USA Field Hockey will present its largest single-venue National Indoor Tournament ever when 152 age-group teams descend on the new Virginia Beach Convention Center, 9-11 March 2007.

The 516,000 square-foot Convention Center will play host to approximately 1,450 athletes in under-19, under-16 and under-14 age divisions playing a faster, tighter version of the outdoor game.

“This is a great facility for the National Indoor Tournament and, of course, Virginia Beach is a great area for field hockey,” said USA Field Hockey Assistant Executive Director Karen Collins. "The sport continues to grow in this area and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Prior to the availability of the vast Convention Center space, the National Indoor Tournament had traditionally been spread out over multiple spring weekends and often utilized multiple venues. In addition to the age group tournaments, USA Field Hockey will host a separate adult women’s tournament March 17-18 at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. 

The National Tournament features some of the nation's top athletes including USA U21 team member Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y./Southern Tier Strikers) and NFHCA High School All-America first team selections Bryn Bain (Berlin, N.J./Spirit USA North), Amy Daniel (Mountaintop, Pa./Majestyx), Devon Gagliardi (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Majestyx), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan lake, N.Y./Hudson Valley White), Rachel Jennings (Emmaus, Pa./Firestyx), Tara Jennings (Emmaus, Pa./Firestyx), Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa./Valley Styx Red).

Members of USA Field Hockey's U21 originally scheduled to attend the tournament including Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa./Xcalibur Justice),  Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa./Strikers I), Megan Dean (Marathon, N.Y.) and Katie Reinprecht (North Wales, Pa./Mystx Storm) and Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa./Valley Styx Orange) will miss the even while competing for the USA against the China U21 team, March 10-18 in Shanghai.

Initiated in 1980, the National Indoor Tournament has quickly become one of the sport’s premier off-season events. Once considered no more than a wintertime diversion, the game has grown to a full-time devotion for athletes looking to hone their skills and impress collegiate recruiters. The popularity of the event has spawned a qualification process where Under-19 and Under-16 teams earn berths in the National Tournament through performances at regional qualifying events held throughout the winter.

The tournament features teams from 12 states including California, Delaware, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Host-state Virginia has 15 entries in the tournament including U14 teams Rampage (Centreville), Peninsula Storm (Gloucester), Tidewater Thriller (Yorktown) and Typhoon Canes (Fredericksburg). Under-16 division entries from Virginia include Beach Premier Breakers (Virginia Beach), Beach Premier Riptides (Virginia Beach), Rampage White and Rampage Black (Centreville), Flash (Yorktown), Peninsula Power (Gloucester) and Spartan Elite White (Virginia Beach). The state’s U19 entries include Spartan Elite Blue (Virginia Beach), Rampage White (Centreville), Dominion Elite (Midlothian) and Typhoon Vector (Fredericksburg).

A furiously paced version of the outdoor game, indoor field hockey features six players on a team trying to push a ball into the opposing team’s goal. Players use special indoor sticks that are thinner and flatter than their outdoor counterparts and must “push,” rather than “hit” the ball while attempting to score.

Schedules, rosters and results for the National Indoor Tournament are available at the USA Field Hockey website at www.usfieldhockey.com/indoor

Source: US Field Hockey