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News for 12 November 2019

All the news for Tuesday 12 November 2019

Historic Night for BlitzStoks while SPAR SA continue to Shine

Picture – Everlasting Clicks / SA Hockey

The second night of the indoor test series between both the South African and Swiss Men and Women proved to be a night that belonged to the lower ranked South African sides. The BlitzStoks produced a moment of historical significance while SPAR South Africa showed their continued superiority over a team ranked 9 places above them in the Official Indoor Hockey World Ratings.

For the BlitzStoks, powered by Tops at SPAR for this series, it was a night to remember and it became a night for the history books as the BlitzStoks beat their European counterparts 4-3. The victory was the first time a South African Men’s Indoor Hockey team has ever defeated European opposition as well as the first time they have tasted from the sweet cup of victory against a side ranked in the top 8 in the World.

Having faced a few early short corners, the South Africans were able to repel the Swiss attack on an extremely slick surface and then found themselves ahead when Chad Futcher fired a rocket to make it 2 international goals in 2 games for South Africa. They didn’t have to wait long for the second when the BlitzStoks surged forward after a slip from the Swiss and Chad Futcher crossed for Ignatius Malgraff to get his first International Indoor goal, after scoring a fair amount of outdoor goals for the country already.

Having established a two-goal lead, coach David Joshua, will be disappointed with how quickly they invited pressure in defence and were thankful to their upright as it twice denied Michel and Morard respectively. The post could not stop Pascal Knabenhans as he pulled a goal back with a superb penalty corner flick. But the BlitzStoks re-established the two-goal cushion with a fantastic piece of work from Lungani Gabela, his first International goal, after fantastic work from Hezlett and Eustice. 3-1 the half time score in favour of the hosts.

Switzerland showed why they are ranked in the worlds top 10 though with a fight back in the third quarter. Knabenhans made it 3-2 with another fantastic penalty corner, almost a carbon copy of his first before Morard scored a superb goal after patient build up by the Swiss. The finish was perfection and the Swiss had levelled the game. This game was going to need something special to win it and that’s exactly what it got.

Keegan Hezlett almost produced it but ultimately it was Keagan Robinson that did. 870 days after he scored his last indoor international goal, Robinson reminded everyone of his remarkable recovery from knee injury with the type of finish that epitomises his play. His brother Jonty fed Gabela who deflected through to Robinson before a diving finish secured the historic win for the South Africans.

The SPAR South Africa Indoor ladies’ side have built their incredible run of just 3 defeats in their last 37 games on impressive defensive performances. In that time, they had conceded just 46 goals at an average of 1.24 a game, frankly ridiculous. But their victories may be built on steadfast attack, but the ability to attack with superb skill and the regular ability to land a quickfire double punch.

They did that tonight when they opened the scoring from Kara Botes with a superb penalty corner variation. Kara is lethal at the top of the D but letting her pick it up 5m from goal is never going to end well for a defending team. Before Switzerland had a chance to catch their breath it was a Lennie Botha special that saw Kayla de Waal finish expertly to make it 2 in 2 for the 19-year-old and a 2-0 lead for the hosts.

2-0 though once again proved to be a dangerous score and Switzerland pulled a goal back when Nora Murer converted a penalty stroke past Zimi Shange.

Rather than be nervous, this SPAR South African team is built of sterner stuff and that description is apt for the goal scorer of the third. Eloise Walters has only recently recovered from her own knee injury and her goal would have made the KZN Inland province extremely proud, heck it made us all proud. There was still time for one more for South Africa to secure the victory beyond a shadow of a doubt with Robyn Johnson popping up to net her first of the series.

The hosts now head into the third test of the series with a 2-0 lead and are one win away from ensuring they can’t lose the series. Of course, we know that Lennie Botha and his team have grander plans than that.

The third test matches take place on Tuesday and all games are streamed by Digitv at http://events.digitv.co.za   .

