Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Woods to World Cup -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
NICOLE WOODS ON USA FIELD HOCKEY WORLD CUP SQUAD
To represent your country on the International stage. To be considered one of the best 18 players in the nation and making one of the 16 squads that will compete for the World Cup. It is a very prestigious and high honor in Field Hockey and Louisville's Nicole Woods will be one of the Americans participating in London, England beginning July 21th to vie for the title.
Woods, who graduated in 2017 from UofL, is the second Cardinal to be selected for the event. Goalkeeper Ayeshia McFerran will play for the Irish squad. Both the USA and Ireland are in the same pool and will meet each other in first round competition on July 19th.
Louisville head coach Justine Sowry must be bursting at the seams with pride for the two.
In a recent interview, she indicated to Cardinal Couple that she'd be traveling to the event as a spectator to see her two play.
Woods has had a storied career at Louisville. The Beverly, MA. native has earned 24 caps in her Field Hockey career. She helped the USA squad qualify for the World Cup when USA won the 2017 World League Semifinals. She also went with USWNT for matches against The Netherlands, Chile and Argentina.
At UofL, Woods was selected for NFHCA All-American honors in 2017. In her career, she was a three-time NFHCA All-West Region selection. A three-time ACC selection, Woods finished her student-athlete time with the Cards as the ninth-highest in history in career points and assists. Louisville advanced to the ACC Championships in 2017 with an upset win over Duke at Trager Field.
For Nicole, it came down to either Field Hockey or Ice Hockey as she entered her junior year at Beverly High School. She ultimately chose the "un-frozen" sport and one of the reasons was because of having "to put on that wet and cold ice hockey suit."
A life-long New England Patriots fan, Nicole made no effort to hide that in her four years at Louisville...often seen in a Pats hat, sweatshirt or Brady or Gronk jersey. She's also a big fan of musical rockers U-2. Unlike Bono or The Edge...it does look like Nicole has found what she's searching for...she got her degree in middle and senior high school education and aspires to teach.
The USA will compete in one of four pools in the World Cup. Each pool has four participants. In Pool B, the USA squad joins #10 India and #16 Ireland. With a #7 World ranking, USA is also in the pool with #2 England, who took the 2016 Olympic Gold in Rio.
The USA squad returns six players who competed in the 2014 World Cup. The Netherlands drew the #1 ranking for the 16-team format. Those Dutch have an impressive record in both the World Cup and Olympics....winning seven World Cup titles since 1974 and three golds in the Olympics since 1980. As assistant UofL coach Lucas Piccioli once expained to me...Field Hockey is...in The Netherlands what the NCAA College Football season is here in the United States.
The World Cup format consists of one game against each of your pool opponents. The USA faces Ireland on Saturday, July 21st, England on July 25th. and India on Sunday, July 25th. The quarterfinals begin Aug. 1st. and the final is set for August 5th.
We'll monitor the USA's progress here at Cardinal Couple and hope that Nicole and her teammates can advance out of their pool play and make Field Hockey's Final Four in 2018.