-January 26,  2018 East Grand Rapids Varsity field hockey goalkeeper Susannah “Suzy” Deems’ has led nationally ranked high school club team,  “Fer De Lance” of Ann Arbor, MI successfully through the National U-19 Qualifying Tournament in Louisville Kentucky last week.  Playing 6 games in one day,  Fer De Lance lost the first game to International Field Hockey Club of Kentucky but won each game that followed, qualifying them to advance to the U-19 National Championship Tournament that will occur in Richmond Virginia, February 22-25.  Deems says she was grateful to share the Goalkeeper position for Fer De Lance with Junior Chiane Pruesser from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School.  “It is intense and exhausting mentally and physically to play that many games in one day.  To have a partner in this position to relieve you is rare.  Coach challenged us to support and help each other prepare for this day and pushed each other hard to deliver our best for the team today. ” The two keepers were kept busy; fighting off 10-30 shots a game from skilled teams yet allowing only 4 goals and managed two shut outs.

Players join club or travel teams to be able to play field hockey year-round, gain experience on a regional and national level, and improve their technique, reflexes, speed and overall fitness by playing with athletes that are highly motivated in their sport.   The time and financial commitment to play a club sport is significant for a family, and one Deems’ parents did not take lightly.  Despite “years of pleading”, Deems waited until her Junior year before allowing her to pursue club field hockey, when she made a decision to pursue collegiate opportunities and needed more opportunities and experience.

Fast forward a year, and Deems is training 3 days a week on the other side of the state; being trained by coaches who have dedicated their lives to the sport, olympic field hockey players and assistant coaches at U of Michigan Field Hockey:  Ryan and Meren Langford.  As they prepare a small but ferocious team of 16-18 year olds for the biggest U.S. field hockey event of the year, Deems seems more eager than worried, despite a daunting challenge ahead.   The best thing about the upcoming 3-day National Championship Tournament in Richmond?   She replies “Definitely the great competition we’ll face. ”

We wish EGRFH’s Suzy Deems and Fer De Lance good luck!  For USA Field Hockey coverage and results of the National Field Hockey. ChampionshipsFebruary 23-24-25 from the Richmond Convention Center:visit  https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Field-Hockey