Picture – Everlasting Clicks / SA Hockey

Change of venue

The South African Hockey Association would like to notify all indoor hockey fans that the venue for the final test matches of the Durban leg of the South Africa and Switzerland men and women indoor hockey test series has been moved to Ashton College in Ballito.

The change has been made to ensure the quality of the test matches is not compromised.  We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the moving of venues.

Ashton International College Ballito
Albertina Way

A reminder that following tonight’s game the four teams will travel to Cape Town for the second half of the series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

For those not able to attend the games live, you can still follow the Live Stream by Digitv at http://events.digitv.co.za   .

SA Hockey Association media release

FIH creates Hockey5s World Cup

The FIH Executive Board (EB), chaired by FIH President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra, held its last meeting of the year on 8-9 November at its offices in Lausanne, Switzerland, where it selected India to host the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup (13-29 January 2023) and Spain and the Netherlands to co-host the 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup (1-17 July 2022).

Furthermore, the EB discussed a wide range of topics including:


In order to further boost the development of hockey globally through the promotion of its 5-a-side format, “Hockey5s”, the EB has decided to create a FIH Hockey5s World Cup, with the inaugural edition planned for 2023. Continental Hockey5s tournaments will be organized and act as qualifiers. 16 teams per gender will take part in the first FIH Hockey5s World Cup.

    FIH Hockey Pro League

The EB received a detailed report on season 2019 and the ongoing preparations for the second season of the FIH Hockey Pro League, which will start on 11 January 2020 with the 2019 Women’s League winners, the Netherlands, playing China away. This second season of the annual global League involving hockey’s best national teams in the world, Men and Women, welcomes another powerhouse of international hockey, India (in the Men’s League). Also, it includes a new match schedule which will reduce the travel of the teams by half, therefore decreasing costs for teams, benefitting athletes’ welfare and reducing the impact on the environment.

    FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers

The EB expressed its full satisfaction with the format of the recently completed FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers and outlined the great moments of hockey, the attendances and the audiences. It also reiterated its full support to the FIH Umpires and Officials as publicly mentioned by FIH CEO Thierry Weil earlier.

    FIH Intercontinental Cup

In order to promote competition between teams from different continents every year, FIH will launch ​in 2021 an annual event for the highest ranked teams not competing in the FIH Hockey Pro League​. It will be an 8-team tournament in a single venue for each gender. The competing teams will be invited based on the FIH World Rankings at the end of the previous year’s FIH Hockey Pro League​. From 2022, the FIH Intercontinental Cup champion will be promoted to the following year’s FIH Pro League to replace the bottom team who will be relegated.

    FIH World Rankings

As announced by the EB in March, on 1st January 2020, the FIH will launch a new match-based FIH World Rankings system. This new system will:

    Increase opportunities for all National Associations to gain ranking points
    Accurately reflect current performance
    Provide weekly rankings and live narrative to every official match with the impact of the result on the world rankings table being known immediately
    Remove subjectivity and create a system that is fair to all without the need for Continental weightings
    Encourage playing official international matches
    Encourage targeting the highest profile tournaments for best performance
    Provide the opportunity for all nations who play international matches to have a world ranking

Ranking points will be exchanged between the competing teams in every official international match recorded on the FIH Tournament Management System. The number of points exchanged will depend on the result of the match (win, lose, shootout win/loss or draw), the relative difference in ranking points between the teams before the match and the importance of the match (part of a major tournament or a one-off test series, for example). A more detailed explanation will be published towards the end of this year.

The next EB meeting will take place on 13-14 March in Lausanne.

FIH site

FIH proposes new competitions, promotes Hockey 5s

FIH has decided to launch two new world-level tournaments and also sought to put an end to the umpiring controversies during the Olympic Qualifiers.

Uthra Ganesan

The inaugural edition of the Hockey 5s World Cup will be held in 2023.   -  BSIWARANJAN ROUT

While deciding the hosts for the next men’s and women’s World Cups was top priority for the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in its recent executive board meeting, that was not the only major decision taken.

