Tuesday, April 27, 2010


As we step back onto the field after returning from our time away, it feels surreal. We all know how hard it is to be away, seeing our family and friends, and to have to leave the comforts of these people to come back to training. It is especially difficult when we come back realizing we are no longer training in pursuit of the World Cup.

But we have all returned. As a team we choose to continue to take steps forward. We know what we need to do to progress, as individuals and as a team. We realize this is the most critical time for us to stay committed to the program and the process. Our focus returns to the short term and the upcoming Argentina series that is quickly approaching in a few weeks.

"To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Off Time

The past week and a half we haven't had practice as a team. Although most of the team has gone home (back to the East Coast) to spend some time with friends and family, I have remained out in Chula Vista a little bit longer, along with a few other teammates.

Last week was a nice break from training where I found myself living life with no plan. What I mean by that is that I would wake up everyday without a plan and come up with it as the day went along. With such a set schedule of practice the majority of the year, I love times like these where I have no requirements. On Saturday I found my way up to UCLA to watch some of the track and field athletes from the OTC compete. It isn't often that we get to see our fellow athletes in action, and it's great to have support from those who know what we go through day in and day out. It was exciting to see in person just how good they really are at what they do.

Ready to get back to work, this week our workouts began again. Those of us that are still here (there are about 5 of us) have been going out to play everyday. We know every day is another opportunity to get better even if we only spend an hour out there, it is an hour that can better us. We all agreed that we wanted to analyze our form a little more because now is the time to look at the little details, critique them, and improve on them. Today, we pulled out a video camera and videoed our shooting drills. We watched ourselves, as well as each other, to help analyze how we did. This helped tremendously to see not only our tendencies, but to correct those things that aren't where they need to be.

Although I miss my teammates, I love having a little downtime to focus on the little things and putting everything back into perspective. I am going home next week to spend a little time with my friends and family as well before we start up again, but for right now I'm enjoying exploring Southern California in ways I haven't been able to during training blocks..... More fun to come!

Sunday, April 4, 2010



Easter was exactly what I needed today! After the tournaments end yesterday, today was nice to enjoy being with people we care about and having a little fun! All week, Lauren Pfeiffer (one of my roommates) had been planning the wonderful Easter party that we would put on at our house for all those who were still in San Diego after the tourney. Needless to say, I don't think I have ever seen more candy in one place!! With 6 people living in our house, on top of 4 other teammates, as well as friends and family, who attended, there were a lot of people in our house today! It was perfect though.

After the delicious ham fest, so graciously prepared by Maren Ford's parents, we proceeded to play Easter games (which Pfeiff had all planned out! although a few were last minute additions). With approximately 20 packages of peeps, the first competition was chubby bunny with peeps. (For those of you that don't know, chubby bunny consists of putting as many of said objects, peeps in this case, in your mouth as you can). Lauren Powley started off with a good performance at 7, and it took the whole house before Rachel Dawson took the lead with 8. But Maren's dad wouldn't be outdone and crushed the field with 12 peeps! With only a few peeps left, we decided to have a contest off our balcony to see who could project their peep the furthest (and yes, we were spitting them out). The first round was easily won by Lauren Powley. The second round was much more of a competition as we all got the hang of the technique and was won by yours truly! Now, who could have Easter without an egg toss? With 6 teams (Sarah Dawson and Katie Evans; Maren Ford and her dad; Katie O'Donnell and Lauren Powley; Lauren Pfeiffer and myself; Maren's mom and Brian Schledorn) we began tossing. Sarah and Katie prevailed as the winners with Powley and OD in a close second. We definitely got a little messy on that one! (I mean we are athletes, everything turns into a competition!)

The afternoon was wonderful and allowed us to be thankful for everything we have and the people we get to enjoy it with. We were happy to spend Easter with our teammates and their families. We have all become very close over the years, so much so that this team is our family. We have spent so much time, so many birthdays, and holidays together that it just seems weird when we aren't together. As we all begin to separate for the next couple weeks, since we have a little time away from training, it will be nice to go home, but we will miss our second family. Spending one last day celebrating Easter with my teammates was exactly what I needed!


First, I want to apologize for not blogging during the World Cup Qualifying tournament. It was a hectic week in which our team went through a lot. I'll try to give you a little re-cap here.

For those of you that follow us, you know we started our tournament off with a bang and a 7-0 win against Mexico, including 7 different scorers. It was a strong performance all around, and we were all happy to get our first win under our belts. In our second game, we met France, who proved to be more of a test for us. Although not our strongest showing, we came out with a solid 4-0 win. At this point, our team was ready for our first rest day. Our bodies were beginning to feel the build-up which comes along with any major tournament.

After a nice pool workout and a relaxing morning, we had the afternoon to spend with our family and friends. Seeing as we hosted the tournament, most of our families were able to make the shorter, in-country trip to see us play. This was a major plus for us to have the support of loved ones behind us the whole tournament. These are the people who are there for us no matter what, and have got us to where we are today. Being able to have these people here with us was priceless. During this down time, a few of us attended the US Women's Soccer game against Mexico which took place at San Diego University. Personally, I know a few of the players and it's great to see your fellow national team athletes compete! And of course they won 3-0! After the game I got to see my parents, my brother Matt, and his girlfriend Holly. It was a really nice break from the hectic routine which is a major qualifying tournament.

