(Photo: Yan Huckendubler)
Facing the United States is always a tough task.
For the Canadian women’s field hockey team, coming off a lengthy winter break and not having played a game since the end of last summer at the 2015 Pan American Gaming, taking on the world’s seventh best team and defending Pan Am gold medalist was a difficult but necessary way to start the year.
But the Canadian women were up to the challenge. And despite dropping all four matches of the four game series in Chula Vista, California, the 19th ranked Canadians are better off given what is ahead.
“The U.S. were very impressive and they are definitely a medal chance (at the upcoming Olympics) in Rio,” says Women’s National Team head coach Ian Rutledge. “They asked a lot of our players and our systems.”
The aim will be to have those questions answered before the next competition, the Hawke’s Bay Cup – an eight national tournament – held from April 2nd-10th in New Zealand.
Of the seven teams Canada will face, the tournament features five of the top ten women’s teams in the world, making the recent series against the United States essential for preparation.
“The goal for the next five weeks will be to build upon this experience,” Rutledge adds. “To ensure we utilize the lesson, the leading and time on task to be ready.”
The women returned to Vancouver late Friday and will have a week of recovery before returning to training for four weeks prior to leaving for New Zealand.