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Archive for July 14, 2017

BULLETIN: Argentina 4, USA 0

Given the number of players who retired from the U.S. women’s national field hockey team since Rio last year, it was expected that the learning curve of international hockey from some very young players thrown into the side would be very steep, especially against the defending World League champions, Argentina.

Today’s 4-0 win by Argentina shows just how far the young Americans have to go in order to remain competitive within the Pan American Hockey Federation, much less the world stage.

The United States started slow and seemed to be content to let Argentina have the ball, completely opposite of the “first tackle, first foul, first shot, first goal” ethic of the past decade. The States had exactly one shot on goal all game.

The results after Matchday Four of the World League has confirmed the fates of a number of teams. In Pool A, Poland will not advance to the quarterfinals, having lost all four of its matches. Pool A positioning is incredibly fluid, with Japan, Ireland, Germany, and England all capable of finishing in multiple different permutations after Sunday’s final day of pool play.

In Pool B, Argentina and the United States have both qualified for the quarterfinal round. Argentina needs a win or draw against India to take the top spot and to confirm the United States as second in the pool. India would have to beat Argentina and the States would have to lose to South Africa for the USA to finish third in Pool B.

Here’s why this is important: the pool crossover round next Tuesday is a double “tipping point” match; winning a quarterfinal not only gets you into the World League final later this year, but also qualifies a team directly into next year’s FIH World Cup.

At the end of today, here’s how the pools match up:

Pool A Rank Pool B

The thing to remember here is that the four Pool A teams are within three points of each other, and, theoretically, could finish just about in any of several permutations.

But the most advantageous scenario for the Applebees is this: if Japan beats Germany and if England beats or ties Ireland, the United States will cross over against Ireland, the 15th-ranked team in the world and lowest-ranked in Pool A.

Alternatively, if Germany beats Japan by three goals or more and if the England-Ireland match does not result in a draw, then the States will take on 11th-ranked Japan, a team the USA beat 6-1 in the Olympics a year ago.

Otherwise, the Americans could wind up playing the Olympic champions (England, which filled out the entirety of Team GB’s roster) or a German side ranked seventh in the world.

July 14, 2017 — Your national scoring champion

Novato, Calif., a town of about 50,000 about 25 miles due north of the Golden Gate Bridge, is known for being the home of video game companies Broderbund and Take Two Interactive. And, as it turns out, it’s also the home of a girls’ lacrosse team which has put up video-game like numbers over the last three years.

Novato (Calif.) has won the last three California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section championships, posting a combined record of 71-4. During the 2017 season, the Hornets scored 19 or more goals in a game an astonishing 18 times.

Charlie Rudy, a junior attacker, has been in the midst of this run of success. She has scored more than 300 goals in her scholastic career, including 160 this past season, the second-highest known single-season total of all time. Rudy, who is headed to Colorado in the fall of 2018, is your national scoring champion for 2017,

“I had no idea how large the number was until we compared it with those of other schools,” Rudy says. “When I found out, it was super-cool.”

Rudy’s outstanding numbers are not the only byproduct of Novato’s excellence. Teammate Allie Level, the team’s Berkeley-bound center, won more than her share of draws for the Hornets, and had 69 assists on the year. The team’s defense has also improved from having to mark the high-powered fast-break offense every day in practice.

“I have never coached anyone like, and seen very few like her,” says Novato head caoch Rory Daly of her star attacker. “What truly sets her apart is her drive and her confidence.”

Novato’s varsity players have a particular set of unique circumstances that allow them to develop together. Youth players in the town are exposed to the sport as early as second grade, as was the case of Rudy. Too, the middle-school competition is not spread out over several schools, but are unified in one middle-school club team that plays similar teams from other towns, even though there are two high schools that serve the city: Novato San Marin (Calif.) is the other.

“I think what’s made us really good is that we’ve been able to stay together for many years,” Rudy says. “We’re also really good friends in school and off the field.”

Rudy’s total joins a number of top performances from the recent past:

2017: Charlie Rudy, Novato (Calif.), 160
2016: Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.), 135
2015: Sophia Turchetta, Harvard Bromfield (Mass.), 158
2014: Sophia Turchetta, Harvard Bromfield (Mass.), 170
2013: Daniela McMahon, Saddle River Country Day School (N.J.), 143
2012: Emma Lazaroff, Lafayette Centaurus (Colo.), 143
2011: Alex Moore, Allentown (N.J.), 148
2010: Autumn MacMillin, Tecumseh (Mich.), 157
2009: Katie Ferris, Carthage (N.Y.), 138
2008: Courtney Miller, Chappaqua Horace Greeley (N.Y.) 125
2007: Mallori Selliger, Clarkstown (N.Y.) North, 88
2006: Shannon Smith, West Babylon (N.Y.) 129