We had to quickly refocus as a team though because we had a really important game against Belgium. We played Belgium earlier this year in Argentina and came out on top 4-0, but we all knew they were more prepared and ready to challenge us in this qualifier. Our team came out strong though. We absorbed the many different attacks the Belgians threw at us, but we were ready, and we not only found the back of the goal 3 times, we kept the ball out of our net.

Our bodies were definitely beat up after this game and another much needed rest day proceeded our biggest match against Korea on Wednesday. In the morning we had a short practice to get a couple things worked out for our final couple matches against Korea and Canada, and practiced a few corners just to sharpen up. The afternoon allowed us for a little more family time, in which my parents, my brother, my aunt, my cousin's wife, and her daughter all met me at Mission Beach for a little change of pace. To me, the beach is so relaxing and calming. It is gorgeous. Everyone seems so free to run and play, whether volleyball, surfing, basketball, or just relaxing in the sand. It definitely brought me away from hockey for a few hours. The coaches had a surprise waiting for us back at the hotel when we got back though. We were told to bring a jacket and a camera, but thats all we knew. Leaving the hotel, we all had our guesses on where we would end up, but the vans finally arrived in Point Loma as the sun was beginning to set. The view was absolutely breathtaking, and to spend it with my teammates and coaches was to spend it with some of the most important people to me. To see nature at it's finest allowed us to take a step back and see the bigger picture on what we were doing as a hockey team. As Katie O'Donnell so nicely put it, our journey as a team can be compared to the sunset. As she saw it, the sun slowly sets until right at the end it quickly sets down, which compares to us in that we build for long time before a tournament, but when it finally get theres, it goes by so quickly. In other words, we have to live in the moment, enjoy the games, enjoy the tournament, and really take advantage of the opportunities that are presented in front of us for only a short period of time. After a few more words of insight, we were all eager and ready to finish out the tournament continuing to climb.

The game versus Korea started really well for us. We came out right away with Claire Laubach scoring 2 fantastic goals off drag flicks. But Korea would not be denied. They threatened and responded with a goal of their own going into half time at 2-1. We knew the battle was just beginning. We came out fighting at the beginning of the second, but even with a multitude of chances we failed to find the back of the cage. At last, Korea struck again. The knotted the score, which would eventually see the game out into a tie. Although it was frustrating to go from a 2 goal lead to a tie, we knew we had set ourselves up for the final as long as we took care of business against Canada the next day. Despite the rivalry between the US and Canada, we stayed solid, sticking to the game plan, finishing with a final score of 3-1 against the Canucks.

One more rest day before the final test, the last game, that we had been training for, for what seemed like forever. Friday saw us back on the field for one last practice to prepare for Korea with what we learned from them in pool play. We were really sharp and felt very prepared to see them in the final. In the afternoon, I found my way to my cousins house for an afternoon of dying an decorating easter eggs. I love seeing kids and how carefree they are. Nothing worries them and they live in the moment. This really hit me and helped to calm my nerves about the possibilities of such a meaning final game.

It was only a mater of time before the game verse Korea was finally upon us. The finals. Where we wanted to be. What we play for. To put everything on the line. Leave it all on the field. You hear these phrases being said all the time, but at this point in time, they were all so meaningful. This day was one that I had been training for, that I longed for as an athlete. The challenge of a do-or-die. The challenge that the World Cup is on the line. The game began with a few nerves still lingering. Korea took advantage and capitalized on a penalty corner. Frustrated, we went into halftime a goal down. We were not ready to quit, we were not ready to back down. That has never been our team, and it is not something the United States knows how to do. We fought back, scrambled, scratched, did everything in our power to create opportunities. We had plenty, until finally we broke back with our own penalty corner goal by Carrie Lingo. At this point, carrying the momentum, we were confident that if we kept pushing, things were bound to go our way. We kept the ball in their end, pushing them to fall, but they would not. With a break in the play, Korea went down and earned another penalty corner. With 5 minutes left on the clock, Korea found the back of the net to take the lead. It was a hard blow, but we were not ready to see our dreams shatter so quickly. Within a minute we were back in their end with a penalty corner of our own. Unfortunately ours did not result in a goal. We persisted. We began to push everyone forward. It was all or nothing. This is where we take more risks, because whats losing by another goal if you don't push it to score your own. Tragically we gave up a break away and a textbook goal giving them a 3-1 lead with just minutes, seconds left in the game. Although we fought to the last second of the game, time ran out before we could respond. Heart-broken, we knew we would not claim a spot in the 2010 World Cup.

The feelings and emotions that were felt by our 18 member squad are indescribable. It felt as though the whole world had crumbled right before us. As much as our friends and families support us, it is impossible for anyone to really understand just what it means to us. How hard we worked for this, just how much we wanted it. It was crushing. Our coaches urged us to realize just how far we had come and that this is not the end. This will be the true test for our team, whether we want to succeed in the future and how much we are willing to commit when the future is so unsure. A lot of questions arise. Although it has only been a day since we lost, it makes me think and question as well. But I know what I want, for me and for my team. I know we all want to be at the top, we want to be better, we want to never feel the pain that we felt yesterday (and the pain we are still feeling) ever again. I know WE will be stronger for this. Even though it is hard to see it now, we are the type of people who aren't willing to accept failure. We are the type of people who work harder, fight harder, train smarter, otherwise we wouldn't have made it to this point. It hurts now. But I am willing to say that if we are ever put in this situation again, we will be ready. We will be better. The United States will stand tall. We proudly represent our country, our families, and ourselves.