by Megan Schneider

Fast-paced. Run-and-gun.

The U.S. World Cup training teamís depth and athleticism enables players to push the ball in transition, creating fast breaks from which crease attacker Alex Aust frequently benefits.

In these situations, Aust either sprints to get ahead of the play or receives the ball in transition ó always wary of the crease as she careens toward the goal.

ďItís about knowing your speed and the distance between you and defender,Ē Aust said. ďIf your defenders are far away and you have time to slow down to stop your feet, then great. If not, then itís having that happy medium of getting the shot off before your defender gets there, while also getting as close to the goal as possible.Ē

Finest Finesse

1. Catch the ball. Don't think about shooting until you know you have the ball in your stick.

2. Get to the crease. Keep your head up to know when to break down your feet and when your defender is coming to crash.

3. See the net and the goalie to determine where and how to throw your fake.

4. Use your whole body to sell the fake and your wrists to execute it, move the goalie and shoot before she can reset her position.

5. Finish. Place the ball with finesse, not power.