All the news for Friday 22 November 2019
2020 squad announced for evolving Hockeyroos
Karri Somerville from the Perth Thundersticks is the new face in the squad
The return of some familiar faces and the inclusion of two rising stars highlight the announcement of the 2020 Hockeyroos squad.
The new additions include capped Hockeyroos Laura Barden, Kate Jenner and Gabi Nance, young gun Amy Lawton who has been elevated to a permanent spot in the 27-player squad, while uncapped 20 year old Karri Somerville has received her first senior call up. All except for Barden were members of this year’s National Development squad.
The squad selected by Head Coach Paul Gaudoin was based on a range of factors underpinned by having personnel who will provide the Hockeyroos with the best chance of success in what is a huge year, beginning with the FIH Pro League in late January and leading into Tokyo 2020 in late July.
“Whether it has been VAA (Visiting Athlete Agreement) opportunities, performances in the DTE (Daily Training Environment) and in international matches, form in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League, as well as the history of some of the girls, all of these factors have been taken into account,” said Gaudoin.
“It’s a very balanced squad. We’ve included some experience and some quality…of course it’s disappointing to lose girls out of the squad but it’s a part of evolving the Hockeyroos.
“I think the notable thing about seeing players who have come back into the squad after being part of the Hockeyroos before is that you can come back in, learn and develop and still get an opportunity.
“Certainly the efforts of Laura, Gabi and Kate have proven that if you work hard enough and you’re consistent in your desires and training programs, you can get that opportunity.
“Performance on the field is extremely important, as is performance off the field, and we need girls who are going to set the standards high in how they go about it on and off the field, and I’m confident the five girls who have been added will do an excellent job of that.”
Barden, Jenner and Nance combined have made over 230 appearances for the Hockeyroos, the latter two having both competed at an Olympic Games.
Jenner most recently played every match for the Hockeyroos at the Tokyo Test Event back in August, while she also featured in FIH Pro League matches against USA and Argentina.
Barden’s last Hockeyroos appearance came against Spain in January 2018, while Nance last wore the green and gold in Australia’s 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign.
The trio impressed during the Sultana Bran Hockey One League and Gaudoin says they each deserve their spots in the squad.
“Laura was a constant in HC Melbourne’s midfield during the Hockey One League and to be part of a team that finished on top of the ladder at the end of the regular season, she has shown she can be a consistent performer and a consistent contributor,” said Gaudoin.
“She’s got good ball skills, she sees the game really well, she has got great aerobic capacity and she has shown to be a very good team person.”
After spending a season playing in The Netherlands, Nance returned to play for the Adelaide Fire in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League.
“Gabi certainly showed an interest in coming back and getting involved and that hasn’t just happened overnight,” said Gaudoin.
“We’ve been in contact and she has shown an eagerness to get back into the squad through her commitment to her training programs with the South Australian Sports Institute.
“She’s also been playing in Europe in the top club league in the world and that certainly hasn’t hurt her…it has helped her develop her game.
“She’s a quick forward who’s extremely fit and has had experience at the Olympic Games before, so it’s pleasing to see her back.”
“Kate has performed well for the national team when called upon,” said Gaudoin on Jenner.
“She came into the development squad last year after a very good Australian Hockey League campaign. She was really keen and has reignited her passion for the game.
“She had some opportunities in Perth with our program and showed that she can still cut it at this level. We took her away and she was able to play in some matches for us in America and Argentina where she performed really well and also in Tokyo.
Victorian 17 year old Lawton made her Hockeyroos debut in the Pro League against New Zealand, played in the Tokyo Test Event and since then has not looked back having been part of the Hockeyroos team for the Oceania Cup and recent Olympic qualifying series win over Russia.
“Amy is a quality player and has come into our group seamlessly and has performed extremely well when she’s played for Australia,” said Gaudoin.
“She has backed up the form that she’s shown in training and in VAA opportunities and it’s pleasing to have her in the squad.”
Somerville’s rise comes off the back of an impressive Sultana Bran Hockey One season with the Perth Thundersticks, her performances doing more than enough to capture the eyes of the national selectors.
“Karri had an excellent Hockey One season. She played at half back and was very dynamic getting up and back down the pitch,” said Gaudoin.
“She’s a tall, mobile defender who is pretty quick off the mark and having someone with a bit of speed in our defensive group is going to be handy.
“She’s also got a developing drag flick and it’s pleasing to see that you can go from being a youthful player to a more experienced player and have the opportunity to come into the squad.”
