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Archive for October 16, 2019

Oct. 16, 2019 — The final Olympic countdown

With only a couple of weeks before the U.S. women’s national field hockey team boards a plane to India for a two-game qualifier for one of seven available Olympic berths, a major milestone took place today: the declaration of the 20-woman roster.

Head coach Janneke Schopmann has picked a side which has a lot of the hallmarks of the Pan American Games team, but adding Gini Bramley, Alyssa Parker, Taylor West, backup goalie Kealsie Robles, and Mary Beth Barham.

The one name that is not on the Olympic qualifier roster that was on the Pan Am roster is Mackenzie Allessie. It’s something I find interesting, given the fact that she has not been wanting for goals, as she broke the national high-school record one year ago today.

Allessie graduated from Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) early to join the senior national team full-time, whereupon she scored in her second and third national-team appearances, and she also tied for the lead in scoring for the States (six) in the Pan American Games.  Currently, Allessie currently leads Ohio State University in goals (eight), shots on goal (25), and shot attempts (36) this season.

From a statistical standpoint, leaving the American wunderkind off the team means that nearly 20 percent of U.S. goalscoring from the Pan Am Games is not going to be available for the Olympic qualifiers.

But I think, as the youngest member of the U.S. team pool, there will be plenty of future opportunities for Allessie to make the team for major tournaments. After all, Katie O’Donnell may have missed her first chance at the Olympics in 2008, but had a wonderful 2012 at Rio.

Still, one is reminded of this site’s Fourth Law of Field hockey: “While games are won on the pitch, games can so often be lost through the decisions that coaches make in picking their teams.”

We’ll know if this works out in two weeks.