COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Senior Jill Witmer and Maryland field hockey all-time leading scorer Katie O’Donnell will play with Team USA in the Pan American Cup in Mendoza, Argentina beginning Saturday. The U.S. will compete to clinch a bid to the 2014 World Cup.
The Pan American Cup will begin on Saturday and will run through Saturday, September 28 in Mendoza’s cutting-edge hockey facility. The U.S. Women’s National Team will begin their Pan American Cup journey with the first match of the tournament against Mexico Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Witmer will join Team USA Saturday after playing with the Terrapins tonight vs. No. 15 Wake Forest in College Park. She will miss the Terps’ matchups with Michigan, at No. 17 Boston College and at No. 7 Massachusetts next weekend.
“Katie O'Donnell and Jill Witmer are simply world-class strikers,” Maryland head coach Missy Meharg said. “They possess a natural connection on the field which started four years ago as a freshman and a senior here at Maryland. Coaching this dynamic duo was professionally fulfilling on all fronts. Our only regret was that it was only for one collegiate season. USA coach Craig Parnham will do them service as they gain World Cup and Olympic Games momentum in the attacking unit. On behalf of University of Maryland Athletics we wish OD, Jill and Team USA all the best in their goal to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.”
"I am very excited for this tour," O'Donnell said. "We have been working hard for a few months now and I really think we have grown, We are taking steps in the right direction for USA Field Hockey to be true competitorson the international level."
The event is divided into two pools each consisting of four teams. The U.S. has been placed in Pool B, along with Chile, Mexico and Uruguay. Following Saturday’s match against Mexico, the team faces Chile on Sunday, September 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET and then Uruguay on Tuesday, September 24 at 3 p.m. ET. The semi-finals are scheduled for Thursday, September 26 and the finals on Saturday, September 28.
In its fifth edition, the Pan American Cup has had the same champion and silver medalists at the 2001, 2004 and 2009 respected Cups. Team USA has been second each of those years falling to the No. 2 Team in the world and this year’s Pam Am host, Argentina. The U.S. won gold at the 2011 Pan American Cup by defeating Argentina in the finals. The win earned them a gold medal and a ticket to the 2012 Olympic games.
Team USA is vying for the coveted spot in the 2014 World Cup held in The Hague, Netherlands. The Pan American winner will receive the continent's automatic berth to the 2014 World Cup. In addition, the top six teams qualify for the 2017 Women's Pan American Cup and the teams placed 7th and 8th will play in the 2015 Women's Pan American Challenge.
For more on the U.S.'s ride through the Pan American cup, log on to USAFieldHockey.com.
No. 2 Maryland (6-0) will welcome No. 18 Wake Forest (5-1) to College Park Friday at 7 p.m. for its ACC opener. Admission is free as the Terrapins will look to pick up their seventh straight win.
The first 200 fans at Friday’s game will receive free gold pom poms. Live stats will be available for Friday’s game at UMTerps.com and the game will be shown live online for a fee on TerpsTV Premium. The matchup can be heard online for free via Maryland’s campus station, WMUCSports.wordpress.com and live updates will be available at @TerpFieldHockey.