The meeting last week also saw the FIH deciding to launch two new world-level tournaments and sought to put an end to the umpiring controversies during the Olympic Qualifiers, refusing any changes to the format and reiterating full support to the umpires and officials.

The FIH put its weight behind the Hockey 5s concept – a five-a-side version of the game played on a smaller field which is already part of the Youth Olympics – with the creation of a new world-level tournament for the same. The Hockey 5s World Cup, with its inaugural edition to be played in 2023, would be similar to the marquee event with 16 teams qualifying. The teams would be decided on the basis of continental Hockey 5s tournaments – also a new competition with the detailed structure to be finalised later.

But even before that, the FIH would launch the Intercontinental Cup, starting 2021, as a second-division competition behind the Pro League. More importantly, it would provide an avenue for teams to be part of the Pro league with the two working on a promotion-relegation format starting 2022.

The Intercontinental Cup, the FIH said on Monday, would be an annual, eight-team, single-venue event for the highest-ranked teams not competing in the Pro League with the winner being promoted to the Pro League the following year, replacing the bottom-placed side from the top tier who would be relegated. Like the Pro League, however, it would also be an invitational event with participation based on world rankings.

The new world rankings system was also discussed providing varied ranking points stipulated for all recognised international matches regardless of competition and weekly updating of rankings unlike the present system where rankings are updated at the end of major events. The system is likely to be in place from the beginning of next year.


World Cup tournament for five-a-side

That is interesting news for Malaysia who created history by winning the five-a-side gold in the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina last year.

THE International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced a few revolutionary measures yesterday, including having a 5s World Cup in 2023.

That is interesting news for Malaysia who created history by winning the five-a-side gold in the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina last year.

Then, Malaysia beat India 4-2 in the final.

Continental Hockey 5s tournaments will be organised as qualifiers, where 16 teams per gender will take part in the first World Cup.

The FIH statement read: “In order to promote competition between teams from different continents every year, FIH will launch in 2021 an annual event for the highest ranked teams not competing in the FIH Hockey Pro League.

“It will be an eight-team tournament in a single venue for each gender.”

FIH will also make the tabulation of world rankings much more interactive. The world body will launch a new match-based world rankings system and this new system will:

1. Increase opportunities for all national associations to gain ranking points that accurately reflect current performance.

2. Provide weekly rankings and live narrative to every official match.

3. Remove subjectivity and create a system that is fair to all.

4. Encourage playing official international matches to gain ranking points.

The change in collecting ranking points will benefit Asian teams who are finding it hard to qualify for the World Cup and Olympics.

New Straits Times

Rani Rampal: Surreal to have scored the goal that secured Olympic qualification

Rani Rampal scored the all-important goal against USA in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha as India narrowly beat the visitors 6-5 on aggregate.

Indian Captain Rani Rampal celebrates with her teammates after scoring a goal against USA during FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2019 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.   -  PTI

A podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics is possible considering the long strides the Indian women’s hockey team has taken in the last three years, asserted skipper Rani Rampal on Monday.

She is still relishing the "surreal experience" of securing India’s passage into the 2020 Games with her decisive goal in the qualifier.

Rani scored the all-important goal during the recent clash against USA in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha as India narrowly beat the visitors 6-5 on aggregate to book the ticket to Tokyo.

"I managed to keep my composure during the turn and finish. It was a surreal experience when I was hugging my teammates with joy," said Rani, recalling her goal.

"When I was stepping onto the field with just 15 minutes remaining, I was a little skeptical because I felt like we cannot let our hard work of three years come down to this. But when I finally got the ball inside the striking circle, I knew I had some space ahead of me, and I just focused on keeping possession and getting my basics right."

India lost the second of the two-game contest 1-4 but qualified courtesy the team’s comprehensive 5-1 win in the opening counter.

