TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Mar. 1, 2017 — Getting their first shot

By the end of this month, Erin Matson, the fine attacking midfielder who led the United States in scoring at last December’s Junior World Cup, is likely to earn her first senior national team cap.

Matson, the Kennett Square Unionville (Pa.) junior, is one of 19 players selected for a new-look U.S. women’s field hockey team which will compete in the Hawke’s Bay Cup, an annual competition in New Zealand that attracts many of the world’s better hockey sides. But, like the Algarve Cup in women’s soccer, this competition is where coaches can try new lineups in a less high-pressure situation than a World Cup or an Olympics.

And this U.S. side is definitely new. Of the 19 players on the travel roster, nine are in single digits when it comes to the number of caps earned. And aside from Matson, Amanda DiNunzio, Taylor West, Alyssa Parker, Ashley Hoffman, and Anna Dessoye will be making their senior national team debuts during this tournament.

Head coach Janneke Schopmann appears to want to develop depth in the attack. She opted not to bring veterans forwards Michelle Kasold, Kelsey Kolojejchick, Paige Selenski, and Katie Bam on the trip, meaning this team is going to have to figure out ways to score without them.

Part of this might fall on Matson, who is the first teenager to make the U.S. senior women’s national team since Katelyn Falgowski and Bam were both capped in 2005.

That’s high company and high expectations, but it also comes from having unusual talent. Let’s see how this team does.

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