LANCASTER, Pa. – July 30, 2017 – There are just 5 days until the start of the 2017 Pan American Cups (PAC). Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. will welcome 15-international teams from the Americas as they compete in the largest field hockey event in the country since the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.
With 5 days to go, support the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams as they compete against top world ranked teams with the Team USA Supporter ticket package. The package allows entry and seating in Section B for all Team USA matches throughout the PAC tournament, and can be purchased by clicking here.
Below are five USMNT and five USWNT athletes to follow during the PAC.
Five USMNT Athletes to Watch:
Sean Cicchi – A youngster on the team, Cicchi made an impression at the FIH Hockey World League Round 1 in Salamanca, Mexico with his defensive control and game smarts. His performance during the event helped him earn Young Player of the Tournament and he will look to translate those capacities to the field at Spooky Nook Sports.
Ajai Dhadwal – Team captain with 86 international caps to his name, Dhadwal comes to Lancaster, Pa. looking to feed of the team’s recent bronze medal finish at the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in Tacarigua in Trinidad and Tobago. His guidance will be key as the squad welcomes brand new athletes to the international stage.
Pat Harris – A veteran on the team, the Moorpark, Calif. native Harris is looking to bring his leadership and knowledge of international competition to PAC. As the most capped athlete with 119 matches while wearing the red, white and blue, Harris will pilot the team on their quest for the World Cup qualification.
Will Holt – Holt will look to lead the offensive attack with his nose for finding the goal whether in the open field or with his drag flick ability. At Round 1, Holt found the back of the goal an impressive 11 times aiding to USA’s total of 33 goals during the event. This accomplishment earned him Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament as well as Player of the Tournament.
Brandon Karess – With less than 20 caps to his name, goalkeeper Karess knows what it takes to withstand firm opponents. At Round 2, he was faced with the challenge of three shootouts which he successfully weathered, helping USA earn the bronze. There is no doubt he will come out ready to play when facing off against other teams in the Pan American nation.
Five USWNT Athletes to Watch:
Jackie Briggs – Goalkeeper Briggs is coming off a stellar performance at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she earned Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament. In the semifinal round against an experienced team in shootouts, she came up big and blocked England’s Alex Danson’s shot in the sudden death row. Similar play was displayed in the final against Germany with the score tied 2-2 after the fourth round. Briggs’ agile defense limited Germany to run out of time, setting USA for the game winner. With poise Erin Matson scored the game winner for the USWNT.
Briggs’ performance also earned her the No. 3 spot of ESPNW’s Week of July 26 Top 10 Plays.
Melissa Gonzalez – A veteran on a very young team, Gonzalez had a spectacular showing at the Semifinals earning her the Best Player of the Tournament award. Her constant hustle helped drive a come from behind effort against England in the semifinals. Her experience also allowed her to hold a lot of pressure on her shoulders when called upon to take the final sudden death shootout attempt for USA. With composure, she swept the ball into the net over England’s goalkeeper to advance USA into the final match.
Erin Matson – The youngest athlete on the team at just 17 years old, the Semifinals was Matson’s first international competition involvement after being called up to play for the USWNT in March. Her quick stick skills and fast shots in South Africa impressed fans but more importantly, she will be remembered for scoring the game winner in the Final in the fifth shootout attempt for USA.
Michelle Vittese – A fast and solid midfielder with a lot of experience, Vittese holds a dynamic role in the center of the field for USA. Her ability and smarts of the game to intercept the ball often leads to instant offense. Her quickness put USA on the board in the quarterfinal round against Japan in South Africa, after taking a free hit fast, shot a backhand on target which was tipped in by a Japan defender.
Jill Witmer – A scoring threat, Witmer earned the award of Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament at the Semifinals just two weeks ago. Tallying five goals through the event, Witmer has a determination to put the ball in the net like no other. Whether it is firing a backhand shot off at the top or diving in to get a deflection, Witmer will look to add her name to the score sheet throughout PAC.
Nine different countries from the Pan American region will represent and participate across the men’s and women’s tournaments from Friday, August 4 to Sunday, August 13. The USMNT will face off against FIH Hero World Ranked No. 1 Argentina in the team’s opening match August 4 at 7 p.m. ET. Fresh off a thrilling FIH Hockey World League Semifinals championship, the USWNT will begin their quest for PAC gold the following day, August 5, when they take on No. 30 Mexico at 7:00 p.m. ET.