Interestingly, in 2015 when Indian the women’s team qualified for the Rio Olympics after a gap of 36 years, it was Rani who had played a key role in the decisive victory against Japan. The team, though, failed to make a mark at the competition as they finished last.

However, Rani said that her team has improved vastly since Rio.

"We did not have a great tournament in Rio, but we got the experience of playing at an Olympic Games. Currently, we have 10 players in our squad who were a part of the team that participated in Rio, and with the huge improvements that we have made to our game since then, I am really confident of targeting a podium finish in Tokyo.” “Earlier this year, we took part in the Olympic Test Event and we won the tournament convincingly. But the other positive was that we got a good experience of playing in those conditions, and that will help us in preparing well for the 2020 Games," added Rani.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced that the next women’s World Cup will be hosted jointly by the Netherlands and Spain in 2022, and Rani spoke about the prospects of participating in the tournament.

"We had a good campaign at the World Cup last year in England, and to have made it to the quarter-finals and losing out to Ireland in penalty shootout was disappointing but that shows that we were just one win away from making it to the semi-finals," Rani said.

"We will now have the opportunity to complete unfinished business when we start preparing for the next World Cup. We have played a lot (in Spain) in the recent couple of years and we know the conditions well. It is a target we will have for the next four years certainly but first we look at the Tokyo Olympics," Rani said.

The Indian women’s team is currently on a break and will regroup for a conditioning camp, starting November 18 in Bengaluru.


Dart learns from adversity to reach SA hockey team

University of Johannesburg hockey star Taylor Dart enjoyed a successful year on the field to be named the varsity’s Sportsman of the Year at the last months gala awards function. Photo: University of Johannesburg

Learning some hard lessons on how to handle adversity has been a key part of University of Johannesburg hockey star Taylor Dart’s rise to the national level in his chosen sport.

As he reflects on his goal of making the squad for next year’s Olympic Games in Japan, the 27-year-old South African player says learning how to recover from a setback has been essential to his sporting development.

Dart, who completed his masters in architecture this year, was recognised for his efforts on the hockey field by being named the UJ Sportsman of the Year at last month’s gala awards function.

While he is now near the pinnacle of his career, he said he had also faced some dark moments.

“There were many times where I failed and it was so hard to continue,” said Dart. “But by focusing on myself and putting all the control in my hands it helped me to realise that it’s okay to have setbacks.

“They do not determine who you are and what your self-worth is. Everyone has setbacks, but the key issue is to be able to learn and to grow from those moments.”

Dart, who lives in Randburg in Johannesburg, said he had some rough patches this year, but that there were also many special and rewarding memories.

“From helping South Africa to qualify for the Olympics to finishing my final exam, I’m really blessed,” he said.

“I set myself small goals each week, which would help me to achieve larger goals that I set at the beginning of the year.

“These were to cement myself within the national hockey setup, to help SA qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and to finish my masters in architecture.”

Among his best memories were playing for Southern Gauteng in the interprovincial.

“I had a really good tournament and just enjoyed every moment of that week. It was such an important week for me from a pressure point of view.

“In addition, beating USA in the final seconds of the FIH Series semifinals in India [in June] was a huge step to qualifying for the Olympics.”

He acknowledged that there were some challenges during the year, but said how he handled them was the key to his success.

“Time management and being able to sacrifice the nice things were important,” said Dart.

“When you come back from hockey training at 10pm and then begin working, it’s hard but it’s sometimes what you have to do.

“Having family and a girlfriend who are able to help and be there for you, even if it’s just to listen, was massive. We sometimes forget the roles that we play for each other.

“Lastly, a key point is just to focus on yourself at times. It’s important to know where you are and how to improve yourself and what you need as a person.”

Winning the Sportsman of the Year award for the first time was a major thrill for Dart.

“It really feels incredible. I’m very lucky to have won and I’m just so grateful and humbled at the same time.”

His journey through university life has also played a significant part in his success.

