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Feb. 10. 2016 — When the past meets the present

This week in Chula Vista, Calif., the U.S. women’s national field hockey team is playing a four-Test series against Canada in preparation for a busy summer. The Applebees will set sail for London for the 2016 Champions Trophy in the early summer, then make the turn south for the Rio Olympics in August.

Thus far, the U.S. team has swept its first two Tests by scores of 8-1 and 5-0. The tourists have not offered the stiffest of challenges to the two-time defending Pan American Games gold-medalists, but the Americans have simply been a better outfit — or simply more hungry from having undergone grueling full-time training for several months.

The U.S. side has gotten goals from 11 different players during this series; two each from Lauren Crandall and Katie (O’Donnell) Bam lead the way. One could say it’s an encouraging sign because opponents can’t try to shut off a single dangerous player.

Bam and Crandall are two London veterans who are going to be asked to do a lot for the side in the next few months. They are two of five U.S. players (Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski, and Michelle Kasold are the others) to have more than 200 caps. There is experience up and down the field, including the goal cage. But I find it interesting that the current roster has not changed very much even after an invitational camp held last month in Lancaster, Pa. to find players who could join up with the senior pool.

As it turns out, the six players cited on a USA Field Hockey press release last month were slated to join the squad after the Olympics. This includes current roster player Casey Di Nardo out of UNC, as well as James Madison’s Taylor West, Maryland seniors Anna Dessoye and Alyssa Parker, Penn State’s Amanda Dinunzio, and Syracuse goalkeeper Jess Jecko, who has had some tremendous games the last several years in the NCAA Tournament, including a win in last fall’s national championship match.

Parnham, as is his wont, is standing pat with the group of his group of 23 players, although there will likely be an opportunity for attacker Paige Selenski (recovering from a lower-body injury) to get back in the side.

Which will make the pre-Olympic push to get down to a roster of 16 even more pressure-packed than usual, given the Americans’ depth — a word that wouldn’t have been said a decade and a half ago.

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