While the players that made the squad will be delighted with their selections to put themselves in Olympic contention, Gaudoin reinforced the importance of every individual buying into the process and the cause from the outset.
“The coaching staff and the players know the work is in front of us and that this is just the beginning. Whilst it’s great to be in the squad, the work starts now,” said Gaudoin.
“We’ve got an induction in early December which is where we will set the scene for what will be an exciting year and one that will be filled with hard work, dedication and also some blood, sweat and tears in order to achieve our goals at the end of it.”
The Hockeyroos’ next official international is on 25 January 2020 in Sydney against Belgium in their opening match of the FIH Pro League 2020. Tickets are available through Ticketek.
Hockeyroos 2020 squad
Name, Date of Birth, Hometown, Hockey One Team, Caps (Goals)
Laura Barden, 9/06/1994, Kew VIC , HC Melbourne, 42 (5)
Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 4/05/1993, Albury NSW, NSW Pride, 48 (0)
Edwina Bone, 24/04/1988, Orange NSW, Canberra Chill, 197 (4)
Lily Brazel, 26/01/1995, Sydney NSW, HC Melbourne, 50 (1)
Emily Chalker, 28/07/1992, Crookwell NSW, NSW Pride, 235 (82)
Jane Claxton, 26/10/1992, Adelaide SA, Adelaide Fire, 177 (18)
Kalindi Commerford, 18/11/1994, Ulladulla ACT, Canberra Chill, 45 (7)
Madison Fitzpatrick, 14/12/1996, Cabarita Beach QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 74 (16)
Greta Hayes, 17/10/1996, Sydney NSW, NSW Pride, 6 (0)
Kate Jenner, 5/05/1990, Mudgee NSW, NSW Pride, 122 (1)
Jodie Kenny, 18/08/1987, Wamuran QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 229 (111)
Stephanie Kershaw, 19/04/1995, Townsville QLD, -, 59 (6)
Amy Lawton, 19/01/2002, Emerald VIC, HC Melbourne, 10 (3)
Rachael Lynch (GK), 2/07/1986, Warrandyte VIC, HC Melbourne, 220 (0)
Rosie Malone, 8/01/1998, Burleigh QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 46 (10)
Karri McMahon, 27/02/1992, Berri SA, Adelaide Fire, 147 (10)
Georgina Morgan, 15/05/1993, Armidale NSW, NSW Pride, 93 (18)
Gabi Nance, 29/07/1994, Kingscliff NSW, Adelaide Fire, 70 (7)
Kaitlin Nobbs, 24/09/1997, Newington NSW, NSW Pride, 76 (4)
Brooke Peris, 16/01/1993, Darwin NT, Canberra Chill, 167 (26)
Karri Somerville, 7/04/1999, Kensington WA, Perth Thundersticks, -
Grace Stewart, 24/04/1997, Gerringong NSW, NSW Pride, 81 (24)
Renee Taylor, 28/09/1996, Everton Park QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 77 (8)
Sophie Taylor, 12/09/1995, Melbourne VIC, HC Melbourne, 31 (1)
Ashlee Wells (GK), 1/08/1989, Morwell VIC, Adelaide Fire, 119 (0)
Mariah Williams, 31/05/1995, Parkes NSW, NSW Fire, 81 (15)
Georgia Wilson, 20/05/1996, Mahogany Creek WA, Perth Thundersticks, 33 (0)
Hockey Australia media release
There’s hope, hype and pressure
India’s men’s and women’s hockey teams have qualified for the 2020 Olympics, but they will need to do more to have a realistic chance of winning a medal.
Indian women's hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne and captain Rani Rampal. So far, the women haven’t really felt the pressure of public expectations. - PTI
Sjoerd Marijne and Graham Reid are as similar as chalk and cheese but the recent Olympic Qualifiers found them on the same side in terms of the result, way ahead for the next 10 months and what they seek at the end of that period. But there is so much that is different between the Dutchman and the Australian that it could well be a study in contrast — as much in where they have come from as in where they would go from here.
Handling the Indian women’s and men’s hockey teams respectively, they know, is one of the toughest jobs in world sports. The challenges, though, are completely different. And, in the next 10 months, they would know how far they have been able to live up to the hope, hype and pressures of the same.
In and out of the spotlight
Being always in the spotlight can be a double-edged weapon. Some thrive in the attention, others wither away. But that would be a simplistic breakdown, specially in team sports where the team dynamics make it — like in the Indian hockey teams — far more complex.