“I would not have been able to achieve everything I have without the input from so many great individuals within this institution,” acknowledged Dart. “From the sports side to the academics, it’s been maybe the best period of my life so far.

“The coaching and management staff at the hockey side, as well as the Graduate School of Architecture, have always had an understanding and have always been able to help me and support every decision. I am grateful to all for their guidance.”

Fullstop Communications media release for UJ Hockey

How champions Surbiton prepare for match day

Rod Gilmour

Brett Garrard advises one of Surbiton's young players Credit: Surbiton HC

This weekend features a table-topping clash in the Investec Women's Premier Division as leaders and defending champions Surbiton take on newly-promoted Hampstead & Westminster.

The coach

Brett Garrard was meant to coach Surbiton ladies for only one season. Eleven years on, the GB Olympian has led Surbiton into the top flight and overseen six successive titles. Every year he has to juggle losing an array of international players (eight so far in 2019-20) through the season due to the centralised system and has used 22 players this term. He doesn't look at the league table until at least the fifth game in, with Surbiton now leading Hampstead by five points after eight successive wins.

"From a coach's point of view I'm still as up for it from game one," he says. "I enjoy the challenge of the different dynamics, such as having 15-year-old players up to thirtysomethings. I had to adapt my own style in order to be able to communicate. The one thing that stands out coaching a ladies team is that they are very attentive."

The player

"We owe a lot to Brett and he just sets the standards," says Emily Atkinson, into her seventh season at Sugden Road. The 28-year-old chartered surveyor joins her team-mates for Monday and Wednesday evening training for 90 minutes. Either side will usually consist of gym-based work, with Friday off and yoga stretching on Sundays. The long-term goal every season, adds Atkinson, is for semi-professional Surbiton to combine their domestic season with qualifying and then playing in Europe year-on-year. "We've had the most consistency I think we've ever had," she says of this campaign.

The manager

Tony Jones sees increasing availability issues with their colts' players combining school games at the weekend with the Elite Development Programme. He uses Google Sheets to anticipate session numbers, while one recent problem with their array of young England juniors created a clash with performance centre training and no goalkeepers available for club training.

Brett Garrard talks tactics ahead of the Buckingham victory  Credit: BECKIE MIDDLETON 

In a new initiative, Jones also oversees match videos uploaded to Hudl which are then shared by a majority of the other clubs to view. Surbiton's own ability to film matches properly has been blighted by a council request to take down its video tower after breaching planning regulations.

The volunteer

Jones will also help get the club and pitch into shape for match day. An array of tasks include line repainting, making sure wifi works pitch side for realtime statistics, sorting ball patrol and liaising with staff for gate entrance fees. The club has also invested in a tractor to help with brushing the pitch twice for match day and the constant leaf battle.

Surbiton ladies' shirt sponsor, Edel Grass, told the club in the summer that its water-based pitch had two full seasons left to run. As a club owning its facility, a five-year plan has been put into place and, due to their domestic success, budgets are increasingly tight as Surbiton plan for continental trips at Easter. The women's and men's joint Euro Hockey League campaign will cost at least £40,000.

As an amateur club, Garrard will also rely on trusted professionals associated at the club if players pick up serious injuries. For instance, he is well connected with one of Britain's leading osteopaths Jonathan Bailey-Teyletche, who has travelled with the team for previous European club tournaments.

The preview

Both will likely field their strongest sides, with the Olympians now back on the domestic trail. "An Olympic year is always tough and it can have an affect on the standard of the league," concedes Garrard. "We still want the league to improve and we still have some way to go in comparison to the Dutch and German leagues." 

Ahead of the weekend, Jones says: "They [Hampstead] are on the up. They play on the break well and it's the way a lot of teams play against us. For women's hockey they score a lot of goals [26 in eight matches]. It should be a cracking, free-flowing game." Meanwhile, Hampstead's Joie Leigh is the league's leading scorer with seven goals, while their penalty corner specialist Grace Balsdon has notched four goals in seven starts.

