Trio of Deacons Named Field Hockey Olympians
June 12, 2012
By Currie McFayden, WakeForestSports.com (@SIDeacons)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Former Wake Forest student-athletes Lauren Crandall, Claire Laubach and Michelle Kasold have been named to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Field Hockey squad as announced by Coach Lee Bodimeade. Crandall, who also competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, is slated to serve as the team's captain for the competition in London.
"I am thrilled to be a part of a team that will be competing for our country in the Olympics. Having the opportunity to compete in my second Olympics is an unbelievable feeling," said Crandall. "Our 2008 team was disappointed with an eighth-place finish. Therefore, I feel as though we have unfinished business at the Olympic games. We are a young team, a rising country and have a lot to prove in these upcoming games."
Laubach, the eldest of the trio of former Deacons, was a member of all three of Wake Forest's NCAA Championship teams from 2002 to 2004. She recorded 85 appearances during her stellar career, logging starts in all but one of those contests. Her contributions on defense made the Deacs a force to be reckoned with, both in the ACC and nationally. The Laubach-led defense notched an extraordinary 38 shutouts during her four-year tenure, including the wins over Penn State (2-0 in 2002) and Duke (3-0 in 2004) that sealed a pair of national championships for Wake Forest. Laubach finished her career with 18 goals and 24 assists before joining the national team in 2005.
Hailing from Doylestown, Pa., Crandall enters the 2012 London Olympics as one of the most experienced members of the national team. Her 173 international caps sit just behind Rachel Dawson, who leads the squad with 181, and she is one of seven athletes who will be returning to the team after competing in Beijing four years ago. Crandall joined Wake Forest in 2003 and played four seasons for the Deacs, starting all but one of her 86 appearances in the black and gold. While she is now a defender on the U.S. squad, she competed as a midfielder during her collegiate career and earned back-to-back spots on the NFHCA First Team All-American squads in 2005 and 2006. Crandall earned a pair of NCAA title rings in 2003 and 2004 and came very close to claiming a third in 2006 when Wake Forest dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Maryland in the national title match.
Kasold rounds out the trio and is the most recent Deacon, having played her final season in 2008. She remains the school's all-time leader in both career assists (60) and assists in a single season (30 in 2008) and was instrumental in helping Wake Forest reach the national title match in 2008. Kasold started an astounding 92 contests for the Deacs over her four-year career and, in addition to holding the school record for assists, also sits in fourth place all-time with 51 total goals. She was named a three-time NFHCA First Team All-American and earned spots on the All-ACC squad from 2006 to 2008.
All three of these former Deacons played for head coach Jennifer Averill, who will begin her 21st season at Wake Forest this fall.
"Being one of three Demon Deacons named to the team is a source of pride for our program at Wake. Jen and the coaching staff at Wake has always supported and encouraged our development, not only in the US program, but in our lives," said Crandall. "Having three of us named to the team is a direct tribute to Jen, her coaching staff and the program at Wake Forest. I cannot thank her enough for the opportunities, belief and encouragement."
The U.S. will begin play at the Olympics in London on Sunday, July 29, with a showdown against Germany. The squad will be looking to improve upon an eighth-place finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and will be seeking its first Olympic medal since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.