Tiger GK Marlise Van Tonder to play in Hockey World Cup

Tiger GK Marlise Van Tonder to play in Hockey World Cup

 

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Pacific Tiger, Marlise Van Tonder, was selected to South Africa's World Cup squad for the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup in London.  She becomes the first Pacific player in the 41-year history of the program to be selected for the World Cup and is one of only two active NCAA field hockey players to represent their country in the competition.

 

"The experience I'll gain at the World Cup is something I will bring through to the team at Pacific," Van Tonder said. "The confidence boost that I gained through the selection is something I will look to bring through with me and hopefully that will give us as a team at Pacific confidence in defense, allowing us to build on last year's performance."

 

Her performances in 2017 helped Pacific win its third consecutive America East West Division championship. Van Tonder played in every minute of every game for the Tigers in goal this season posting a 5.68 saves per game average, good for 24th in the nation and third best in the America East. She posted two shutouts on the season, just one short of a four-way tie for the most in the Conference. On September 24, she posted a 20-save performance against Boston College in a double-overtime thriller. It was the single-game high for all America East goalkeepers in 2017 and the fourth-most in the nation.

 

Van Tonder took a sabbatical from Pacific this spring to play and train full time in South Africa.

 

"I had taken a semester off to train full time in South Africa. It was a tough decision to make as it was a big gamble and I had grown so close to the team at Pacific and was truly enjoying the hockey," She said.

 

Van Tonder recently won the 2018 Inter Provincial Tournament with her team, Southern Gauteng. Her strong performances in the spring earned her a spot on South Africa's World Cup roster and an opportunity to take on the world's 16 best field hockey teams.

 

"What an honor for Marlise to be selected for the world cup. She is clearly one of the best goalkeepers in the world and this backs up that opinion," Pacific head coach Andy Smith said. "I am especially proud of the way she has bounced back after her non-selection for the commonwealth games. She has improved her game immensely over the last nine months and I am eager to watch her in London. Hopefully, this sends a message to everyone that Pacific is a place where you can come and study and also chase and achieve your national team goals."

 

Van Tonder and her South African teammates begin the Hockey Women's World Cup on July 21 against Germany.

 

"The experience I'll gain at the World Cup is something I will bring through to the team at Pacific," Van Tonder said. "The confidence boost that I gained through the selection is something I will look to bring through with me and hopefully that will give us as a team at Pacific confidence in defense, allowing us to build on last year's performance."

 

"Making the World Cup team is an absolute dream come true," Van Tonder said.  "I've been working hard both on and off the field on a physical and mental side so seeing it payoff is absolutely amazing."