USA: 2024 Junior Nexus Championship Kicks Off With U-14 Girls Division

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The 2024 Junior Nexus Championship (NXC), presented by Osaka Hockey, got started in Virginia Beach, Va. this past weekend with the U-14 Girls division. Sixteen teams of talented players selected from the Nexus program gathered to participate in practices and compete in games, with Vancouver claiming the top spot.

Implemented last year, the 2024 Nexus Championship now encompasses the entire junior and senior pathway. This year’s Junior NXC runs from July 6-14, while the Senior NXC will take place from July 14-16.

The U-14 Girls NXC athletes participated in three days of highly competitive matches, gaining insight from new teammates while being led by some of the top coaching talent. The young athletes from around the country showed off their skills in front of selectors, coaches and fans as they competed for evaluation to further opportunities. Congratulations to all the athletes for their hard work and dedication the last few days.

The two teams that made it to the gold medal match were Vancouver and Amsterdam. Vancouver got on the board early, earning a penalty corner in the tenth minute that was taken and converted by Elizabeth Leith (Malvern, Pa.). Amsterdam buckled down on their defense after that, keeping their opponent off the board for nearly the remainder of the match. It was the 54th minute when Vancouver’s Vivianna Lee (West Chester, Pa.) sent a shot into the corner from the top right of the circle, doubling the team’s lead. The final goal of the match came with 23 seconds remaining, as Vancouver notched one more when Leith snuck the ball past the goalkeeper on a penalty corner, assisted by Ella Neff (Houston, Texas). Vancouver claimed the gold with a 3-0 shutout against Amsterdam.

After both falling by just one goal in the semifinals – Salt Lake City in a 4-3 loss to Vancouver and Paris in a 2-1 loss to Amsterdam – the two teams would battle it out for the bronze. 12 minutes into the first quarter, Salt Lake City tallied their first goal in what would be a dominant performance. Ellison Pollock (Hummelstown, Pa.) sent in her rebounded shot and Harriet Ritchie (Rockville, Md.) was able to get a touch on it, putting the team up 1-0.

Salt Lake City’s next goal would come 5 minutes into the second frame, when Jagger Graham (Baldwin, Md.) nailed a reverse shot. A penalty corner chance halfway through the third put Salt Lake City up 3-0, this time by Louisa Maggard (Larchmont, N.Y.). At the 43-minute mark, Lyla Ryon (Factoryville, Pa.) made it 4-0 when she pushed a rebounded ball past the Paris goalkeeper. The fifth and final goal came when Ryon sent a ball across to Kennedy Cline (Parkton, Md.), who finished it in the cage, as Salt Lake City finished third with a 5-0 victory.

USA Field Hockey would like to thank all the athletes, coaches, umpires, technical staff, umpire managers, Nexus staff and volunteers who continue to make the U-14 Girls NXC a success. Congratulations to this year’s winners!


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