In a country that never tires of ‘eight Olympic golds’ in the sport, the men have always had a disproportionate share of the limelight. The players are stars, both on and off the field. Most of them love a good life, which is not a crime, but a lot of young talents have also been lost to the fame. Harjeet Singh, the captain of the Junior World Cup winning side who also had a movie made on his life, is nowhere now, as are several of his teammates. There is a history that they are constantly compared to, even though the last flare of that history was in 1980.
Most importantly, the contradictory Indian societal structure — that doesn’t believe in delegating responsibility to the players all through their growing years only to be quick with blaming them for failure — has meant that the Indian team, despite everything, remains a coach-oriented side. That is unlikely to change soon but unless the players become equal stakeholders in the entire process, it would be difficult to break the Olympics jinx.
As a unit, though, the Indian women seem to be able to hunker down to the job far better than the men in the shadows. That is not to say they do not need recognition or appreciation. If anything, their progress over the past couple of years merits far more attention than they have received. But so far, the women haven’t really felt the pressure of public expectations.
Their recent successes — winning the Asia Cup in 2017, runner-up at the Asian Games, a respectable eighth finish at the World Cup, victory at the FIH Series Finals against Asiad winner Japan and the dramatic win on aggregate in the Olympic Qualifier — have all come when the collective focus was on the men. That is expected to change here on.
Indian men's hockey team chief coach Graham Reid and captain Manpreet Singh. Reid has pointed out his unhappiness at India’s sluggish start, low energy and jittery in high pressure situations. - PTI
“You want to be there (at the Olympics) because as a team we believe we can do better than the previous Olympics, but you have to be there to prove that. Our dream would be to do really well at the Olympics and get a medal. It is back to the drawing board, step one is over but there is a lot that needs to be done now to achieve that,” Marijne said. That the women have gone from 12th in the world when he took over to ninth now — three places that is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds — in the same time that the men have managed to jump from sixth to only fifth — reflects the growth. At the Asiad last year, when the men were favourite to win but were stunned to end with just a bronze, the women went a step ahead and narrowly missed on the gold. That, perhaps, was the first time people actually began taking them as seriously as the men and as medal prospects. The glut of lifestyle pieces on Rani and others only added to the visibility.
It’s to Marijne’s credit, with support from the rest of the staff including scientific advisor Wayne Lombard, that the girls have not lost their focus in the glare of this sudden adulation. It is interesting to note that the same ‘take responsibility on field’ philosophy — Marijne attempted it with the men when the coaches were swapped for a brief while in 2017-18 and it backfired — has worked wonders with the women. The responsibility only becomes bigger now.
Indian women and men's hockey teams jointly pose for a group photograph at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. - PTI
Camps cannot replace actual match time
Since 2017, the Indian men have participated in 16 competitions and have had nine tours for test series. Many of them including big-ticket events like the World Cup and the World League Finals have been played in front of adoring, packed home crowds. In the same period, the women have had nine competitions and as many tours. These include regulars like the Commonwealth and Asian Games and Asia Cup. The Olympic Qualifier was the first time most members of the Indian side played at home.
Long training camps, regardless of its intensity, can almost never replace actual competition and matches. Even with the decent competitive outing the men have struggled this year after Hockey India pulled the plug on India’s participation in the inaugural Pro League, deprived of top-quality competition and the rust clearly showed. With Pakistan pulling out, India was handed an invite back into the fold and that has assured the team of quality game time against top-tier opposition in the first six months of 2020 ahead of the Olympics, something Reid admits he is grateful for.
That is a luxury Marijne doesn’t have. In fact, Hockey India is yet to work out a competition schedule for them between now and July 2020, when the Tokyo Games kick off. Even otherwise, the women have traditionally struggled for enough top-level exposure. This year the team toured Malaysia and Great Britain before and after the FIH World Series. Next year, with the Pro League ending just weeks before the Olympics, the team will be starved.
Work on the basics
Apart from all the competition, exposure and mental toughness — or disintegration — that the teams have been through and would be doing more of in the coming months, it ultimately comes down to getting the basics right on the field for those 60 minutes, match after match at the Olympics. But that is purely a matter of working on it on a loop. Repetition is boring but necessary to drill actions into the subconscious. It also needs a balance between mind and muscle to do that.
