U.S. U-21 head coach Steve Jennings names Junior World Cup roster
June 28, 2013 – U.S. Under-21 head coach Steve Jennings has announced the squad that will represent Team USA at the Ergo Hockey Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach, Germany, July 27-August 4. Held every four years, the Junior World Cup represents the top international event for elite field hockey athletes under the age of 21.
The selection process for the Hockey Junior World Cup team spanned over four events, including the Women’s National Championship, U-21 Women’s National Championship, Futures Elite Championship and National Futures Championship. From the four events, 34-players were selected to attend Junior National Camp. The final squad was trimmed to 18-players plus three replacement athletes.
“We have selected a very talented squad and are excited to see their potential unfold over the coming weeks,” said Jennings. “It will be a big challenge but the skill, speed and unity of our team will represent us in great fashion.”
The team features three U.S. Women’s National Team players, Teresa Benvenuti (Morristown, N.J.), Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) and Emily Wold (Freehold, N.J.), who is currently competing at the World League Semi-Final in London.
The U.S. qualified for the Hockey Junior World Cup by finishing third at the 2012 Pan American Junior Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Junior World Cup features 16-teams split into four pools of four teams each. Following pool play, teams will either move into a placement round for the bottom eight finishers or advance to the quarterfinal, semi-final and final round.
The U.S. has been drawn into Pool A, featuring the Netherlands, Korea and Ghana. Pool B includes Argentina, China, South Africa and Canada. Pool C is made up of New Zealand, Australia, India and Russia and Pool D features England, Germany, Belgium and Spain (more details here).
The U.S. will open pool play at the Junior World Cup against Korea on Saturday, July 27, followed by the Netherlands on July 28. The U.S. will close out pool play against Ghana on July 30. The quarterfinals will be played on Thursday, August 1, the semi-finals on August 2 and the gold and bronze medal match on August 4.
The U.S. finished eighth at the last Hockey Junior World Cup, held at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts in August 2009. The roster featured seven athletes who went on to represent Team USA at the 2012 London Olympic Games, including, Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa.) Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.), Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.), Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) and Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.). The roster also featured 12-players currently on the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The U.S. will depart on July 17 for the Netherlands for final preparations before the tournament commences in Germany. The U.S. will play against the Dutch team twice before heading over the border to Mönchengladbach. Once in Germany, the U.S. will have a friendly match against New Zealand before opening pool play on July 27.
“The focus right now is purely to do our best and to take care of each moment,” said Jennings. “Tournaments are always a challenge and it will be critical for us to be able to keep a level perspective throughout–for us to do well, we will have to be a complete team on and off the field. We will need to embody great resiliency in the toughest moments and celebrate successes with a commitment to consistent improvement. We look forward to the challenge!”
The following athletes have been selected to the Hockey Junior World Cup 2013:
Teresa Benvenuti (Morristown, N.J.), Lauren Blazing (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Marie-Elena Bolles (Phoenixville, Pa.), Emma Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.), Samantha Carlino (Kennett Square, Pa.), Anna Dessoye (Mountain Top, Pa.), Maxine Fluharty (Millsboro, Del.), Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.), Katie Gerzabek (Springfield, Pa.), Kelsey Harbin (Escondido, Cali.), Georgia Holland (Stony Brook, N.Y.), Aileen Johnson (Oceanport, N.J.), Ainsley McCallister (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Nikki Parsley (Milford, Del.), Hannah Prince (Gorham, Maine), Kelsey Smither (Suffolk, Va.), Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Emily Wold (Freehold, N.J.)