NJ)