Reid has pointed out his unhappiness at India’s sluggish start, low energy and jittery in high pressure situations. But India is notorious in finish as well, on both ends of the field. ‘We are creating chances, now we need to finish them’ and ‘we need to remember that the game isn’t over till the final second’ are cliches that we have been hearing about the team for ages. In several sets of Olympic Qualifiers, matches have turned around in the final couple of seconds. India itself paid the price against Pakistan at the 2018 CWG with the equaliser coming at the stroke of time. Every coach — Indian, Australian, Dutch — has been frustrated by these. Hopefully, Reid can do what the others couldn’t.
For the women, the biggest challenge would be to keep doing what they have been doing for the past two years, improving on strength and staying focused and more importantly, not lose anyone from the staff after analytical coach Eric Wonink, demoted to the juniors. Marijne, Lombard, Wonink and Robin Arkell have done wonders for this side.
Also, all those competitions and tours saw the Indian men testing new players on every outing, oscillating between going young and falling back on experience. In contrast, the women’s team has been largely stable through it all with the core group of 20-22 being almost the same. The co-ordination and comfort level shows and by now, both Reid and Marijne should have their final 24 pencilled in and not experiment too much.
Plennevaux keeps Leopold firing in Belgium
Max Plennevaux’s final minute winner saw Royal Leopold close the gap on La Gantoise at the top of Group A in the Belgian league as they beat Beerschot 2-1.
Tom Boon fired the last remaining EHL side standing from Belgium into the lead with an 11th minute penalty corner against the Bees.
But Max Capelle equalised just before half-time at the near post for 1-1 and it looked like staying that way for a long time as Boon spent 10 minutes int the sin-bin and Arthur Verdussen’s corner shot was repelled.
Leo looked to be heading to a draw but they finished with a flurry, winning a couple of corners, one of which Plennevaux slid onto to score the decisive goal.
The result lifts them to 16 points, one behind La Gantoise who were held to a 1-1 draw by KHC Leuven in their game.
Oree are third thanks to their 1-1 draw with Racing Club de Bruxelles, Alexis Cayphas and Agustin Meurmans sharing the goals. Dragons are fourth in this section courtesy of a 3-1 win at Herakles, Shane O’Donoghue, Henri Raes and Florent van Aubel making the difference.
Waterloo Ducks lead the way in Group B after they hammered winless Namur 12-2, moving above Beerschot with Racing. Leuven’s draw with La Gantoise puts them in fourth and just inside the playoff places.
Euro Hockey League media release
Den Bosch and Bloemendaal top the table in the Netherlands
Den Bosch took the lead at the top of the women’s Hoofdklasse in the Netherlands as they cruised to a 7-0 win over HGC last Sunday.
Frédérique Matla opened the scoring as they ran up a 3-0 lead inside the first eight minutes with Noor Omrani adding goals two and three. Matla went on to score a hat trick with further goals from Sanne Koolen and Lieke Hulsen making for their final total.
The result allowed Den Bosch to overtake SCHC at the head of the table after the Bilthoven side were held to a 1-1 draw by SV Kampong where Malou Pheninckx and Yibbi Jansen exchanged goals.
Second half penalty corner goals from Felice Albers and Michelle Fillet allowed AH&BC Amsterdam to defeat Pinoke to remain in third place. A Marlena Rybacha goal with two minutes to go gave Oranje-Rood a 2-1 victory against Victoria which put them back into the top four.
In the men’s competition, Bloemendaal ended the double-weekend at the head of the table with their three-point lead in tact. It could have been even better as they led nearest rivals Rotterdam with 12 minutes to go courtesy of Yannick van der Drift.
But a final minute penalty corner from Kane Russell saw Rotterdam equalize and take a 1-1 draw.
Den Bosch stay in third place thanks to a strong 3-1 win over Pinoke, coming back from a goal down thanks to efforts from Austin Smith, Tijmen Reijenga and Jelle Galema.
HGC bounced back from a 7-1 Saturday hammering at the hands of Amsterdam to beat Almere 5-1 with Siem Schoenaker scoring twice, maintaining their fourth place in the division.
Amsterdam lost 1-0 to Tilburg while Oranje-Rood saw off SV Kampong 3-1, leaving both of them outside the playoff places.
Euro Hockey League media release
Munster mission is to grow hockey based on Ireland’s success
By Stephen Findlater
Michael Houghton says he has hit upon a framework that will play a key role in building a long-lasting dividend from Irish hockey’s recent successes.
He has created a platform for five new clubs in north Munster in the past 12 months with Castletroy, Ennis, Thurles, Nenagh, and Tralee all set to host junior sections.
The basis for the first club came following a stint as Limerick Hockey Club chairman where waiting lists were in place due to limited pitch time and coaches.
It was something he felt had to be changed.
