USA Field Hockey NEWS PAC Preview: Women’s...

PAC Preview: Women’s Athletes to Watch

July 23, 2017, 2:59 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – July 23, 2017 – Top global talent will hit the outdoor pitch at Spooky Nooks Sports in Lancaster, Pa. in just two weeks for the 2017 Pan American Cups (PAC). With three of the participating women’s teams coming off recent play at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in South Africa and others who have been actively preparing for the event, it sure will be a battle of the Americas as remarkable skills will be showcased. 

The women’s division of PAC will feature some significant and key athletes, who have exceptional skills, as they look to aid their teams to the top. Stop by Spooky Nook Sports from August 4-13, to see these hockey icons thrive under the pressure.

No. 3 Argentina
Coming off a heartbreaking semifinal loss to Germany at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals, Argentina will be one to follow in the women’s division at PAC. T four-time defending PAC champions will be led by Delfina Merino with her crafty stick skill accompanied by her solid decision making and speed. Her sense for the goal will be sure to produce some impressive shots. Two other athletes with the same name on the back of their jerseys are also ones to keep an eye. Sisters Agustina Habif and Florencia Habif have combined for more than 200 games with international experience at only the ages of 25 and 23, respectively. Both were part of the squad that won gold at the 2016 women’s Hockey Champions Trophy in London, England and competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

No. 6 United States
Finishing out the Semifinals with good momentum, USA will look to continue that tempo as they have home-field advantage during PAC. A head coach change in Janneke Schopman at the beginning of the year as well as a few holes to fill after some athlete retirements, USA is on the quest to earn their first ever PAC title. Watch out for veteran captain Melissa Gonzalez and Katelyn Ginolfi as they will lead by example with their desire and hustle. Ginolfi recently secured her 250th international cap wearing the red, white and blue, and her experience will show when she hits the pitch to chief the backfield. Another athlete to keep an eye on is 17-year-old Erin Matson. Gathering her first international competition involvement just two weeks ago, fans were impressed by her quick stick skills and fast shots in South Africa. 

No. 19 Canada
With 17 out of the 18 rostered athletes from the same FIH Gryphon Hockey World League Round 2 in April, Canada will bring unity to their performances. Scoring threat and top goal scorer of Round 2, Brienne Stairs has established herself as one of Canada’s most prolific goal scorers and will be one to watch. Canada captain Kate Wright is one of the most internationally experienced members of the team with more than 160 international. Canada earned a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, the first time the team medaled since the 1999 Pan American Games. They also won a bronze at the last Pan American Cup, in 2013 in Mendoza, Argentina.

No. 20 Chile
Having played in the same pool as both Argentina and USA at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals, Chile went on to claim 9th at the event. Much of the same Semifinals roster will be present in Lancaster, Pa., including captain Camila Caram, Carolina Garcia and goalkeeper Claudia Schuler. The trio was part of the Chile team that fell to India in a shootout, 3-1, in the final of the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in West Vancouver, Canada. Caram is a threat on the penalty corner and Schuler on the other end will do whatever it takes to keep the ball out of the goal.

No. 23 Uruguay
Uruguay will display a very young squad with ten of the rostered athletes having competed in 20 or less international matches. For various reasons of absence, three newcomers were welcomed to the squad with Valeria Agazzi, Manuela Barrandeguy and Clementina Cristiani. They won the 2016 women’s South American Championship led by Maria Teresa Viana Ache, who scored a goal in each of the periods on their way to a victory over Chile. Their defense will be well anchored by Agustina Nieto and captain goalkeeper Rossana Paselle.

No. 30 Mexico
Mexico had a strong scoring performance at the FIH Hockey World League Round 1 event, which they hosted in Salamanca. Marlet Correa and Arlette Estrada found the back of the net an impressive six times each as they team went on to concede a total of 46 goals in four games. Captain Marlet Correa will be a penalty corner threat at PAC while defender Karen Orozco and goalkeeper Jesus Castillo will show their experience and disrupt any kind of threaten attacking that comes their way.

No. 41 Brazil
The 2015 Pan American Challenge winner in Chiclayo, Peru, Brazil is somewhat of a dark horse of the tournament coming in with a team that has very little familiarity in international competition. Most capped athlete, Anita Rodriguez will bring her poised leadership as goalkeeper Andrea Bernardes will front-lead the defensive line.

 

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