Oct. 11, 2006
WASHINGTON - American University head field hockey coach Steve Jennings returned to AU on Saturday after leading the United States National Field Hockey team to a sixth place finish in the Samsung World Cup, the second highest showing at the tournament since the team's third place finish in 1994.
Starting the tournament off as the No. 12 seed, the US squad faced defending World Cup Champion Argentina in their first game of the tourney. After being defeated by the United States just months earlier in the Four Nations Tournament, Argentina earned revenge in their 2-0 victory.
Being beaten by Australia and tying Japan in their next two matches left the US with only one option, to gain the "W" in their remaining battles. "Momentum plays a huge role in tournaments." Jennings said. "With this in mind, our players remained calm, prepared and confident. They focused on performing and conquering their opponents one game at a time."
The US found their momentum in their 3-1 victory over South Africa and carried it from there, overcoming Korea and defending Olympic Champion Germany in their next two meetings, becoming the No. 6 world-ranked United States Field Hockey Team.
American University played two games without Jennings on the sideline, going 1-1 while he was in Madrid. AU defeated Colgate in their Patriot League opener, but lost to Albany a day later. "When you're on the road, it's hard wins and tough losses." Jennings said. "It's difficult not being there, it's your team and you want to experience everything with them."
With the Eagles seeing four losses, the most since the 2003 season, Jennings will use his experience with the US team as an example. "By staying on track and focusing on the right principles, you are capable of achieving your goals." Jennings said. "I have confidence in the team and the staff and completely believe in continued success as we reach our peak."
American is 9-4-0 on the season and looks to remain undefeated in conference play when it takes on Lafayette at 12 p.m. on Oct. 14 at the William I Jacobs Recreational Complex.