Bray hits her stride

On Saturday, Sophie Bray, the former GB international, was in sublime form as East Grinstead's season continued to improve. The West Sussex side were always in control as they beat Clifton 4-0 for their third consecutive win, with Bray scoring a second-half hat-trick.

Sophie Bray bagged a superb hat-trick against Clifton  Credit: PETER SMITH

The 29-year-old seemed to be in the right place or on the end of any crash and aerial balls into the D as Clifton found the going increasingly tough in defence or facing a quick counter. Bray's touch has always been one of her strongest assets and the way she volleyed home from an aerial move - where others may have waited for the ball to drop - was a particular delight in a highly impressive display for the forward.

Investec Women's Premier Division results

Surbiton 3 Buckingham 2
Grinstead 4 Clifton Robinsons 0
Hampstead & Westminster 2 Bowdon 0
Loughborough Students 1 University of Birmingham 0
Holcombe 3 Beeston 0

What's on this weekend - November 16

Buckingham v East Grinstead, 12pm
Clifton Robinsons v Loughborough Students, 1pm
Holcombe v Bowdon, 1pm
Beeston v University of Birmingham, 2pm
Surbiton v Hampstead & Westminster, 4:30pm

Times as published by England Hockey

The Telegraph

NCAA Field hockey Tournament seeding announced

By Austin Kalt

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

For the 25th consecutive season, Maryland field hockey will be competing in the NCAA Tournament.

The Terps will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to play No. 13 Saint Joseph’s in its first game of the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Maryland the No. 2 overall seed in the tourney, but this year it will be the first time since 2017 that it will not be a host team.

Despite owning a 16-3 record, Maryland was shut out by Penn State, 1-0 in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament this past weekend, which affected its NCAA seeding.

The Terps are in the same group as No. 3 Virginia, Delaware and Saint Joseph’s. The three other hosts teams in the tournament are No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 UConn and No. 4 Louisville.

Maryland’s game will be on Friday at 2:30 against the Hawks. Saint Joseph’s is 17-3, including a perfect 8-0 record in the Atlantic-10 conference and won the conference tournament. The Hawks also have the nation’s best offense, averaging four goals per game this season.

Testudo Times

Assessing UNC field hockey's NCAA tournament outlook after ACC postseason title

By Ryan Wilcox

The UNC field hockey team huddles together on Sunday Sept. 15, 2019, before playing William and Mary. UNC won 8-0. Alicia Robbins

When the North Carolina field hockey team trumped Boston College in the ACC Tournament final on Sunday, it preserved a second-straight perfect season.

Now, starting Friday, the Tar Heels will look to finish the job.

UNC will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament this weekend, and look to follow up a 23-0 national championship campaign in 2018 with another flawless year in 2019. This season, the top-ranked Tar Heels have already knocked off seven other members of the top 10 based on RPI — Virginia, Duke, Louisville (twice), Boston College (twice), Syracuse, Princeton and Iowa — and will be the tournament's No. 1 overall seed for the second-straight year.

In the first round, the Tar Heels will play the winner of a Wednesday play-in game between Stanford and Miami of Ohio. Should UNC win that game, which will be Friday at noon, Karen Shelton's squad will then take on the winner of Duke-Iowa on Sunday. The winner of that matchup will advance to Winston-Salem, N.C. and the NCAA semifinals the following weekend.

"Nobody has an easy bracket," Shelton told GoHeels. "We wouldn't expect our path to be easy, nor would we want it to be. We're just going to focus on our next game, against either Stanford or Miami. We hope we can take what we learned this weekend and apply it when we play on Friday."

Six of the top eight field hockey teams in the country are in the ACC, so winning the conference tournament is nothing to sneeze at. North Carolina beat Louisville and Boston College by identical scores of 3-1 to capture their third conference title in a row and the 22nd in program history.

The Tar Heels got there on the backs of a number of veteran leaders, plus sophomore standout Erin Matson.

