U.S. Men Bounce Back to Win Bronze : Field hockey: Three area players to continue training in Australia after Olympic hopes faded in earlier loss to Canada.
Having been all but eliminated in its bid to compete in the 1992 Olympics, the U.S. men’s field hockey team, which includes several players from Ventura County, dominated Barbados, 7-1, Thursday to win the Pan American Games bronze medal.
Dropping a 4-2 decision to Canada on Wednesday virtually knocked the U.S. men out of contention for a berth in the 1992 Games in Barcelona. The U.S. could have qualified for the Olympics by winning a gold medal.
An additional qualifying tournament, to be staged in New Zealand in October, offers a last chance, but it is doubtful that the United States will be able to prepare and send a full team to that tournament.
“We were upset,” said goaltender Tom Vano of Simi Valley. “We have worked so hard. But it was a good game overall for us. This is the best U.S. team we’ve ever had at a Pan American Games.”
The U.S. men had tied both Argentina and Chile and had defeated Trinidad and Tobago, 2-0, and Guyana, 3-1, earlier in the tournament. Some team members now will retire, but the others will stick with the Olympic effort.
“The majority of us are looking forward to 1996,” Vano said. “We have high hopes.”
Three are going to Australia to train--Vano, Larry Amar of Camarillo and Ben Maruquin of Ventura. They will live in Perth in Western Australia and train at a club there, supported in part by grants from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“Our initial goal was the ’92 Olympics,” Vano said. “Now we hope to be in the top 10 in ’96. We’ll be more mature in the game.”
They will regroup at the new USOC Training Center in San Diego, which is still under construction. National Coach Richard Purser said three senior players had not been able to train with the team, which came to Cuba directly from the World University Games in England.
“We lost to Canada because of inexperience,” Purser said. “We were 2-2 and gave up an easy ball. I told them (at 2-2) that the team with the next score will win. Canada made it 3-2 and the game was over.”