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U.S. women's field hockey team returning to Olympics

U.S. women's field hockey team returning to Olympics

The U.S. women's field hockey team is going back to the Olympics in Paris this summer after missing out on the Tokyo Games.

The Americans clinched a spot in the 12-team tournament after beating Japan 2-1 in the semifinals of a last-chance qualifier in India, where the top three nations earn Olympic berths.

Ashley Hoffman scored two fourth-quarter goals to overtake the Japanese.

The U.S., ranked 24th in the world, went 4-0 in this week's tournament, beating three teams ranked above them — India (No. 3), New Zealand (10) and Japan (15).

Had the U.S. lost to Japan, it would have had one last chance to qualify for Paris in a third-place game against India or Germany (ranked fifth in the world).

The U.S. has won one Olympic medal (bronze in 1984), then placed eighth in the 1988 Seoul Games.

It didn't qualify for an Olympics again until 2008 (aside from getting in automatically as host nation in 1996). The U.S. competed in three consecutive Games from 2008 through 2016 with a best finish of fifth.

For Tokyo Olympic qualifying, India beat the U.S. 6-5 in a two-leg aggregate in the Americans' last chance to qualify.

Nobody from the 18-player roster from this week's qualifier have Olympic experience. The oldest player is 28-year-old Karlie Kisha.

The to-be-named Olympic roster will be 16 players.

Erin Matson, the most famous name currently in U.S. field hockey, did not play for the national team this year. At North Carolina, she won four NCAA Championships and three NCAA Player of the Year awards from 2018-22.

She was then named head coach in 2023 and in November became one of the youngest head coaches in NCAA history across all sports to win a national title.

"The door (to playing for Team USA) is not closed, but it's not open," she said in November, according to Olympics.com. "If the stars align and there's a possibility, you know, to do it someday and represent my country again then my athletic director, he knows if we can make it work and if it's the right timing with the right people, with the right resources, you know, then let's do it."