NEWARK, Del. - July 15, 2019 - For three intense action-packed days, the top-eight men's and top-twelve women’s club teams in the United States competed at Rullo Stadium on the campus of the University of Delaware in the third annual United States Field Hockey League (USFHL) Adult National Championship, a USA Field Hockey Sanctioned Event. Teams qualified locally through USFHL Sanctioned league play, concluding with Olympic Club and Running on Empty in the women’s championship game and San Jose Khalsa against dcDragons in the men’s championship game.
The West Coast made a strong statement in the finals this year as Olympic Club and San Jose Khalsa both hail from Northern California. In the women’s semifinals, Olympic Club defeated dcDragons 4-2 in an intense back and forth game. Running on Empty beat SteelStyx in a very close 3-2 matchup. Heading into the second half down 1-2, Running on Empty's Alicia Govannicci and Mallory Faubert scored to gain the lead while goalkeeper Erin Terreson and her defensive unit shut down SteelStyx's offense to help secure a spot in the title game.
In the men’s semifinals, San Jose Khalsa faced two-time reigning champion Greenwich FHC. It was Nanu Sidhu’s lone goal off a penalty stroke which gave San Jose Khalsa the 1-0 victory and their spot in the championship game. dcDragons played Atlanta/Miami Surf FHC in the second semifinal, where a hat trick by Alex Copestake pushed dcDragons to a 4-1 victory.
The women’s championship game was intense and Olympic Club was able to execute on their opportunities twice lifting them to a 2-0 win over Running on Empty. The first goal was scored by Katie Garrity off a beautiful assist from Caroline Beaudoin. The second one came from Meredith Chandler off a deflection on a penalty corner.
“Before the corner I told my teammate to take the post position because I believed her to be better in that role," said Chandler. "My teammate said, 'You got this girl' and that trust led to a goal." Throughout the tournament, Olympic Club relied on teamwork with many different goal scorers. "Field hockey was added to the Olympic Club, the oldest United States sports club, five years ago," commented Nicole Ng, Olympic Club captain. “We practiced every week, continued our social team building and competed in numerous competitive adult tournaments.”
On the men's side both dcDragons and San Jose Khalsa battled through close pool play games to reach the finals.
“Our strategy for the first half focused on defensive structure to prevent them from scoring and then hit them hard offensively in the second half," said Steve Nodder, dcDragons athlete.
Plans quickly unraveled as Nanu Sidhu from San Jose Khalsa scored off a penalty corner in the match's opening minutes. dcDragons was able to regroup in the second half and answered with a goal by Alex Grassi who created a one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper to tie the game 1-1. dcDragons then gained the lead off a penalty corner from Austin Heath from the stroke mark off a brilliant end line dish from Marvin Bam. San Jose Khalsa did not back down as Sidhu scored the equalizing goal with four minutes left to force a shootout.
Per USFHL rules, shootouts consist of three rounds for each team. With dcDragons leading 2-1 after two rounds, 18-year-old Dean Schiller lined up and scored to secure the 3-1 shootout win for his team.
“When I stepped to the line I had my strategy set that I have practiced many times giving me confidence to win it for my team," said Schiller, after securing the championship.
USFHL National Championship Teams who qualified locally and competed in USFHL National Championship:
|Atlanta/Miami Surf FH||Atlanta, Ga. & Miami, Fla.|
|Federation, Steel Styx, Triangle||Southern California, Pittsburgh|
|Greenwich FHC||New York, N.Y.|
|Minuteman FHC||Boston, Mass.|
|NY Islanders||New York, N.Y.|
|Philly Premier FHA||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|San Jose Khalsa||Northern California|
|Atlanta/Miami Surf||Atlanta, Ga. & Miami, Fla.|
|Baltimore FHA||Baltimore, Md.|
|NYCFHC||New York, N.Y.|
|Olympic Club||San Francisco, Calif.|
|Philly Premier||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Rovers, Greenwich FHC||New York, N.Y.|
|Running on Empty||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Triangle FHC||Triangle, N.C.|
All-star teams and Tournament Most Valuable Players were named based on nominations from the USFHL Captains.
Men's MVP: Steve Nodder, dcDragons
Women's MVP: Brittany Hickernell, Running on Empty
|USFHL National Championship All-Star Team|
|Women Athletes||Men Athletes|
|Kim Amrod, Atlanta||Gordy Brown, Greenwich|
|Missy Arnez, Triangle FHC||Alex Copestake, dcDragons|
|Katie Bam, dcDragons||Steve Dennis, Greenwich|
|Nicola Black, Rovers||David Eddie, Minuteman|
|Caroline Boidoin, Olympic Club||Andy Ferguson, NY Islanders|
|Meg Bozek, Minuteman||Alex Grassi, dc Dragons|
|Sarah Cannon, Atlanta||Austin Heath, dcDragons|
|Rachel Crain, Baltimore FHA||Pardeep Menon, Atlanta|
|Christyn Davidson, SteelStyx||Rennie Milne, Philly Premier|
|Margo Donlin, NEFHA||Stephen Nodder, dcDragons|
|Maggie Farrand, Minuteman||Jelle Prins, Atlanta|
|Ally Fuller, Philly Premier||Benedict Schwiatek, Greenwich|
|Brittney Hickernell, Running on Empty||Nanu Sidhu, San Jose Khalsa|
|Ashley Johnson, Strikers||Kevin Tan, SteelStyx|
|Katie Keiser, Olympic Club|
|Pip Konerth, dcDragons|
|Ellie Lansman, Rovers|
|Nicole Ng, Olympic Club|
|Kristy Recek, Baltimore FHA|
|Kasey Tapman, dcDragons|
|Scottie Turnbull, Rovers|
|Denis Zelenak, Philly Premier|
The title sponsor of the USFHL National Championship was YOLO Sportswear. Also sponsoring was AstroTurf, Motive Pure, Penn Monto. For all game recaps visit the USFHL Facebook page.
The USFHL seeks to grow adult men’s and women’s field hockey participation and engagement in local adult clubs, associations, leagues, tournaments and open pick-up throughout the United States. The overall mission is to grow and support all adult field hockey with marketing, technology, leadership, regulation, structure and events to improve organization and ease of adult participation.
For more info check out the USFHL website, follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Additional USFHL coverage by Phila Field Hockey can be found on Facebook and Twitter. For questions email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how your community can get plugged in for 2020!