There was huge demand and no reason for it. I checked with Limerick Hockey Club if they were ok [to form a club based at UL] with it. I just put it out there and it quickly took off.
Castletroy had its genesis last December and affiliated with Hockey Ireland three months ago. It now has 100 male and female members taking part in Munster underage competitions this season from Under-9 up to Under-12 level.
While that has been a big success, Houghton — a tech entrepreneur by trade — had his interest piqued when Hockey Ireland development officer Phil Oakley mentioned a decade-long desire to form a first club in Clare, asking “can I have a crack at it?”.
He booked pitch time on St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield’s astroturf and, within five weeks, has 40 regular Ennis members and a crew of volunteer coaches.
It follows a template at Kinsale under the stewardship of Kieran Harte, father of Irish internationals Conor, David and Emer and something emulated at Baltimore in 2017. Traditionally, not having a full-size pitch was a limiting factor but, now, new clubs are finding alternative options to make hockey available.
“Growing up in New Zealand, we were never brought up on a [full] pitch. We did hockey in school halls or a tennis court or wherever. We utilised as much alternative pitch space as possible.
Matches do need to be on a full pitch but, for the juniors, they are playing blitzes at different venues and they are used to travelling so that is not a major barrier.
Houghton says there is already a demand for extra pitch time in Ennis while he anticipates big numbers at Nenagh College for open days in January.
He launched Nenagh’s sign-up site on Tuesday and already has close to 50 people registering interest, with several former players offering services as potential coaches with Hockey Ireland set to run introductory coaching courses.
It rides fast on the coat-tails of the Irish women’s World Cup silver medal and Olympic qualification.
“When the Olympic result came in, I immediately thought ‘that’s one more hockey club!’.
“You see the thrill from the kids when Roisin Upton ‘liked’ some of the Castletroy pictures [on Facebook].
“But these clubs aren’t forming because we are doing something particularly special. Kids are just getting hold of it and, and once they have somewhere to play, it gets shared in the WhatsApp groups and it suddenly takes off.
Loads of them have a good part of the skillset from hurling so it can be an easy game to transfer. It has those elements but without the contact and having to wear a helmet.
This latest bunch of new clubs increases the total number to 24 in Munster, up from 13 in 2010. The majority cater primarily for youth members with girls’ numbers doubling in that time.
The next mission for the province, like many sports, is to translate that into more adult players where numbers have been stagnant.
On the field this Saturday, Cork Harlequins host Pembroke (1.05pm) at Farmers’ Cross while Catholic Institute face Old Alex at Rosbrien (1pm) in the EY Hockey League.
Clubs must make the most of availability of Irish stars
Champions Pegasus hope to have their international Shirley McCay available for their trip to Loreto
Ayeisha McFerran makes a save for Ireland in the crucial penalty shoot-out that sent Ireland to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. McFerran is the only Ireland player currently playing abroad. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
With just one of the 18 players selected for the Olympic qualifying games against Canada earlier this month now playing their hockey beyond these shores, namely goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran who is with Dutch club Kampong this season, it has become considerably easier for national coach Sean Dancer and his staff to monitor the form of the Irish squad in the build-up to Tokyo.
Deirdre Duke and Nikki Evans are the latest to return home after their spells in Germany.
The pair have both joined Old Alexandra, giving the Dublin club’s Hockey League prospects a major boost although, as with all members of the Irish squad, it remains to be seen how much their availability to their clubs this season will be impacted by their international duties.
While Ireland’s full pre-Olympic schedule has yet to be confirmed, January’s trip to South Africa coincides with the Hockey League’s winter break. But a March visit to Malaysia is, depending on the precise dates, likely to result in clubs having to make do without their Irish players.
They will, then, have to make the most of their services for now, with Loreto and Belfast Harlequins the clubs with the highest representation in the squad that took on Canada, each contributing three players.
Harlequins, who take on UCD on Saturday, have the Barr twins, Bethany and Serena, back in action, but are still without the recently married Lizzie Colvin.
Pegasus hope to have their sole current international Shirley McCay available for their trip to Loreto, although the reigning champions have hardly struggled in her absence, winning the first three games of their campaign. Loreto’s start has been of the more mixed variety with a win, a draw and a loss so far.
Having taken six points from a possible nine, Pembroke Wanderers and Alexandra share second spot in the table but face testing away trips to Munster on Saturday, Pembroke playing Cork Harlequins and Alexandra facing a Catholic Institute who have impressed so far in their debut Hockey League season. they came away from Belfast Harlequins last Sunday with a win.