Matson was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year after posting team-highs in goals (24) and assists (15) for UNC, despite missing multiple games while playing for the national team in India. UNC's next four highest point scorers — Marissa Creatore, Catherine Hayden, Yentl Leemans and Megan DuVernois — are all seniors.

North Carolina's defense has been stout all year, too, holding opponents to just 19 goals all season for an average of exactly one goal per game. Leemans, a midfielder, won the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year award, helping the Tar Heels to six shutout wins this season.

As mentioned, Virginia and Louisville, two of the other top three seeds in the NCAA tournament, are a combined 0-3 against UNC this season. The team that could end up posing the most problems for UNC? UConn.

The second-seeded Huskies are 18-3 on the season and breezed through their conference schedule, going 7-0 in the Big East and capturing the postseason conference title with a 2-0 win over Old Dominion. UConn senior Svea Boker leads the team with 20 goals and is third on the team with 13 assists, playing in all 21 games.

It seems fitting that the Tar Heels' potential national title matchup, to finish off back-to-back undefeated seasons and send UNC's seniors off with another championship, could see them looking for a win over an eighth — yes, eighth — different team currently ranked in the top 10.

The Daily Tar Heel

Penn field hockey drawing on international talent in van Staden and Lavers

Freshman Elita van Staden joined the Quakers from Pretoria, South Africa

By Krissy Kowalski

Hailing from South Africa, freshman defender Elita van Staden is one of two international players for Penn field hockey. Credit: Son Nguyen

As of fall 2018, international students made up about 21% of the student body at Penn. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that they are also distributed among sports teams for the Quakers.

Specifically, Penn field hockey has followed a recent trend in recruiting international players. This season, the team has two players who hail from countries other than the United States.

Freshman defender Elita van Staden joined the Red and Blue from Pretoria, South Africa, and sophomore goalie Sarah Lavers is originally from Harpenden, England.

“It's actually a funny story, I didn’t know that Americans played field hockey because I never saw the Americans [playing] on television or anything,” van Staden said. “Then my dad told me that if I wanted to study abroad, America would be the place. I wasn’t really sold on the idea but then I got into recruiting, so I started talking to a couple of coaches. The deeper I got into the process, the more I knew I wanted to come to America.”

The idea to start recruiting internationally has been rooted in statistics and achievements from past years.

“If you look at the statistics [for international players] of the last five years, the first team and second team All-Americans for field hockey has increased from high 40s to high 60s in terms of percentages,” coach Colleen Fink said. “68% of students in the U.S. for field hockey were international."

“We want to compete at the highest level in the Ivy League, and our team is so good and everyone is so strong that this might just be the next little bit of that added edge to take that final step," Fink added.

While there are benefits to recruiting internationally, there are also drawbacks. One disadvantage is that in the recruiting process for an international player, coaches can only rely on film and talk to players via video call or over the phone.

Looking toward the future, Penn may look to recruit more players from Canada and Mexico.

According to the Penn Financial Services website, “Only applicants who are citizens and permanent residents of the United States, Canada, and Mexico are reviewed on a need-blind basis, meaning that the degree of need will not affect admission decisions.”

This has led to our northern neighbor, in particular, to turn into a hotbed for recruits upon which coaches can draw.

“We have been looking at Canada quite a bit because the financial aid setup for Canadian students is a little different,” Fink said. “I heard that they treat Canadians from the same standpoint as they do for a person from the United States, so it makes it a little easier in terms of the need.”

There is a high commitment to recruiting internationally with the hope of getting prospects for every year in future recruiting classes. Even more future Quakers from around the world are expected to join the team next season.

“My assistant coach and I are going to be traveling in December to both Amsterdam and England, where we hope to build connections with some coaches,” Fink said. “While we are completely committed to recruiting domestically, we are also committed to trying to bring in one prospect per year to broaden the program from an international standpoint.”

