Oct. 8, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - Former University of Connecticut field hockey standouts Melissa Gonzalez and Rayell Heistand helped the USA Field Hockey National Team take second place at the 2012 Champions Challenge. Team USA advanced to the gold-medal match against Australia with a 2-1 victory over Ireland on Saturday afternoon in Dublin.
The team dropped the gold medal match to Australia on Sunday.
Gonzalez, a two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, has already been a member of Team USA and competed with the squad in the 2012 London Olympics. Gonzalez scored 27 goals and had 14 assists for 68 points during her career at UConn and led the Huskies to four NCAA Tournaments and advanced to the 2007 National Semifinals and the 2010 Quarterfinal. Connecticut took home the championship hardware from two BIG EAST Tournaments and won the 2007 and 2008 BIG EAST Regular Season Championship. The 2010 Mideast Region Player of the Year, Gonzalez is one of only five Huskies to hear All-Mideast Region status four times.
Heistand, a 2012 graduate of UConn, will make her National Team debut in Ireland after being a member of the US Development Squad since July. Heistand was honored as a Second Team All-America for the second-straight time in 2011. Heistand was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection in each of the last two seasons and was the 2011 Preseason BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. Heistand was a three-time All-Mideast Region selection.
The Americans came out on top in pool play and then defeated Wales in the quarterfinal to set up the semifinal victory over the host nation, Ireland.