China tour to prove a winner for SASI stars

05 Sep 2018

RISING hockey stars Miki Spano and Euleena MacLachlan will enjoy a chance to continue their experience in the sport after being selected in the Under-23 Development team to tour Changzhou, China, in November.

Spano and MacLachlan were the two SASI athletes chosen in an 18-member team which will compete in six matches against host China, Great Britain, Germany and Chinese national champion Jiangsu.

The tour is seen as an ideal chance to develop the talent pathway of the Australian team with an aim of producing players capable of pushing for senior Olympic selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and beyond.

The touring team is made up of athletes from the 2018 National Development Squad, the National 2018 Junior Squad and the 2017 National Junior Squad.

MacLachlan, from the Barossa, said it was a thrill to be chosen in the touring team.

"It is all very exciting, all the hard work has paid off," MacLachlan, 22, said.

"The other teams will provide a high level of hockey and it should be a good challenge for all of us.

"This will be my first tour in a development squad and I will be aiming to learn and to keep progressing as much as I can."

MacLachlan, in the final year of an architect degree and working at Dash Architects, will have a busy time leading up to the tour with a short stint in New Zealand playing in the Cantebury Association competition, her first trip overseas, and then returning to line up for the Southern Suns in the Australian Hockey League.

Spano, 21, has had a hectic year already, playing in the local Super League, along with MacLachlan after enjoying a four-months stint in Holland where she played with Dutch hockey club HC Zwolle.

There, Spano played in the women’s top team as part of her development as a striker.

Spano, who played in Australia’s junior world cup team in 2016 which won a bronze medal, was SASI’s female hockey player of the year in 2017.

National Junior coach and SASI coach Tim White said both SASI athletes had done well to lock their places in the development team.

"For both Euleena and Miki this tour is just another step in their pathway," White said.

"They have earned their places on the team which will give players a chance to push for selection on senior teams. It will be a good opportunity for both of them but will be a taxing time.''

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