TORONTO, Canada – Last weekend, USA Field Hockey and Canada Field Hockey’s Indoor Programs participated in the annual CanAm Indoor Series for the second year in a row following a 5-year hiatus. The Junior U.S. Men’s National Indoor Team, Junior U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team and Senior U.S. Men’s National Indoor Team competed against their respective Canada squads at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada on March 18 and 19.
“It was good to be able to evaluate our players under pressure from a strong and well-organized Canada U-23 squad,” said JaJa Kentwell, who coached the Junior U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team. “These games gave our young squad the opportunity to get some valuable international experience as we begin the next cycle leading to the Indoor Pan American Cup which will be held in May 2024.”
“The junior men’s Indoor team improved significantly during this 2022-23 indoor season, and it culminated with some excellent game play at the Junior CanAm,” stated Erik Enters, Junior Indoor USMNT Head Coach. “All three games were decided by a single goal and in each it was the team that stayed defensively disciplined in the final quarter who proved victorious. We are very excited about the direction our program is headed.”
Each USA squad played three matches against Canada over the two days. During this series, three Indoor USMNT athletes received their first international cap in Gavin Chung (Glen Ridge, N.J.), Tyler Kim (Arlington, Va.) and Damien Tarala (Norwalk, Conn.). Comiskey, who stepped into the role of captain for the Junior Indoor USMNT, was the leading scorer among the junior division.
USA also had two representative who were part of the technical staff who traveled to Toronto – Ridge Blair was there as an umpire and Samantha Flood as a technical official.
2023 CanAm Indoor Series Results
|Sat., March 18||Junior Men||USA||5||Final||4||Canada|
|Sun., March 19||Junior Women||USA||5||Final||3||Canada|
Junior Indoor USWNT
The Junior Indoor USWNT started off the weekend with a strong 6-3 victory. Lilly Wojcik (New Freedom, Pa.) opened the scoring in the 7th minute of play, followed by a well-executed penalty corner variation and finish from Sofia Ferri (Phoenixville, Pa.) to double the lead just a minute later. USA led 3-2 at the half – a second goal from Wojcik to keep the red, white and blue in the lead. For the first 5 minutes of the second half, both teams played strong defense, not giving up any scoring opportunities. Wojcik struck again in the 35th minute, earning herself a hat trick, but Canada responded a minute later to bring the score back within one. Wojcik snapped back in the 37th minute with her fourth goal. With the USA leading 5-3, Canada pulled their goalkeeper. An emphatic end to the game, Madeline Vasilios (Clarksville, Md.) intercepted a pass and scored to bring the final tally to 6-3.
The junior women’s second game came later that day and saw tactical changes from both sides, leading to a lower scoring but equally exciting game. Canada struck first in the 12th minute, but their momentum was stopped in their tracks with a quick penalty corner response by Sofi Fidalgo-Schioppa (Westport, Conn.) a minute later. Scoreless for the next 20 minutes, Canada finally found the back of the net to regain the lead with just 3 minutes left in the game. This time it was the USA who pulled their goalkeeper to play with an extra field player. Sammie Goin(Brambleton, Va.) earned a crucial penalty corner that Wojcik used to bury the ball into the top left corner to tie the game at 2-2 with just 20 seconds left to play. USA put goalkeeper Natane King (Haverford, Pa.) back in, and Canada managed to earn a penalty corner in the last few seconds of the game. The set piece was defended, ending the match in a 2-2 tie.
On Sunday, the Junior Indoor USWNT closed out the series with a 5-3 victory. Canada opened the scoring for the second match in a row, but the tenacious USA responded with their own goal in the same minute. This time it was Rachel Herbine (Macungie, Pa.) with a beautiful deflection off a hard pass from Vasilios just inside the attacking half. Another goal put USA up 3-1 at the half. Canada came into the second half strong and equalized with two quick goals. With 3 minutes to go, a smart pass found Wojcik on the post, and she converted to give USA a 4-3 lead. Canada pulled their goalkeeper with only a few minutes left to try and equalize. USA earned a penalty corner in the last minute of the game and sealed the win with a goal, bringing the final to 5-3.
