CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Four former members of the highly-successful Maryland field hockey program are in Southern California with the U.S. National Team preparing for the World Cup in June. 2012 Olympian Katie O’Donnell, Ali McEvoy, Natalie Hunter and Jill Witmer - all NFHCA All-Americans - are hard at work with Team USA.
Team USA won its bid to the Rabobank World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands after its performance in the Pan American Games in Argentina in September. Witmer was the lone collegiate player on the squad in Argentina.
“It’s been really great to get to work with Team USA for the World Cup,” Witmer said. “It was amazing to compete in Argentina, so now it’s nice to focus on the World Cup.”
O'Donnell, who is Maryland's all-time leading scorer, has earned 128 caps in her career on the U.S. National Team and has played in six major tournaments, beginning with her time in College Park in 2007-10. For Hunter, McEvoy and Witmer, it's their first full-time training experience with Team USA.
"When NCAA athletes go full-time residency with Team USA, they soar," said Maryland head coach Missy Meharg. "What an amazing opportunity for Ali, Jill and Natalie to be 100 percent committed mentally and physically to USA hockey. Maryland is very proud of Katie, Jill, Ali and Natalie and wish them and Team USA the best in their preparation for the World Cup. The Maryland staff will be there for all."
"It's been great having Terps out here with me and Team USA training," O'Donnell said. "It's been fun showing them the ropes and I know they all have the work rate to be successful here."
New Zealand and England will come to San Diego Feb. 5-10 for six test matches in preparation for the World Cup.
“Maryland training has given us the opportunity to be exposed to a high level of play, coaching, and intensity, that we are able to transfer to the field here for the USA team,” McEvoy said.
"The biggest difference I felt when transitioning from the college game to the international stage was the speed of the game and also the speed at which you had to execute your skills," associate head coach and 2008 Olympian Dina Rizzo said. "Maryland prepared me to train and compete at a high intensity every time I stepped on the field. My best advice for the Terps would be to enjoy every moment. It's an honor to represent your country."
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