TopOfTheCircle.com

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Jan. 9, 2020 — A thin lineup that could prove dangerous

We’re about two weeks out from the United States women’s national field hockey team’s opening fixtures in the FIH Hockey Pro League, which will be a two-game series with world No. 1 Netherlands at Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.

And with a drip, drip, drip of retirements from the U.S. national team pool in the last few weeks, including those of Jill (Witmer) Funk and Catherine Caro in the last two days, the U.S. pool is looking more and more unfamiliar to the sport’s cogniscenti.

Which, actually, may work to the Applebees’ advantage. Who, for example, has scouted Gini Bramley (two caps), Kelly Marks (one cap), and Alexandra Hammel (zero caps)?

You know who has? Head coach Caroline Nelson-Nichols and her staff.

I have a feeling that the players on the main roster are looking to prove the naysayers wrong from the last FIH Pro League cycle. It will be a hungry and determined group, with a sole focus: to prove that the U.S. team can be better than a ninth-place finish.

It’s going to have to, in order to avoid relegation.

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