Katie O'Donnell (in blue) competes for the ball against… (Hannah Johnston, Getty…)
Former Maryland field hockey standouts Katie O'Donnell and Keli Smith Puzo have been selected to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, U.S. women's field hockey coach Lee Bodimeade announced today.
O'Donnell and Smith Puzo, who won a combined three national championships with the Terps, hope to help the U.S. build upon last October's first-place finish at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalaraja, Mexico. The team placed eighth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and hasn't medalled since 1984.
"Right now, we're working towards having a lot of unity," said O'Donnell, a four-time ACC Offensive Player of the Year who will serve as a student assistant coach at Maryland next season. "I think that'll take us very far into the Olympic Games, and we have a very good possibility of medalling."
O'Donnell, who became the youngest member of the national team as a 16-year-old in 2005, will make her first appearance in the Olympics. The 33-year-old Smith Puzo has given birth to two children since competing in her first Games four years ago.
"She's an absolute competitor to the core," Terps coach Missy Meharg said. "She just will not be denied anything. So because she loves that physical battle and she's able genetically, tactically and technically to play at a high level, she's just going to keep playing."
The U.S. will start a four-game test series against Argentina on June 18 in Virginia. The 16-woman roster, along with two replacement athletes, will compete at the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University and the National Training Center.
The team will leave for London on July 21 and will open Olympic play against Germany eight days later.