Friday, January 29, 2010

Game Time

We are now in the midst of our test series with Holland and China. Today will be our first test with China, as we have already battled through a scrimmage and test match with Holland.

Sunday saw the first match up against the number one team in the world. No doubt the Dutch showed us in that first game why they won the Gold in Beijing. After three 25 minute periods, they had put in 5 goals on us, with us struggling to make anything happen with our attack. We proceeded to play an overtime period (golden goal) for practice. This was a tale of two very different teams. With a new mentality, in which we know we can compete with anyone, whether the previous scoreline shows this or not, we knotted one just 4 minutes into the first overtime. This was quite a shock to the Dutch who hadn't seen much action in their defensive end all game. It was a major step in the direction our team has been striving to go, and we were very excited to end on a positive note. A round of stokes still followed though. After one round, five strokers, it was tied 4-4. Followed by sudden death, Holland capitalized on their first chance, and we unfortunately didn't, leaving the final at 5-4. Although the score fails to show the steps we have taken as a team over the past year or so, we knew just how much positive we could take out of this game.

Building off of this first performance, our first real test match against Holland showed vast improvement. Our mentality and belief is one of our strongest attributes as a team. When it is present, it shows in our play on the field. Despite what has occurred in previous games against Holland, we went out on this day to win. The Dutch took an early lead just minutes in off a quick counter due to poor decision making on our part. We responded though with a goal of our own. Before the half was over, Holland yet again took advantage of a mistake in our backfield giving them the 2-1 lead going into break. The second half led to a multitude of chances that did quite return in our favor. Although we challenged the Dutch and kept them under tight pressure for the rest of the game, they proved their number one ranking with a pair of drag flick goals to end the game at 4-1. As a team, we know that this match was fairly evenly played, and that with a few adjustments (in particular, cleaning up a few unforced errors and finishing on a few more chances) the outcome can be much different.

Today is a new day though. With a few practices this week and a day off yesterday, we are fresh and ready to go for our next challenge, China. On mornings before games, we all have rituals or things we like to do. Often you will find people filling out the crossword, reading, or playing cribbage (Maren hehe); anything that is relaxing, yet still engaging. This morning I decided to go for a walk around the center. It's a beautiful day here and it was nice to just clear my head, loosen my legs up, and enjoy nature. But now it's time for the crossword before our pregame meeting!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rain rain rain

Hello All!!

Week two updates comes amidst one of the craziest storms I've ever seen in California! (Although in all honesty, it's pretty tame compared to the hundreds I've been in back east.) This is SoCal though and neither the natives nor the land is quite prepared for a storm like this. Unfortunately it has also greatly affected our training schedule this week, limiting the number of times we have been able to get on the field (it is flooded) and practice in preparation for our big games this coming weekend/week.

Staying true to one of our team mottos: adapt and adjust, we have found a way to continue our progress and stay flexible with our schedule.

In the mean time, my roommates (Lauren Pfeiffer, Maren Ford, and Melanie Brill) and I have been finding plenty of ways to keep busy! Daily crosswords are nothing new, but we have given a bit more attention to this endeavor. Reading and movie time has increased in recent days as well. All in all, we have enjoyed some quality bonding time! Today we even found a little time to go bowling to get out of our rooms and away from the training center.

Although it is supposed to continue raining and thunder storming all day tomorrow, we already have plans of watching and analyzing video on our upcoming opponents. There are always other ways to prepare besides on field preparation, and we plan on taking full advantage of the time indoors to not only rest, but better understand the game of field hockey.

That's all for now from rainy California!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week One 2010

First week back of training for 2010. It’s the start of a new decade and a new team that has evolved a lot since the Olympics in 2008. With a lot of fresh faces joining us this past fall, and many returning to the team this spring, the energy surrounding the start of the year and the training block for this World Cup year was high. Personally, I was excited to get back out on the turf in preparation for our first game of the year, which is now only a week away!

The first week was a tough one, as it always is after being away from the team. It is hardly “time off” when we are away because we remain diligent in our fitness/running and lifting, even though we take a little time away from the pitch. Getting back into “hockey shape”, as we call it, takes about a week or so, and we definitely feel the soreness in week one. The first week looked a little like this:

Day 1(Monday): Practice in the morning- mostly to get our touch back on the ball and get used to playing with everyone again. Lifting in the afternoon- which was a hard lift, building on what we had done away from the team

Day 2(Tuesday): Practice in the morning. Running and small games (7 aside) in the afternoon.

Day 3(Wednesday): Recovery run- 40 minutes

Day 4(Thursday): Fitness testing in the morning. Full game in the afternoon.

Day 5(Friday): Corner practice and running in the morning.

Day 6(Saturday): Recovery run- 4 minutes

Day 7(Sunday): (today) REST DAY!

This is a typical week for us (except Thursday usually consists of a practice and a lift), although, our schedule for the next month is going to be quite different because we are playing so many games (which is awesome!!!) J

Even with such a rigorous program, we do find a little time here and there to do some fun things. This week I had a chance to go to dinner with my cousins who live in the San Diego area, went to see Avatar (GREAT MOVIE!!), attend our coach’s 40th birthday celebration, and root for the Chargers (my new hometown team! even if that was a rough game today).

I will update more in the coming week and keep you posted on how our preparation and matches are going.