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STORRS, Conn. – Starting on Friday, former UConn field hockey standout Melissa Gonzalez will venture into her second straight Olympic Games – as a U.S. National Team captain - and even deeper into the record books in Storrs.
After scoring the game-winning goal against Australia in the 2016 Hockey Champions Trophy on June 26 and helping Team USA to a bronze medal, Gonzalez will become just the second player in UConn history to make multiple Olympic appearances.
Gonzalez joins Tracey Fuchs (1988, 1996) as the only two former Huskies to accomplish the feat. Diane Madl rounds out UConn’s Olympic contributions in field hockey, making her appearance in 1996.
Not only is the stage set for Gonzalez, but also for Team USA, which enters the Rio Olympics ranked fifth in the world following its third-place finish in the Champions Trophy.
The U.S. National Team has not earned a medal at the Olympics since a bronze finish in 1984 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Rio Games are believed to provide a golden opportunity to end the 32-year drought.
Gonzalez and the U.S. will participate in Pool B of the women’s group, which includes Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, Japan and India. Argentina is ranked second in the world, with Australia sitting in third.
From Aug. 6-13, Team USA will play five games against each of its pool opponents, looking to earn a spot in the women’s quarterfinals on Aug. 15.
Here is the full schedule for the Americans:
|Saturday||August 6||vs. Argentina||4 p.m. (EST)|
|Monday||August 8||vs. Australia||9 a.m. (EST)|
|Wednesday||August 10||vs. Japan||4 p.m. (EST)|
|Thursday||August 11||vs. India||6:30 p.m. (EST)|
|Saturday||August 13||vs. Great Britain||5 p.m. (EST)|
|Monday||August 15||Women's Quarterfinals||TBA|
|Wednesday||August 17||Women's Semifinals||TBA|
|Friday||August 19||Women's Gold/Bronze||TBA|
Rio is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. All above times reflect that difference.
Gonzalez, a 2011 UConn graduate, is a two-time NFHCA First Team All-American and four-time All-Region selection. The Huskies reached the NCAA Tournament in each year of her career, with a 2011 trip to the NCAA semifinals. She was also a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
In the 2012 London Games, Team USA won just a single match against Argentina – dropping the other five and putting it out of medal contention. With Gonzalez leading the way, the Rio Olympics are bound to be more agreeable with the U.S. National Team.
Visit uconnhuskies.com and follow @UConnFHockey on Twitter for updates throughout the Olympic Games.
The opening ceremony will take place on Friday at 7 p.m. (EST) and can be watched on NBC/NBC Sports or followed on the NBC Olympics website.