Muckross, meanwhile, will be looking for their first victory of the campaign when they host Railway Union.
Hockey League – Saturday: Catholic Institute v Old Alexandra, Rosbrien, 1.0; Cork Harlequins v Pembroke Wanderers, Farmers Cross, 1.05; Loreto v Pegasus, Beaufort, 2.45; Muckross v Railway Union, Muckross Park, 3.15; Belfast Harlequins v UCD, Deramore Park, 4.0.
The Irish Times
Squads announced for Scottish Hockey Super Series 2019
The squads have been announced for Super Series 2019 to be held at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Friday 29 November; Saturday 30 November; and Sunday 1 December.
Edinburgh Lightning; Glasgow Thunder and Dundee Devils will compete over the weekend in the exciting best-v-best tournament with Scotland’s top players taking to the pitch.
2019 will see the first ever men’s Super Series competition and follows from last year’s inaugural women’s Super Series that saw Edinburgh Lightning come out on top.
The teams are based roughly on geographical allegiances, with flexibility built in to ensure the best players are playing, and the players are all nominated by club coaches and a selection panel.
Some squads have more than 18 players listed, this is because some players can only play on one of the days due to playing in leagues out with Scotland that are still active.
The series has been designed to bridge the gap between club and international hockey with Scotland’s best hockey players staking a claim for a place in the Scotland setup.
Three new players were added to the Scotland women’s squad following last year’s inaugural tournament: Louise Campbell; McKenzie Bell; and Jess Buchanan.
Dundee Devils women
Iona Colquhoun Dundee Wanderers
Amber Murray Grove Menzieshill
Nicky Cochrane (GK) Beeston
Aspen Cumming Dundee Wanderers
Ellie Wilson Dundee Wanderers
Emily Dark Dundee Wanderers
Jess Ross Dundee Wanderers
Katie Stott Grove Menzieshill
Kerry Anne Hastings Durham
Becky Ward Western Wildcats
Bex Condie Gloucester
Fiona Semple Wimbledon
Lucy Williamson Dundee Wanderers
Nicki Skrastin Sevenoaks
Fiona Burnet Wimbledon
Heather Howie Dundee Wanderers
Rachael Mack Leicester
Tara Aitchison Beeston
Kirsten Cannon Edinburgh University
Jenny Walls Edinburgh University
Bella Fiskin Watsonians
Lucy Smith Grove Menzieshill
Head Coach: Vikki Bunce.
Dundee Devils men
Steven McIlravey Grove Menzieshill
Douglas Gourlay Grange
Aidan McQuade Grove Menzieshill
Jamie Golden Grove Menzieshill
Albert Rowling Grove Menzieshill
Ben Cosgrove Grove Menzieshill
Elliot Sandison Dundee Wanderers
Luke Cranney Grove Menzieshill
Ben Pearson Edinburgh University
John Stephen Inverleith
Keir Robb Grove Menzieshill
Hamish Galt Western Wildcats
Joe Waterston Grange
James Nairn Grange
Alan Johnston Grange
Sam Knight Grove Menzieshill
Fraser Moran Western Wildcats
Jake Inglis Inverleith
Alex Wilson Inverleith
Head Coach: Neil Allan
Glasgow Thunder women
Jess Buchanan Clydesdale Western
Rachel Strachan Glasgow University
Catriona Booth Western Wildcats
Claire Wallace Sevenoaks
Fran Lonergan Clydesdale Western
Karin Belch Clydesdale Western
Laura McCabe Glasgow University
Bronwyn Shields Clydesdale Western
Carla McNiven Hillhead
Jen Eadie Clydesdale Western
Kate Holmes Western Wildcats
Millie Steiger Clydesdale Western
Rachel Osborne Hillhead
Georgia Smith Glasgow University
Heather Lang Clydesdale Western
Heather McEwan Holcombe
Lexi Sabatelli Clydesdale Western
McKenzie Bell Western Wildcats
Rachel Bain Western Wildcats
Coaches: Kaz Cuthbert and Susan McGilveray
Glasgow Thunder men
Martin Rose Inverleith
Gavin Somerville Western Wildcats
Callum Duke Hillhead
Rob Harwood Western Wildcats
Joe McConnell Western Wildcats
Andrew McConnell Western Wildcats
David Nairn Clydesdale
AJ Lochrin Uddingston
Struan Walker Clydesdale
Owen Jenkins Garcia Western Wildcats
Andrew McAllister Western Wildcats
Gordon Amour Clydesdale
Andrew Allan Clydesdale
Graeme Campbell Hillhead
Matthew Macintyre Hillhead
Connor Evans Uddingston
Head Coach: Mick Evans
Edinburgh Lightning women
Erin Gilchrist Edinburgh University
Lucy Camlin Watsonians
Becky Mill Edinburgh University
Beth Dodds Watsonians
Anna Logan Clydesdale Western
Margery Justice Edinburgh University
Morven Cawthorn Watsonians
Bethan Mann Watsonians
Eve Pearson Edinburgh University
Katie Roberston Edinburgh University
Laura Swanson Edinburgh University
Lorna Cruickshank Holcombe
Louise Campbell Edinburgh University
Mairi Drummond Beeston
Georgia Jones Edinburgh University
Hanna McKie Edinburgh University
Heather Tait Watsonians
Lucy Lanigan Watsonians
Lunjika Nyirenda Edinburgh University
Sarah Jamieson Watsonians
Head Coach: Chris Duncan.
