ODU Has Three Representatives at This Year's Pan-Am Games for Field Hockey
By ODU Athletics
Old Dominion University field hockey will have a big presence at the 2019 Pan American games being played in Lima, Peru. ODU is one of five schools to feature multiple players on the women’s team, while Christian DeAngelis, a male practice player for the Monarchs, is on the men’s national team.
Danielle Grega, a 2017 ODU graduate, and Kealsie Robles, a 2018 graduate, will participate in the games for the women’s team.
“It’s exciting, just having this experience and going to such a big event is incredible,” Grega said. “I’m one of the younger players on the team so I don’t really have any expectations but I’m just going to go and work hard. This is such an important tournament for us.”
The United States opens its Pan-Am games today against Mexico. This will be both players’ first international championship tournament. Grega has been with the team for nearly a full year, while Robles joined the squad in January.
“It’s a dream come true for me to be on this team,” Grega said. “Since college I realized I wanted to play at this level to be able to play with some of the best players and play against some of the best players in the world, it’s such a high level of hockey, it’s competitive but rewarding at the same time.”
Old Dominion field hockey head coach Andrew Griffiths has seen Grega’s development first hand, and has watched her grow as a player.
“Danielle is a dynamic player, and she has worked hard to develop her game to where she is now,” Griffiths said. “She has a starting role on the team as a forward, and was leading goal scorer for them in the FIH Pro League.”
Grega scored 26 career goals in her four years at Old Dominion and was twice named to the all-region team. Grega joined the ODU program in Griffiths’ second year at the helm.
“Coach Griffiths was such a big impact on my play at ODU, he helped me a lot,” Grega said. “At ODU we played some of the best teams in the country so having played against that competition helped me excel at this level.”
Grega also has some company on the national teammate with Robles. Robles has played in six games with the national team since joining full-time earlier this year.
“I love it. When I heard she was on the team it was awesome,” Grega said. It’s someone you know, you know their style of hockey, their personality from spending time with them in college. It’s nice to have fun with each other and just reminisce from college. I enjoy it a lot.”
“Kealsie went straight from ODU last season, directly into the National Team program, playing games against the best in the world right away,” Griffiths said. “That is a challenging step for any athlete, and Kealsie’s positive approach made it work for her.”
DeAngelis is the youngest player on the men’s team, but the 20-year old already has 26 career games played with the national team.
“It really helps, the older guys are giving me advice and making each thing better for me,” DeAngelis said.
Griffiths is excited to watch DeAngelis play in the Pan-Am games.
“Christian has been consistently selected to the USA men’s national team this past year,” Griffiths said. “I’m excited to see him play in the Pan-Am Games for the US - with all of the work that he has put in here at ODU, as well as his travel with the US team, the tournament will be a great reward for him.”