Peisch '11 and Hood '12 represent U.S. at Pan-American Cup

by Sarah Rohrbach | 12/3/08 3:48am

Dartmouth field hockey players Virginia Peisch '11 and Kelly Hood '12 came home with silver medals last week after representing the United States at the 2008 Indoor Pan-American Cup, held in San Juan, Argentina.

With the encouragement of Dartmouth associate head coach Andy Smith, the players traveled to Pennsylvania earlier in the year to attend open tryouts and were ultimately chosen for the national squad.

The team of roughly 20 players was announced after a number of practices over the summer. After making cuts, head coach Shawn Hindy announced the final team, which included both Peisch and Hood.

The U.S. squad dominated preliminary pool play at the Pan-Am tournament, besting all of their opponents, including Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Argentina and Chile. The team scored 31 goals while its opponents only managed to score twice.

The two closest matches came against Chile and Argentina, whom the United States beat 2-1 and 1-0, respectively.

In the contest against Paraguay, which the U.S. team won 11-1, Peisch put up two goals and Hood tallied one to contribute to the team's big win.

After the Americans went undefeated in pool play and took down Peru in the semifinal, 2-1, the final brought together the United States and Argentina for a second matchup. This time the United States lost, 4-2, earning a second-place finish.

Despite their silver medal, Hood and Peisch were not content with the way the tournament ended.

"To be honest, I am kind of disappointed with the result," Hood said. "We lost 4-2 to Argentina, a team we had beaten 1-0 in pool play earlier in the week. After going 5-0 in pool play, I think we expected more from ourselves. Although it would have been very difficult to beat Argentina in Argentina during a gold medal game, we were fully capable of doing it."

Peisch echoed Hood's sentiments, saying the loss was disappointing after the team's domination over Argentina in the first round of play.

"We had beat Argentina, 1-0, in the first round, in a game which we had dominated," Peisch said. "Then in the gold medal game, Argentina outplayed us to win ... It seemed as though they wanted the victory more than we did."

While the biggest disappointment for both Peisch and Hood was the final game against Argentina, both saw the tournament as an overall good experience.

"I think representing a country in an international athletic tournament is always an honor," Peisch said. "I was excited to wear the blue and red jersey. But to be honest, once I was on the court I forgot that I was playing for the U.S. team. It felt just like any other game that I have played for my club team in Germany or for Dartmouth."

Hood enjoyed the experience but missed her Dartmouth teammates.

"It was a different experience playing for the national team," Hood said. "After playing the entire fall with the same group of girls here at Dartmouth, it was almost weird playing with an entirely new set of people. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome wearing a U.S. jersey, but I would be perfectly happy putting on my Dartmouth uniform and playing with the girls we have here any day."

Hood also mentioned the excitement of being in an unfamiliar part of the world and playing in front of a huge crowd.

"The highlight of the trip was definitely playing in front of a bigger crowd than I am used to," Hood said. "The atmosphere was amazing."

Both players will be working towards joining the U.S. junior squad for the under-21 World Cup that will be held next year.

While each says getting on the team may be a bit of a stretch, they will both hope to join the regional High-Performance Squad, which will compete in Virginia Beach, Va., in early July.

The coach for the national team will then choose players from the regional teams to represent the United States in the World Cup, which will take place in Boston next August.

Until then, Peisch and Hood will continue offseason workouts with the rest of the Big Green squad.