U.S. Junior Men's Team claims bronze medal at AYOF

Jan. 19, 2013, 3 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Junior Men's Team defeats Malaysia to claim bronze medal 
at Australian Youth Olympic Festival

JANUARY 20, 2012 - The U.S. Junior Men's Team defeated Malaysia, 5-4, in a shootout to claim the bronze medal at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. An incredible effort by the U.S. put them up 3-1 over Malaysia at halftime. Malaysia managed to come back in the second half and evened the match 4-4 before the clock ran out. 

Fifteen minutes of extra time passed and both teams were fighting hard for the victory. The U.S. prevailed in a penalty shootout, defeating Malaysia 5-4 and claiming the bronze medal. 

The U.S. Junior Women's Team fell to Great Britain, 2-1, in overtime to finish fourth at the Australian Youth Olympic Games. The U.S. opened the scoring in just the third minute with an excellent field goal from Elena Marie Bolles. Great Britain scored an equalizer shortly after. The game remained 1-1 until the end of regulation, sending both teams into overtime. 

Great Britain converted on a penalty corner eight minutes into extra time to claim the bronze medal.

Both U.S. Teams to play in bronze medal match at Australian Youth Olympic Festival

JANUARY 19, 2012 - The U.S. Junior Women's Team faced their third loss of the tournament against Great Britain Saturday morning. Great Britain had a comfortable 3-0 lead at halftime and tallied two goals in the second half for a 5-0 shutout performance of the U.S. The two teams will face each other tomorrow for the bronze medal. 

“You have to give a lot of credit to Great Britain, they came out and were very sharp and ready to go from the opening whistle and we definitely weren’t,” said Head Coach Steve Jennings. “Tomorrow we will be really keen to come out and have a much better performance.”

The U.S. Junior Men's Team also faced their third loss at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival against Great Britain, 6-0. 

Head Coach Chris Clements says that despite the tough results, the team is doing very well and he is extremely pleased with the overall growth and development at this tournament. 

"The value of this tournament and the ability to play against teams of this caliber is priceless for the team and our program," said Clements. "We have performed very well for extended periods against tough opponents. We continue to create opportunities and have improved tremendously." 

The U.S. and Malaysia will play for the bronze medal match tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. local time. 

U.S. Junior Men and Women suffer second loss at Olympic Youth Festival

JANUARY 17, 2013 - The U.S. suffered their second loss at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival against the Australian Jillaroos, 4-2. Despite two goals in the first half by Emma Bozek, Australia's come-from-behind victory earned them a place in Sunday's gold medal match.  

Steve Jennings admitted it was a tough result for the team but credited Australia for the way they played.

“They created a lot of chances, we made a nice play and had some really good patches of play but ultimately we weren’t able to keep the game and pressure on them and their defence," said Jennings. 

The U.S. will face Great Britain on January 19. 

The U.S. Junior Men's Team also suffered a tough loss against their second opponent, Malaysia, at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. 

"We played a world class opponent again today," said Head Coach Chris Clements. "Our team was well prepared having worked on some improvement areas since our last match against Australia. The first half of play was very even and we were playing a controlled match. However, the second half   proved to be much different. This is where we slipped from our original plan and Malaysia was able to capitalize. The experience the team gained today has put our group ahead in their ability to perform for periods against quality opponents. We now need to work on lengthening the time that we compete to 70 minutes." 

Malaysia opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but Austin Groeneveld equalized a minute later with a field goal. The score was even at the half, 1-1. However, Malaysia's captain Firhan Ashari scored five goals in the second half to secure a 6-1 victory over the U.S and spot in the finals on Sunday. 

The U.S. Junior Men's Team will face Great Britain on Saturday. 

Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney kicks off for stars of future
Parsley leads U.S. delegation into Olympic Stadium; U.S. Men and Women fall in opening matches

JANUARY 16, 2013: They are the stars of the future, and the athletes competing at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) were treated to a spectacular event during the Opening Ceremony last night at Sydney Entertainment Centre.

More than 1,600 athletes celebrated the opening of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, which was filled with performers dancing and singing their way through songs from One Direction and Miley Cyrus. The Olympic colors and spirit were also reflected by the performers as they showcased their singing, dancing and acrobatic skills throughout the ceremony. 

In keeping with the Olympic tradition, the crowd was treated to a parade of athletes, flag bearers march, taking of the athlete and officials' oath and the lighting of the cauldron. Lara (Nikki) Parsley (Milford, DE) was named the flag bearer for the United States and lead the U.S. delegation into the Olympic Stadium.

Reading a message from International Committee President Dr Jacques Rogge, Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates highlights the friendships forged at the AYOF.

"In the coming days you will compete against and make friends with athletes from all over Australia and 30 countries around the world who share the same passion about your sport as you do," Coates said. "In addition to giving the very best of yourselves on the field of play, you will also share unforgettable moments off the field of play."

Finishing with a glow light spectacular to LMFAO's 'Party Rock Anthem', the 2013 AYOF Opening Ceremony set the scene for an exciting festival.

