USA Field Hockey

Sep 12 Four newcomers to make National Team debut at Champions Challenge I

Sept. 12, 2012, 10:40 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Four newcomers will make their U.S. National Team debut this month at the Electric Ireland Women’s Champions Challenge 1 tournament in Dublin, Ireland, September 29-October 7. Stephanie Fee (Virginia Beach, VA) and Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, NY) earned one of the highly coveted spots on the National Squad after a standout performance at the 2012 Women’s National Championship. Meghan Beamesderfer (Iowa City, IA) and Rayell Heistand (Hamburg, Pa) are part of the Development Squad and will look to earn their first career cap with the National Team while in Dublin.

The eight-team tournament is the first major International Hockey Federation event following the Olympic Games and features four teams that participated in London with South Africa, USA, Belgium and Australia.

Head Coach Lee Bodimeade has selected 8 of the 16 players that competed at the London Olympics to the Champions Challenge 1 Team.

“Unfortunately the timing of this tournament is inconvenient as it falls in the middle of the collegiate season,” said Bodimeade. “We will be missing some key, quality players, but we have a strong talent pool with players like Megan, Stephanie, Alesha and Rayell who will have the opportunity to step up and gain experience at the international level.”

The U.S. will face Scotland, South Africa and Ireland in the preliminary rounds. All eight teams will advance to a quarterfinal match on October 4, with the first place finishers taking on the last place finishers from the other groups and the second and third place teams playing in a similar cross-over. From there, the winners will move into the semi-finals and medal rounds, while the losers will play for placement.

The competition is high and Bodimeade says the tournament will be a challenge for the young team. 

“Australia is the highest ranked team at the tournament and will be a challenging opponent for us,” said Bodimeade. “We weren’t happy with our performances against South Africa and Belgium in London and will be looking to improve. Outside of those teams, Ireland will be playing on their home turf and Scotland has a victory over us in last year’s event. It will be a tough tournament for us.”

The winner of the Electric Ireland Champion’s Challenge 1 will automatically qualify for the next Women’s Champions Trophy, which features the world’s top ranked teams.

To view the schedule, click here.

2012 Champions Challenge 1 Team: Torrie Albini (Escondido, Cali.), Meghan Beamesderfer (Iowa City, IA), Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa), Stephanie Fee (Virginia Beach, VA), Jesse Gey (Green Lane, Pa), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, NY), Rayell Heistand (Hamburg, Pa), Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC), Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa), Maren Langford (Lewes, DE), Claire Laubach (Centreville, VA), Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa) Lauren Pfeifer (Mt. Lauren, NJ), Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, VA, Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, NY)


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