Junior Indoor USMNT
In their first game of the series, the Junior Indoor USMNT came out a bit timid, allowing Canada to net a goal in the 4th minute of play. USA stayed calm and tied it up on penalty stroke from captain Koehl Comiskey (Dallas, Pa.). Early into the third quarter, Canada regained the lead, but Comiskey responded with two quick goals to complete a hat trick and push USA in front. Jesse Ickes (Lewisberry, Pa.) added a goal with seconds left in the third frame to push USA to a 4-2 lead. Canada battled back, scoring a goal at the 34th minute and then getting the tying goal with a little over a minute left in the game. USA responded by earning a penalty corner just as time expired. Comiskey converted the set piece with a strong shot to beat the goalkeeper and propel USA to a thrilling 5-4 victory.
The second game picked up right where the first ended, with Canada scoring the first goal 6 minutes in. Comiskey and Michael Egan (Chatham, N.J.) responded with goals within a minute of each other to take the lead after the first quarter. The second frame showcased some exceptional goalkeeping by both teams. Luke Jackson (Brentwood, Tenn.) made several excellent saves to hold off a strong attack by Canada, but one snuck by in the final minute of the half to tie the game, 2-2. Just a minute into the third quarter, Jack Weitzman (Fulton, Md.) scored a diving goal off sharp passing in transition to push USA ahead. In an exciting 3-minute span late in the third, Canada tied the game on a penalty corner, Comiskey converted a penalty corner and Canada responded with a field goal to even the game going into the final quarter. The fourth quarter was all USA in the first 5 minutes, as Ickes scored in the 33rd minute and Comiskey added another in the 35th. Canada turned up the heat and scored three goals in 4 minutes to take the 7-6 lead. USA did not go quietly – with the goalkeeper pulled, they earned a penalty corner with just seconds left on the clock. The attempt deflected off the crossbar and Canada held on for the win.
The deciding game on Sunday continued to showcase the talented young players from Canada and USA. This time, USA dictated the pace of play in the first half – switching between multiple presses to keep Canada on their heels. Eknaam Singh (Los Gatos, Calif.) was strong in goal in the first quarter and turned away the few scoring chances that Canada was able to generate. Weitzman found the cage on an acrobatic goal in the 4th minute and Comiskey continued his dominance, scoring off a penalty corner in the 9th minute. Weitzman got his second goal of the game at the 12-minute mark and USA appeared to be in control of the contest headed into halftime. As if on cue, Canada scored a goal early into the third quarter at the 22-minute mark and then took advantage of a man up situation during a 4-minute USA yellow card, scoring three goals between the 26th and 30th minutes to take a 4-3 lead headed into the final quarter. The tables turned as Comiskey took advantage of two USA man up situations – netting a penalty corner in the 32nd minute on a Canada green card and then burying the game winner during a Canada yellow card in the final 3 minutes. Strong defensive play by Alex Beauduin (Princeton, N.J.) in the final minutes stifled a late Canada push as they pulled their goalkeeper. The final 5-4 score gave the USA the 2-1 series win.
The CanAm Indoor Series was started by Nigel Traverso (USA) and Louis Mendonca (Canada) in 2013, when they were managing the indoor programs of both countries. Since then, the host and location alternated per year between Canada and the United States. The CanAm Indoor Series takes place annually featuring both the junior and senior teams for the men and women.
For more information on the CanAm Indoor Series, visit the official event page.
As a reminder, registration for the Junior and Senior U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team Tryouts closes Friday, March 24, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET. All athletes, from age 11 through adult women, interested in training in the U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team program and playing for the Junior, Development or Senior Indoor USWNT should register by clicking here.
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