Both the U.S. Junior Men's and Women's Teams faced their first opponent yesterday prior to the Opening Ceremony. Although, the U.S. Junior Men faced a tough 7-0 loss against Australia in their opening match, Head Coach Chris Clements said that he was pleased with the teams performance and impressed with their skill level against such a strong and developed opponent. 

"Our biggest take away from today's performance is that our young men can play against one of the top nations in the world," said Clements. "Although the scoreline does not represent that, we were able to compete for periods of time, as well as withhold pressure better than ever before playing against a superior opponent." 

Clements hope that the team plays with same intensity against their next opponent, Malaysia. 

The U.S. Junior Women's Team also faced a tough loss in their opening match, falling 5-2 to China. Taylor Rhea and Jordan Page were the two goalscorers for the U.S. They will face host nation Australia in match No. 2 on January 17. 

For more information, visit the event page on usafieldhockey.com or the official AYOF website ayof2013.olympics.com.au. 

U.S. Junior Men’s and Women’s Squad to compete at Australian Youth Olympic Festival;
Parsley Named Flag Bearer for U.S. 
Northwestern's Nikki Parsley has been named Flag Bearer for the U.S. and will march the 
U.S. delegation into Opening Ceremonies on January 16

JANUARY 14, 2013 – The sixth Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) promises to be the biggest and most exciting edition yet, with more competing countries and aspiring Olympians than ever before. Over 1,700 of the world’s best young athletes from 30 nations will compete in 17 Olympic sports in Sydney, Australia from January 16-20, 2013. The U.S. Junior Men’s and Women’s Field Hockey Squads will be amongst the 1,700 elite athletes competing at this year’s Youth Olympic Festival.  

Field Hockey will be played at the Sydney Olympic Park with seven other sports, including: athletics, gymnastics, swimming, diving, hockey, badminton, judo and wrestling. The U.S. Junior Women will face China, Great Britain and Australia while the U.S. Junior Men will go head to head against Great Britain, Malaysia and host nation Australia. The gold medal match will be played on the final day of competition on January 20. 

The U.S. Women’s U-21 Team recently completed a successful four game test series against New Zealand, finishing with a 3-1 record. Steve Jennings, U-21 Head Coach and Head Coach at American University commented on the team’s productive series and their anticipation for Youth Olympic Festival to begin. 

“We had a productive series against New Zealand--growing as a team in many facets and finding ways to get our offense on track after the initial game,” said Jennings. “We still have many areas targeted for improvement and will look to raise our standard of play in Australia. The spirit of the group is fantastic and the seriousness with which they have approached matches, training sessions, recovery sessions and debriefs bode well for them as we head into the second leg of the tour. The Olympic Festival is a perfect snap shot of what it takes to compete in a tournament setting against world class opposition. It will be the cornerstone event to galvanize our team as the Junior World Cup journey begins in earnest.”  

Lara (Nikki) Parsley (Milford, DE) was named the flag bearer for the United States and will lead the U.S. delegation into Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremonies Parade of Nations on January 16.  

“It is always an honor to play for the red, white, and blue; but, competing for my country at the highest level possible in the 2016 Olympics would turn a lifelong dream into reality,” said Parsley.

Parsley is a junior at Northwestern University and has earned many accolades in her three years as a Wildcat. She joined the U.S. U-21 Junior National Team in 2010 and most recently helped the U.S. to a bronze medal finish at the 2012 Pan American Junior Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

The AYOF is a bi-annual multi-sport event for Olympic aspirants between the ages of 12 and 20. The first AYOF was held in 2001 and utilizes many of the same venues used during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The AYOF Opening Ceremony incorporates the symbolism of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, including: Parade of Athletes, Flag Bearers March, Welcome by Mr. John Coates AC, President of the Australian Olympic Committee, Festival Oath by two AYOF athletes, Olympic Flag Raising, Cauldron Lighting with Festival Flame, and an Olympic Celebration with a spectacular presentation of music, song and dance that will inspire and captivate all the athletes, officials, family and friends. 

The view the schedule of competitions and additional AYOF information, please visit usafieldhockey.com. 

U.S. Junior Women’s Team Roster: Abby Beltrani, Marie Bolles, Emma Bozek, Teresa Benvenuti, Lauren Blazing, Laura Gebhart, Katherine Gerzabek, Maxine Fluharty, Kelsey Harbin, Dani Hemeon, Aileen Johnson, Kati Nearhouse, Jordan Page, Lara Parsley, Taylor Rhea, Kelsey Smither, Anna Zarkoski

U.S. Junior Men’s Team Roster: Tyler Sundeen, Christian Linney, Ranjot Sangha, Austin Groeneveld, Pedro Zepada, Nicholas Gendreau, Jaspreet Gill, Michael Barminski Jr., Mohan Gandhi, Ranveer Kundi, Rutger Pruijs, Ajai Dhadwal, Aki Kaeppeler, Sean Cicchi, Spencer Reed, Johnny Orozco