Orobono makes US team
Emmaus junior Madison Orobono got involved in playing indoor field hockey as a way to keep playing the sport after her high school season ended.
That desire turned into an opportunity that put her on a world stage as part of the United States Women’s National Indoor Team that for the first time ever, played in the FIH Women’s Indoor World Hockey World Cup in Germany last month.
While the U.S. didn’t qualify for the quarterfinals, the team certainly made its mark, picking up a gold medal at the Pan Am Cup in Georgetown, Guyana, that sent them on to Berlin for the World Cup play with Orobono as a part of the team.
“For me, it was a lot of fun because I was playing with a lot of women older than I am and I got to play with some of my close friends,” said Orobono, who has been a part of two state championship teams at Emmaus. “To be able to play in the World Cup and for world rankings was really cool. It was unreal, especially since it was the U.S.A.’s first time in the World Cup. Thinking ‘I’m a part of this’ was pretty amazing.”
When Orobono says she played with women older than her, she’s not just talking about a year or two. That kind of competition she’s already faced on the high school field. At just 16 years old, she was the youngest player in the tournament and was playing against women who were twice her age in some instances and had a lot more experience playing the indoor version of the game, which is much different than playing on grass or turf.
Her coach at the U.S. level, Jun Kentwell, told her to go out, play hard and act like she was older than the competition she was facing.
The indoor game is played on tile, making the game much faster, but for Orobono, the adjustment period is over and she’s adapted to the game both in terms of how it’s played and having to face older competition.
“Outdoor is 11 players and indoor is six players, including the goalie, and the courts are a lot shorter,” said Orobono. “It takes a lot of getting used to, but for me, I’ve gotten used to it. Skills-wise, it’s a lot different because you have to be a lot sharper with your skills. It was kind of crazy because even body-wise, I’m a lot smaller than everyone that was there, so I had to stand my ground and be a lot stronger.”
Even though she was younger and smaller than her competition, it wasn’t like Orobono was just along for the ride. She was able to score a goal in the Pan Am Games and three more in the World Cup competition.
As great as the feeling of playing for a state championship was, stepping onto a world stage was beyond anything that Orobono could have imagined and she realizes that her opportunities to play at that level may be limited. Next season will be her senior high school season and she’s hoping that she will be able to have the schedule work out so that she will still be able to try out for the National Indoor Team again in the fall of 2018.
“They’re very different,” she said. “Winning the state championship was really special because I got to do it with a lot of my friends and I was doing it for my school and I had a lot of supporters. Playing in the World Cup is something you don’t get to do a lot and not everyone gets that experience, so you have to take advantage of what you get. I think the experience really helped me grow as a player and I can always refer back to it and use what I learned in the future.”
The United States finished 10th out of 12 teams in the World Cup. Germany took the gold medal, the Netherlands took silver and Belarus took bronze in the competition.