Edinburgh Lightning men
Matt Taylor Inverleith
Luke Campbell Watsonians
Duncan Riddell Grange
Robbie Shepherdson Grange
Dan Coultas Grange
Jack Jamieson Edinburgh University
Robbie Croll Edinburgh University
Jacob Tweedie Grange
Michael McKenzie Grange
Ritchie McCluskey Edinburgh University
John McCluskey Grange
Hamish Imrie Royal Antwerp
David Mawhinney Edinburgh University
Josh McRae Grange
Danny Cain Watsonians
Clemens Rusnjak Grange
Euan Burgess Watsonians
Jamie Croll Grange
Matthew Hughson Grange
Head Coach: David Knipe
Scottish Hockey Union media release
North Carolina rides record win streak into 2019 NCAA field hockey final four
Vicki L. Friedman
Sophomore Erin Matson, who leads the country with 1.50 goals per game and ranks third overall in total goals (27), has never lost a game since becoming a Tar Heel. UNC Athletic Communications
North Carolina's field hockey team almost lost at Michigan in the season opener but scored three second-half goals to prevail.
The next game, Tar Heels needed to pull the goalie against Iowa. UNC won 2-1.
Next up against fifth-ranked Princeton, the Tar Heels trailed 3-1 in the final quarter. Fifth-year senior Marissa Creatore collected her teammates. "We looked at each other and said, 'We're not losing on our home field.'"
Three goals in the final 5:01 did more than lift North Carolina to a 3-0 start. It confirmed what this team was capable of during a season that coach Karen Shelton initially termed a rebuilding one. Six seniors graduated from the team that won the program's seventh national championship in 2018.
"There was a lot of uncertainty," Shelton said.
"They bring their notebooks in and we give them the scouting report. Instead of just hearing us speak, they're a bit more engaged and it's a little more thorough."
UNC coach coach Karen Shelton
Yet here North Carolina sits again, the No. 1 overall seed in its 11th straight final four alongside Virginia, Boston College and the Princeton team that nearly interrupted a winning streak for the ages.
"Gritty, tough, resilient," Shelton said about her Tar Heels, who have set school and conference records by winning their last 44 games. "I like this group an awful lot. They find a way to win the game."
The Tar Heels are 4-0 this season against teams still alive in field hockey's final weekend. North Carolina (21-0) will meet Boston College (15-7) on Friday at 1 p.m. in the first national semifinal at Wake Forest's Kentner Stadium in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The rematch of the ACC title game will be contested a little more than an hour from the UNC campus.
Princeton will meet Virginia in the second semifinal at 3:45 p.m. Sunday's national title game is set for 1 p.m.
A victory would tie North Carolina with Maryland with eight NCAA field hockey titles apiece. Old Dominion's nine titles remain the standard.
Last year's Tar Heels halted a frustrating run of eight years of UNC reaching the final four only to fall short. That ended thanks to Ashley Hoffman, the reigning national player of the year who helped UNC beat Maryland 2-0 in the title game.
As much as Creatore savored the championship, she saw this new season as a new chapter.
The Tar Heels, thanks to goalie Amanda Hendry, have outscored their opponents 80-20 this season. UNC Athletic Communications
"Coming off the high last year, it felt like, Oh, no. We're not going to be as good.' We lost players, had new people and injuries," she said. "From the beginning, we said to ourselves, 'We don't want to be last year's team. We're a new team.' We didn't want that pressure."
