Nichols Named To Olympic FH Team
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Five current and former members of the Old Dominion University Field Hockey team were named to one of the three United States Field Hockey National teams on Monday afternoon, as was a standout from Drexel University.
Former CAA Player of the Year and 2008 Olympian Caroline Nichols was named to the 16-member Olympic team and will head to London in July, announced by U.S. head coach Lee Bodimeade. The U.S. will look to record their first Olympic medal since 1984, after finishing eighth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Nichols, who is a 2007 graduate of Old Dominion and majored in biology with an emphasis in secondary education, became the first CAA player ever to win the CAA Player of the Year and the CAA Defender of the Year in the same season in 2006. A defender, Nichols has earned her second consecutive bid to the Olympic team after playing for the United State in Beijing in 2008.
"One of the things that we have been able to achieve since Beijing is increasing the depth and ability of the entire squad," said Bodimeade. "To go from 25 athletes down to 16 was an extremely difficult task and one that had some really tough decisions that needed to be made. We had 16 rookies at the Olympics in 2008 and now to have seven athletes with that experience on the Olympic Team puts us in a much better position heading to London."
The U.S. has been drawn into a challenging pool made up of No. 2 Argentina, No. 3 Germany, No. 6 New Zealand, No. 7 Australia and No. 12 South Africa. The U.S. will open Pool B play at the Olympic Games with a face-off against Germany on Sunday, July 29. From there, the U.S. will advance to their next opponents in the tournament - Argentina, then Australia, New Zealand and close the preliminary rounds with South Africa on Monday, August 6. The women's first semi-final will take place on Wednesday, August 8. The gold-medal round commences on Friday, August 10.
Current ODU assistant coach Katelyn Smither and rising senior back and co-captain Christy Longacre were both named to the U.S. Women's National Development Squad along with Drexel rising senior midfielder Amanda Fleischut. Smither, an All-CAA First Team selection in both her junior and senior seasons, competed in 93 games during her four-year career. She started 84 games and registered 62 career points. Old Dominion won a total of 60 games during Smither's career and advanced to the NCAA Tournament on three occasions.
Longacre was an All-CAA Tournament selection in 2011 after starting in 22 games and scoring six goals with three assists for 15 point on 53 shots. She scored the game-winning goal in ODU's 3-1 upset win at No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 16.
Fleischut led Drexel in goals with nine and 21 total points this past season. She finished fourth in the CAA in shots per game, tied for fifth in shots, sixth in goals per game, tied for sixth in goals and ninth in points per game. She received first team All-CAA honors and was chosen to the Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-Region Team.
Current ODU players Kati Nearhouse and Kelsey Smither were both named to the U.S. Under-21 team and will now begin training for the Junior Pan American games and the Junior World Cup later this year.
The U.S. will begin their final preparation for the London Games on Monday, June 18, with the start of a four-game test series against Argentina in Virginia. The 16-women nominated to the Olympic Team plus two replacement athletes will compete on the tour that stops at the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University and the National Training Center.
The final match on June 23 will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network. An Olympic celebration will follow at 6:30 p.m. ET, which will formally recognize and celebrate the U.S. Olympic Women's Field Hockey Team. Tickets are still available to the public and can be purchased on usafieldhockey.com.
The team will depart for London on July 21. All nominations to the U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee board of directors.
Old Dominion hosts exhibition games next week between the U.S. and Argentina on Wednesday, June 20 at 5 p.m. and Thursday, June 21 at 8 p.m. Both games will be free of charge.
ODU will also be hosting the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Final Fours at the Powhatan Sports Complex.