Philadelphia region well-represented on U.S. women's Olympic field hockey squad

Wissahickon's Katie O'Donnell BRYAN BEDDER / Getty Images
Wissahickon's Katie O'Donnell BRYAN BEDDER / Getty Images
Posted: June 13, 2012

Women's field hockey will pop up on TV screens this July, if only for a game on an afternoon - like many Olympic sports.

And some familiar names will be on the United States roster.

On Monday, U.S. coach Lee Bodimeade announced his 16-player roster, which is stocked with area athletes.

They include captain Lauren Crandall, a Central Bucks East graduate; Rachel Dawson (Eastern Regional); Katie O'Donnell (Wissahickon); and Michelle Vittese (Camden Catholic).

The team also features a pair of Mount St. Joseph Academy alumnae: sisters Julia and Katie Reinprecht of Perkasie. Julia, 21, is a defender; Katie, 22, is a midfielder. Both attend Princeton, though neither competed for the Tigers last season while training with the national team.

In selecting the Olympic squad, Bodimeade took 16 players from his 27-player national team.

Crandall, the captain, was also part of the 2008 Olympic team that finished eighth in Beijing. She is one of seven players on this year's squad who competed in the Games four years ago. That team, by comparison, carried a collective zero games of Olympic experience before boarding a Beijing-bound plane.

"One of the things that we have been able to achieve since Beijing is increasing the depth and ability of the entire squad," Bodimeade said. "To go from [27] athletes down to 16 was an extremely difficult task and one that had some really tough decisions that needed to be made. . . . To have seven athletes with that experience on the Olympic team puts us in a much better position heading to London."

The U.S. squad will begin pool play against No. 3-ranked Germany on July 23. The No. 10 Americans then will play the four other teams in their group: No. 2 Argentina, No. 6 New Zealand, No. 7 Australia, and No. 12 South Africa.

If the United States can finish at least second in its group, the team will advance to the semifinals. If the Americans can't, they will go at least four more years without an Olympic medal - extending what is now a 28-year drought.

"We have a tough pool, but we actually welcome that and the challenge it brings," Bodimeade said. "We are not going to the Olympics for the experience; we are going to win. That is our goal and that has been and is our approach to this Olympic Games. We are really looking forward to the challenge ahead of us at the biggest sporting event in the world."

The Team

Goalkeeper: Amy Swensen (Grantville, Pa.)

Defenders: Lauren Crandall (Doylestown), Claire Laubach (Centreville, Va.), Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, Va.), Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie)

Midfielders: Kayla Bashore Smedley (Shoemakersville, Pa.), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa.), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J)

Strikers: Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.), Keli Smith Puzo (Selinsgrove, Pa.), Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.), Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill)

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