Holland ’14 reflects on World Cup

This season, women’s field hockey captain Georgia Holland ’14 will return to the field with a seventh-place Junior World Cup finish under her belt. In June, Holland was selected to the under-21 USA team after a two-month recruiting process, traveling with the team to Germany from July 27–Aug. 4 for the tournament. She now hopes her international experience will serve her team well as it pursues an Ivy League Championship.

Q: How do you think your experience at the Junior World Cup has affected you as a player, teammate and captain?

A: I think being exposed to the international level of hockey is going to be really helpful for me as a player, but also as the captain and as a teammate, just being able to bring that knowledge and the high level of play that I was playing at there. It’s going to hopefully be really helpful with the upcoming season being able to show my teammates and express to them how we can reach this higher level.

Q: Are there any moments that stand out to you?

A: One [moment] that I’ll remember was [when] I scored a goal against Ghana. I scored it off a penalty quarter. I took a direct shot and it got tipped by a defender and went high into the net. It was my only goal in the tournament, so I think I’ll remember that for a while.

Q: What was the dynamic between teams from different countries?

A: We actually stayed in a hotel with Ghana and Argentina, so we were interacting with them a lot. It was really interesting seeing what the hockey culture was like in all the different places. [For example], in Argentina it’s huge and they get a ton of gear, and then there’s us and Ghana where field hockey isn’t that big.
At the end of the tournament, you do a lot of jersey swapping and exchanging of gear, so I have some cool jerseys from a German player and a player from New Zealand.
Once the tournament’s going on, there’s a pretty big rivalry; you’re not really friendly, but then after the games [it’s different].

Q: Was there a language barrier?

A: Definitely, but most people’s second language is English so it was easy for us. But, [for example], on the Belgian team, there were some girls who only spoke German and some girls who only spoke French, so on the team itself they couldn’t even communicate.

Q: Who did you play and how did you do?

A: There are 16 countries represented there, so it’s divided into four pools of four teams. Our pool consisted of us, Korea, Ghana and the Netherlands. So we played those three teams first, and we actually ended up finishing in the top two of our pool so we moved on to the quarterfinals. Our first game we beat Korea, then our second game we beat Ghana and then we lost to the Netherlands, who eventually ended up winning the whole tournament.
That put us into the quarterfinals, then we played Argentina from there, and then Australia, and then our last game was against South Africa. The last game was the game for seventh and eighth place, and we won that one to come in seventh.

Q: What has being a captain meant to you?

A: It’s a huge honor. It’s a big honor at Yale especially, where they only elect one captain. It’s really nice to know that it was my teammates who elected me and have confidence in me to lead the team. It’s going to be easy for me because the senior class is pretty big and all really good leaders. It’s a collaborative thing, not just me.

Q: What approaches do you use to lead the team?

A: I think I’m more naturally a leader by example. How I conduct myself on and off the field [is how I lead], so what I work on most is my vocal communication, which is not as innate for me. I think it’s pretty easy to lead on the field and get the underclassmen to follow your lead in that way.

Q: What are some of your most anticipated games?

A: We’re really excited for our opening game on Friday against UVA. They’re ranked seventh in the country right now, so it’s going to be a really big opening for us, especially if we can get it on our new field. We’re getting blue turf which should be done in the next few days, so hopefully it’ll be ready. We’d really appreciate some support at our opening game if it is on Friday at our new field. Or, if our field isn’t ready, our home opener will be against Harvard in two weeks.

Q: What approaches do you use to lead the team?

A: I think I’m more naturally a leader by example. How I conduct myself on and off the field [is how I lead], so what I work on most is my vocal communication, which is not as innate for me. I think it’s pretty easy to lead on the field and get the underclassmen to follow your lead in that way.

Q: What do you think team’s greatest strengths and weaknesses are?

A: Our strengths are probably our speed and our ability to play as a team — we’re a pretty good passing team.
Our weakness might be our youth. We’re probably going to be playing underclassmen with not as much experience as some of the older girls on the team. So [we need to] make them feel comfortable at the beginning, but I’m sure that will work itself out pretty quickly.

Q: How’s the team chemistry?

A: I think it’s really good. We have a good balance of numbers in each class, so it’s fun to be able to intermingle. We all get along really well and we’re always a pretty tight-knit group.

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