The focus-on-the-next game mentality the Tar Heels adopted forced them not to talk about a winning streak that dates back to the final four two years ago. UNC last lost in the 2017 national semifinals against UConn.
Watching that game online was sad for Erin Matson, who committed to UNC when she was a sophomore in high school. But she's never had that feeling in uniform. The sophomore who wears No. 1 and leads the NCAA in goals and assists per game has never lost as a Tar Heel.
Her improvement from last season to this one -- which includes recent Team USA experience from playing an Olympic qualifier in India -- is among the reasons why UNC ranks as the top offensive team in the nation.
"She draws a crowd," Shelton said. "The fact that she's so good and so threatening opens other people up because she can pass so well."
If anything was suspect in preseason, it was the Carolina defense. Graduation took a toll on the back line. When Cassie Sumfest suffered a knee injury last spring, that meant no returnees had significant experience on defense.
Shelton, among the coaching deans in this sport, relied on an old-school method to resonate with her players. The stadium that carries her name on campus is home to a theater-like classroom that serves as the team meeting room -- a state-of-the-art space with WiFi among the amenities. Despite this generation's comfort with typing reminders into their smartphones, she handed out three-ringed binders.
Every player has one with her name on it. The Tar Heels don't type. They write with pencils and pens. "Studies show they are more apt to remember things that they actually write them down," Shelton said. "They bring their notebooks in and we give them the scouting report. Instead of just hearing us speak, they're a bit more engaged and it's a little more thorough."
Initially, there was plenty to keep track of, particularly for the defensive newcomers. Madison Orobono and Romea Riccardo didn't see the field last year. Orobono is a true freshman; Riccardo is a redshirt freshmen. Both have started every game in 2019.
Up front, Chapel Hill's own Creatore or Catherine Hayden, neither of whom is on athletic scholarship, embraced the leadership void left by the departure of so many upperclassmen.
"What they've done is remarkable," Shelton said. "They're the ones who are the first in and the last out. They've put in extra time to get to where they are today."
The Tar Heels' strength as a unit, Creatore said, goes beyond their technical skill. They connect as much off the pitch as they do on. The players reside in a clump of four houses and pass through each other's doors without knocking. Movie marathons are a hit on Sunday nights. The Tar Heels recently finished off the Harry Potter flicks in time to move on to Christmas favorites, including "Elf" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
"It's a good balance of field hockey and time away with friends, not labeling everyone as teammates. They're friends," Matson said. "That definitely correlates to being successful on the field."
Creatore's house hosts face masks -- the exfoliating kind -- at least three times a week.
"We are very into skincare, nails and eyebrows," Matson said.
These Tar Heels love each other's pooches, too. Ellen Payne's French bulldog, Franklin, named for the famed street in town, is a cuddle bug. Courtnie Williams' Pomeranian/Husky mix, Lana, gets plenty of attention, too.
"We enjoy our pets for sure," Matson said.
And the winning, well, that's the icing, too. Reaching the final four is expected for a program making its 24th appearance on this last weekend. Leaving with the big trophy is an annual goal, but Creatore is among those who remembers that feeling of falling shy in penalty strokes against UConn when she was a sophomore.
"We all came together after that loss and looked at each other, tears in our eyes, and said, 'We're never losing again,'" she said. "We still have people on our team talking about the shootout that they missed or our goalie talking about saving that one shot. I think it's so special that that is still, to this day, so ingrained in us."
What's made an even bigger impression: what it feels like to win. The UNC and ACC win streak milestones "got us excited to ask, 'What else can we break? What else can we do?'" Creatore said.
A second consecutive NCAA title, perhaps?
It'll come down to this weekend.
ESPN College Sports
Seven Dar Academy Boys on Podium at Pakistan's National Games
By Ijaz Chaudhry
Khalid Bhatti & Ali Aziz with their Gold Medals
Pakistan's 33rd National Games recently concluded in Peshawar. Competition was held in 34 sports.
In the Men's hockey final, WAPDA defeated Army 4-3 in a thriller to win the gold.
The victorious WAPDA team included four players from Dar Hockey Academy, Pakistan's biggest hockey nursery: Khalid Bhatti, Ali Aziz, Sikander Mustafa & goal keeper Waqar Younis.
In the bronze medal match, Punjab defeated host Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 4-1
The Punjab team had the services of three Dar HA boys in M.Adnan, Aamir Ali & Awais Arshad. Full back Adnan scored two goals (penalty corner & penalty stroke)
in the bronze medal game.
Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey & other sports. For more about him and his work, visit: www.sportscorrespondent.info