Simon Hoskins, Executive Director of US Field Hockey sent a Christmas message of his own to the field hockey community, by announcing the appointment of a new Head Coach for the US Women’s Team. Caroline Nelson-Nichols, currently the Head Coach at Columbia University was appointed after an international search. The US team is about to begin their second year in the FIH Hockey Pro League in about a month. The first game will be against the Netherlands and will be played at UNC!
Nelson is a former USWNT athlete and two time Olympian and has been the Columbia Coach since 2015. Prior to that she was an assistant at the University of Iowa. She has been serving on the BOT of US Field Hockey and will step down to fulfill her new responsibilities. She has been active in the futures program and currently holds a Level 2 accreditation..
She has earned 165 caps and was a two time Olympian. Nelson was on the National squad from 2007-14. Her olympic experience was earned in Beijing and London. She had an outstanding career at Old Dominion from 2003-06 where she was an all American, and an academic all-American. Nelson additionally, was the defensive player of the year in the CAA as well as. player of year. It was the first time anyone received these dual honors. She is a member of the ODU Hall of Fame.
Columbia will begin a national search for a replacement immeadiately!!
Additional Patriot League News
Patriot League meetings occurred recently, and the subject of video review was on the docket. However, there is no news to announce. I have my fingers crossed, but like most decisions inside the academe, the decision apparatus grinds slowly!!
Bucknell has announced five new recruits and the other Patriot league teams have had new recruits appear on Max Sports. Lafayette still has not announced their new player for 2020, but internet reports have revealed 5 new Leopards so far. Coach Stone usually announces her new class, after the class is complete.
The Patriot League had a number of very young rosters last year, and I expect some will be looking for specific holes to fill. I do not expect the other league teams to have large classes this year. More about that in the new year.
Bottom line is, I expect the Patriot League to be much improved with a number of quality hold over players.
Lisa Van der Geest, the Lafayette senior captain added another award to her growing list of kudos. At this rate her parents will have to hire a private jet to transport all her hardware. She was a first team all league selection, defensive player of the year in the Patriot League, all region, and the Patriot League and Lafayette Scholar Athlete of the year. But perhaps her most coveted skill was enumerated by her coach, Jennifer Stone. ” Most importantly, her leadership on and off the field kept our team focused. She will graduate in the spring as one of the best players to ever come through our program.”
After graduation she has told me she wants to continue to play field hockey. Perhaps we shall hear more about Lisa in the future as as Dutch national player?. Meanwhile rumor has it she is a very good tennis player. Could we see her on the courts this spring wearing a Lafayette uniform??
Movement never stops as the Patriot League is reloading, as recruits continue to announce their commitments. Bucknell has recently announced five new recruits. Lafayette typically waits until the class is complete before an announcement but an internet search has identified 5 commitments to next year’s class who I have already identified in a previous post. For the coaches, they continue to beat the bushes for qualified players with the hopes of fielding another team that can challenge for a championship. Replacing this senior class will be difficult.
Returning next year will be a lot of experience and skill. Molly McAndrews a first team PL selection will return for her junior season at forward, Sydney Woolston a defender and only a rising sophomore returns, Kara Tiedtke will be returning from recovering knee surgery, Audrey Sawers is on the under 21 Canadian team and will certainly be a team leader, Sophie Carr, another rising senior will be marking her senior year, Grace Angelella a midfielder will provide an exciting element to a talented senior class, Anna Steps will also be a senior contributor, while Simone Hefting returns for her sophomore encore, perhaps filling in the empty center back position. Haile Abbott will step up in the goal cage. Who can forget her save last year on a penalty stroke in the Patriot League playoffs against Boston University?
The spring will be challenging for coaches and a players alike, as they will be reaching to improve on the 12-7 record this year and hopefully gaining that coveted spot in the NCAA tournament. It will be an interesting spring season!! Needs will include the all important center back position. An improvement in overall team speed will be looked for. The Leopards will also sport several players near or over six feet tall with skill. No doubt the team will be there competing for a tournament spot.
League Coaches Meet In End Of Year Consultations
It is typical for Division One League coaches to meet this time of year to discuss how their respective leagues can improve performance within the division. The Patriot League is no exception. Could video replay be a topic of conversation?? There are ten leagues playing division one field hockey, six are using video referral for regular season games, or championship games. The Patriot League is not one of them.
The NCAA has mandated in order to host a playoff game, video referral must be provided. The coaches will not make a final decision, but it must eventually be brought to League AD’s. Video referral is in effect for basketball and football at the moment in the league.
It is my belief video referral will improve officiating and provide confidence that official calls will not be a determining factor in wins or losses. I hope the league will do the right thing.
US Teams Will See A Change In Leadership
The US team will see a change in coaching and as I understand it has already begun a search. It is 45 days until the pro leagues start and the national team is scheduled to meet the team from the Netherlands at UNC in January.
Change is always difficult in any organization and especially for athletic teams. The US women’s team did not make this summer’s olympics, having not been successful in various Olympic qualifying events. I have no doubt these women will rise to the challenge to see them in Paris in four years. They are a dedicated and talented group. We are all rooting for you!!
Meanwhile, US Field Hockey has designated an interim coaching team led by Pam Stuper of Yale. I would expect new coaches to be in place before the game with the Netherlands.