Pursuit Field Hockey took the road to Rio and attended the USA vs India game Monday night. Thank you to USA Field Hockey for the night of a lifetime, inspiration to work hard every day and for your hospitality at Spooky Nook. Thank you to the 57 Pursuit Players and Families who made the 3-hour drive to witness history in the making on our bus with us, for wearing red, for making posters and cheering your hearts out. The game opened our players eyes to a whole new realm of hockey love and hopes of dawning a USA uniform someday. An EPIC DAY for Pursuit Field Hockey!!
The enthusiasm captured in the pictures is overwhelming.
Even with her face paint streaming down her cheeks, there was no dampening the mood Monday night for Cinna Peter, her sister Natalie or their friends Emily and Natalie Zickle.
The four friends made the trip from Virginia to Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim with their parents to watch their first Team USA field hockey game and did not walk away disappointed as the Americans held on for a 3-2 victory over India in the opening game of the Rio Send-Off Series.
“We just brought face paint and all of this stuff, and we’re just really excited,” said Natalie Zickle, clad in a red, white and blue and matching stars headband.
The group huddled behind the fence on the baseline trying to get a wave from the Olympics-bound athletes, including consensus favorite Melissa Gonzalez.
“At first, I just couldn’t watch because the pressure in the beginning just figuring out where are they going to go with the ball,” Cinna Peter admitted. “I was so freaking out.”
They weren’t the only ones showing their patriotism at the series opener, as the crowd of 1,700 embraced the Red-Out theme of the evening and filled the stands with a sea of red that rivaled the sky as the sun began to set over the field.
Sue Schneider and Chris Ozyjowski also traveled from Virginia to watch the game with their college friend, Lancaster resident Rosanne Romito, while cheering on Katie Reinprecht. And local field hockey teams donned school T-shirts to watch the professionals in their final series before heading to Rio for the Summer Olympics.
More than 20 players from Conrad Weiser held up signs for Scouts alum Jackie Briggs, now the U.S. goalie.
“It’s pretty inspiring to know that we can play at this level, too,” said rising senior Maddi Youst, who recently committed to play at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “Coming from such a small town, it’s cool to see one of our own making it big.”
Former Penn Manor standout Jill Witmer was also a fan favorite, with 10-year-old Danielle Schroll anxious to meet her after the game.
The Lebanon resident came to Spooky Nook straight from her club practice with a present for Witmer, who had helped out as a coach at one of Schroll’s practices.
The stands rocked Monday evening as fans of all ages stood to cheer on the home team as Team USA faced Olympic opponent India in the first match of a three-game series. Signs dotted the metal bleachers, the wave looped through the crowd twice and raucous “U-S-A” chants rang out as India tied the game 2-2 late in the third quarter.
The noise only doubled when Kelsey Kolojejchick sent a rebound into the back of the net for the winning goal and then again when the horn finally sounded to end the game.
It all paled in comparison to the ovation at the end of the night as kids in attendance ran out onto the field for a victory lap before lining the fences in hopes of getting an autograph or picture with their favorite athletes.
The energy didn’t go unnoticed by Team USA.
“Yeah, the red looked awesome,” U.S. midfielder Katelyn Falgowski said. “It’s very unique, we get to travel the world and we get to experience all kinds of fans, but we don’t always get out home fans, and I think it’s really special to be able to play in front of a home crowd. To get that extra man out there, a lot of times you need that energy boost, and family, friends, just fans in the area here in the Home of Hockey, there’s not a better place to be than with all of this excitement.”
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Pursuit Bus Trip