Holland, Team USA Conclude Junior World Cup Play

Georgia Holland. (photo courtesy USA Field Hockey)
Georgia Holland. (photo courtesy USA Field Hockey)

U.S. Ties Best Finish in History

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Rising senior midfielder/back Georgia Holland (Stony Brook, N.Y.) and Team USA concluded play at the Junior World Cup this past Sunday in Mönchengladbach, Germany. The U.S. won its final game, 4-2 over South Africa, to finish in seventh place -- tied for the team's best finish in the event's history.

"I am very proud of Georgia, as well as Team USA, and their success at the Junior World Cup! It is an incredible opportunity to represent your country," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "Only a very few ever get to wear 'USA' across their chest. I know it was an amazing experience for Georgia and her teammates. I would not be surprised if we see some of the young women who competed for Team USA at the 2013 Junior World Cup in the red, white and blue at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio."

Holland and her U.S. teammates opened the pool play portion of the tournament on July 27 with a 4-1 win vs. Korea, a country that has won the Junior World Cup twice. The U.S. then lost to the defending champion Netherlands 5-1 and finished pool play with a 6-0 win vs. Ghana in which Holland scored a goal.

The team's 2-1 record in pool play earned the U.S. a spot in the quarterfinals, where the Americans fell to Argentina 2-0.

After falling in the quarterfinals, the U.S. played Australia in a 5-8 placement match and lost 4-1. The team then finished with the win over South Africa to claim seventh place. The Netherlands beat Argentina for the gold, winning via a shootout (4-2).

This is the sixth Junior World Cup tournament. The tournament is held every four years and features the top players 21 and younger from 16 countries. The only other time the U.S. finished this high in the final standings was a seventh-place finish in 2005 (in Santiago, Chile).

Playing in the Junior World Cup was an even more impressive accomplishment given that Holland, the captain of the Yale field hockey team, is coming back from an injury that cost her the final 14 games of the 2012 Yale season. That injury came just a day before she was set to depart for Guadalajara, Mexico, to play for the United States at the Junior Pan Am Championship.

"Through hard work, perseverance and determination, along with our athletic trainer Amanda Yates' commitment and guidance, Georgia was able to come back from her injury and compete at an elite level," said Stuper. "Throughout the late spring and early summer, there were numerous USA Field Hockey training and competition opportunities where players were constantly evaluated and eventually selected for the 2013 Junior World Cup Team. Making the team for Georgia was a dream come true and I am not surprised that she used her injury as a way to make her stronger, both physically and mentally, so that she would be up for the challenge. Undoubtedly the challenges and adversity she faced the last 10 months have made her a stronger player and leader on the field."

Holland, who was profiled on both the USA Field Hockey website and in her hometown newspaper (New York Newsday) during the tournament, was one of 18 players selected to the U.S. roster following Junior National Camp in June. For a young field hockey player, selection to the Junior World Cup roster can be a major stepping stone. Seven athletes from the U.S. roster at the previous Junior World Cup (in 2009) went on to represent the U.S. in the 2012 Olympics. That group included Melissa Gonzalez, who was an assistant coach for Yale last season.

Holland has been a rising star in the USA Field Hockey system for years. In addition to competing for the Under-21 team at the 2013 National Championship this past May, she competed for the North team at the 2012 National Championship and won the Junior National Championship with the Pennsylvania team in June of 2010. In 2010 she was also part of Olympic Development Select and the U-19 National Team, taking part in a tour of Argentina in April. She attended Junior National Camp from 2008-2010 and was part of Futures Elite in 2009. She won National Futures Championships in 2008 and 2009. She also played for Yale associate head coach Tamara Durante, and with current Yale classmate goalie Emily Cain (Laytonsville, Md.), on the Junior Olympic Team in 2008, earning second place.

Holland has been a part of a record-breaking run by Yale in the past three years, a span that included the school's first Ivy title since 1980 (2011). In her last full season, 2011, the Bulldogs set the school records for goals (69), assists (68) and points (206). They tied the school record for wins in Ivy League play with six.

Holland was named first team All-Ivy League unanimously that year. She also earned Yale's Player of the Year award. She tied for second on the team and tied for sixth in the Ivy League in goals with nine, and tied for third on the team and tied for eighth in the league in points (9-4-22). She led the team and tied for fourth in the league with three defensive saves.

In her freshman season (2010), Holland earned Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year and second team All-Ivy League honors. She started all 17 games, scoring four goals and adding six assists.

Holland is a molecular, cellular and developmental biology major and a member of Ezra Stiles College. She is a three-time NFHCA National Academic Squad honoree and hopes to go to medical school, possibly going into orthopedic surgery. In addition to her academic work she has also been active in community service. She volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she helps mentor a local child. She also takes part in the Yale Athletics Department's Kiphuth Leadership Academy, which helps student-athletes develop leadership skills, and Yale's Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Prior to Yale she attended Ward Melville.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity