June 13, 2007
WASHINGTON - Former American field hockey players Camila Infante (Santiago, Chile/Santiago College) and Javiera Villagra(Santiago, Chile/Santiago College), alongside current Eagle Denise Infante (Santiago, Chile/Santiago College), competed for the Chilean National Team, while AU Head Coach Steve Jennings served as assistant coach for the United State National Team in the Four Nation Tournament held in Santiago, Chile.
In its final tune-up before July's Pan American Games and with Jennings on the sideline, USA captured the tournament crown with a 1-0 win over world No.2 ranked Argentina. The Pan American Games are scheduled for July 15-29 in Rio de Janeiro with Argentina earning the No. 1 seed and the USA ranking second, with the final result determining the nation's automatic berth in next year's Olympic Games. The victory marked just the second time since 1991 that the USA overcame Argentina, with the other win coming just ten months ago when the Red, White and Blue earned the 2-1 "W" in the Madrid Tournament last August.
"Working with the best in the nation as we prepare to play against the best in the world is invaluable," said Jennings. "Exposure to the top techniques, tactics, preparation, sports psychologists and video analysis allows me to transfer an incredible amount of high end knowledge to my team."
Sticking true to his word, the 2006 Patriot League Coach of the Year had two former players and one current player competing in the tournament on the Chilean National Team, who finished in third after defeating Canada in overtime. Two-time First Team All American Villagra ('06) scored a goal with just less than 10 minutes remaining on the clock to knot the game and send the match into extra minutes. Three time All-American Camila Infante just wrapped up her four years at American, while her sister and Second Team All-American Denise Infante enters her final season donning an Eagle uniform this fall.
"Coaching players and seeing them move on to compete at the highest level is a tremendous reward," said Jennings. "It is a significant challenge to create the right expectations for my players at AU, to push them to the elite level without creating frustration or a lack of confidence by demanding more than they realistically can produce."