April 18, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sophomore Maxine Fluharty of the Maryland field hockey team earned her first international caps this week, as she is competing with the U.S. National Team in a two-part Four Nations tournament in New Zealand.
Fluharty, who has been on the U.S. Under-21 squad for the past two seasons, is one of 18 players in the country selected to make the trip by new U.S. head coach Craig Parnham. Five Americans, including Fluharty, earned their first caps, or international starts, on the trip.
"Maxine has done well being new on tour," Parnham said. "It is a steep learning curve for all of the new players but she's learning what is required to play at this level."
Team USA is currently in the second leg of the Four Nations tournament and is competing in Hamilton, New Zealand. The Americans were edged 1-0 by host-New Zealand early Thursday morning eastern time.
"What an opportunity for Maxine to represent our country," Terps head coach Missy Meharg said. "Competing against some of the top 10 countries in the world who are coming off Olympic experiences is invaluable. As our U-21 squad prepares for the Junior World Cup in Germany this summer, no doubt the physical speed of skill execution coupled with the relentless mental pace experienced during these Four Nation Tournaments is a solid piece of team preparation."
Next, Team USA will play No. 2 Argentina at 1 a.m. ET on April 20. Final matches will begin at 9 p.m. ET on April 19.
For Team USA's full schedule and more on the trip to New Zealand, log on to http://www2.teamusa.org/USA-Field-Hockey.aspx.
Fluharty checked in with UMTerps.com Thursday and wrote:
"This opportunity could not have turned out to be more perfect. Initially, the thought of jumping right in with the Women's National team was a bit overwhelming; Emotions were running through my body leading up to the tour; I didn't know what to expect because it was a new level for me, with a new team and a new coach.
My first tour has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. It has been an absolutely incredible experience. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time. Getting to be surrounded by and embraced by the players I look up to was the best way to be brought into this level. The women on this team have been great leaders and so helpful in bridging the gap from where I came from and the level that is expected.
One of my favorite moments on this trip was sharing the special moment of Lauren Crandall achieving her 200th cap. She started her journey in New Zealand and completed this bench mark in the very same place. It was neat for me to be able to start my journey here in New Zealand as well and see where my potential can take me, if I'm granted the opportunity.
At the beginning of the tour the pace was overwhelming and the physicality much greater, but I loved it. I enjoyed the challenge and fight that was required to keep up with the play. The demand from your teammates is so much more but it is truly like a comfort blanket. The communication is constant and intense but it means that they have your back.
I thought I knew what working hard meant and I considered myself to be a hardworking player, but you have no idea what working hard means until you compete at this level. There comes a point when you have to mentally be stronger than you thought you could be and let your mind over power your fatigue. When you reach that point, you realize you have really do have extra to give and you have to pour it all out onto the field."