Harrogate’s Sam Swenson selected for All-American Hockey squads after impressing at University of Michigan

Sam Swenson in goal for the University of Michigan
Sam Swenson in goal for the University of Michigan
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A former Harrogate Hockey Club player has revealed her shock at being selected to the national representative student squads in the United States.

Shot stopper Sam Swenson has become the first student from the University of Michigan to earn a place in the All-American squads after an imperious year in net.

Swenson had the best save percentage across American last year

Swenson had the best save percentage across American last year

The All-American programme sees the best students in the States combine abilities. Swenson will be part of the second team.

The 20-year-old’s selection completes a long line of accolades which also saw her feature on the All-West Regional and All-Big Ten Conference first teams.

Swenson, who attended Ashville College, said: “It means a lot.

“It was very unexpected, and it makes me very proud to be recognised.”

The former England U21 international helped the University of Michigan reach the All-American quarter-finals in 2015

The former England U21 international helped the University of Michigan reach the All-American quarter-finals in 2015

The goalkeeper is in her second year playing across the pond and was one of the University of Michigan’s stand out performers as the team reached the quarter-finals of the national competition.

She recorded the best save percentage in the United States college programme and played a part in 10 clean sheets.

She was also named as the Big Ten Conference defensive player of the week four times across the season.

A University of Michigan spokesman said: “Sam was particularly big in big games.

“She earned a career-best 14 saves in our 4-3 comeback win in double overtime at Northwestern, including eight saves in overtime. ”

Swenson rose through the ranks at Harrogate Hockey Club and spent two years in the first team between 2012 and 2014.

She has represented England at U18s and U21s level and was part of the Pennine Pumas squad at the 2012 England Hockey Futures Cup.

Last season, she started 22 matches in goal for Michigan.

The former England U21s player said: “I’ve definitely become a lot more confident in my game, and my skills have improved quite a bit.

“I’m able to execute my skills better and be more confident in when to use them.

“I’ve also got a lot better with my communications with my teammates in front of me, which helps organise the play before it gets down to the intense stuff in the circle. That calms me down, helps me feel more in control.”

English teammate Lauren Thomas, from Aylesbury, has also been selected for the All-American squads and Swenson credited their partnership in defence as one of the reasons for her success.

On the difference between American and English hockey, Swenson added: “The terminology is different and some styles of play, but in the end you’re still just trying to put the ball in the goal.

“I feel lucky that I have Lauren Thomas from England right in front of me. We have a similar background and mindset. She understands what I’m saying.

“I went through that transition last year, learned the terminology, practised it, and now it feels very ingrained.

“I think that was a big factor in helping my confidence this year.”