While one might think that being an international player would be a difficult adjustment, the field hockey family has embraced its new teammates from abroad with open arms.

“In the beginning, I was really nervous — [wondering], 'Am I going to fit in with the culture, am I going to get along with the girls?' — but every single girl is amazing and rooting for me,” van Staden said. “I felt at home from the first day that I was with the team, and I think everybody on the team is so close that it’s not a big deal that I'm an international player."

Given the positive experience Penn's current international players are having on the team, the global cohort is only set to grow in the future.

The Daily Pennsylvanian

Scotland women nominated for Team of the Year at sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards

Scottish Hockey is delighted that the Scotland Women’s National Hockey Team has been shortlisted for Team of the Year at the Sunday Mail and sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards. The prestigious awards will be held in Glasgow on 5 December.

The recognition is fantastic for the sport and follows the team’s recent success at the Scottish Women in Sport Awards (SWIS) 2019 where they won Team of the Year.

It has been a phenomenal year for the Scotland women’s team; they won Women’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow in emphatic fashion securing promotion to the top division of European hockey. The Scots won every game at the tournament in front of a passionate home crowd and lifted the trophy after an excellent 2-1 victory over Italy in the final.

It was also a year in which the team beat World Cup silver medallists Ireland in Stormont as part of preparations for the Euros. There are also three athletes competing in the Great Britain women’s squad: Sarah Robertson, Amy Costello and Charlotte Watson showing the level of talent within the squad.

Scottish Hockey CEO David Sweetman said, “This is great news for hockey in Scotland and I’m absolutely delighted to see the Scotland women’s team recognised in what has been a fantastic year for the sport. Women’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow was a tremendous tournament and the success of the Scotland women’s squad and Jen Wilson is an inspirational story.

“This is an exciting time for hockey as the sport grows across Scotland. The future is bright for hockey and I’d like to congratulate the Scotland women’s squad on this well-deserved recognition.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

No one in Shamala's way

By Jugjet Singh

Datuk S. Shamala

DATUK S. Shamala may not be popular on social media, but she is well-received in the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).

She is so popular that no one wants to stand against her in the elections on Nov 16.

Shamala retained her deputy president’s post when her sole challenger, K. Maheswari, sent a letter on Sunday to officially withdraw her nomination for the MHC elections.

Shamala earlier became the target of netizens when she made a U-turn on her announcement that she would not seek re-election if the national team failed to qualify (and they did fail) for the Tokyo Olympics.

Four other nominees have also officially withdrawn from the MHC vice-presidents’ race.

They are Datuk Manjit Majid Abdullah, Datuk Ow Soon Kooi, Lum Sau Foong and Datuk Che Khalib Noh.

This brought an end to the challenge from six candidates, including S. Sathis Kumar.

So, with the president's post earlier secured by incumbent Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal and now the deputy president’s post (women) retained by Shamala, the contest for the men’s deputy president's post will be the only major one at the elections.

This will see MHC Legal chairman Jadadish Chandra up against Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) president Datuk Seri Megat D. Shahriman

The 16 affiliates of MHC, 14 states and two from Armed Forces and Police, will each have two votes to pick their candidates.

“I have sent the official withdrawal form to MHC and the rest of us who had pledged to pull out during a recent press conference have also done so,” said Manjit.

Manjit, a long serving MHC veep, however will still be involved with hockey as he is the deputy-president of Johor HA and vice-president of the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).

Even with the latest developments, there might one last twist before the delegates go to ballot.

Megat, the newly-elected Kuala Lumpur HA president, has found himself entangled in a constitutional issue.

This is because under the KLHA constitution, all principal office bearers of the elected council of lKuala Lumpur HA shall not concurrently hold any position as principal office bearer in Malaysian Hockey Federation (now Confederation) council.'

Now Megat has an option to either not stand for election and concentrate on KLHA alone, or battle Jadadish and if he wins, he can relinquish his KLHA post.

New Straits Times

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