Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wait, it's almost April?!

WOW! This year has just been flying by! I guess I am continuing the tradition of getting caught up in life and not blogging very much... oops! I apologize for that! With the World Cup just a little over 2 months away, you can imagine how much we have been training and preparing!!!

We started off the year with a trip to California! Although we moved our home training facility to Spooky Nook in Lancaster, PA... the amazing domed field they built us, was not quite complete in time to start the year. (The crazy weather played a big part!) For me, it was a return to sunny San Diego, where I previously spent so many years! Also, once we left last year, I had no idea when I would actually be able to return again to see my family and all the friends I made along the way. So as hard as it was to leave my new home in PA, and EVEN HARDER to leave my puppy (for 2 whole months!), I was happy to be reunited with some amazing people in California!

While we were enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather, Great Britain and New Zealand ventured out to play 4 games each against us. I hope you were following us online and at USA Field Hockey because it was a great series of games for us! Basically, everyone on the squad got a chance to play, improve, and prove they deserve a spot on the team for this summer. We grew so much as a team, and put out good performances each and every game against quality opponents!! We not only had a first-capper (shout out to Ali McEvoy), but a couple of us (Caroline Nichols and myself!!) earned our 150th cap, as well! So all and all, an exciting and fun set of games for Team USA!

[For those of you that don't know: New Zealand is ranked #4 in the world and Great Britain is ranked #3. We finished against GB with 3 wins and a tie. We finished against NZ with a win, 2 ties, and a loss. Considering we are currently ranked #10, those are pretty good outcomes! We don't plan on being ranked there for much longer ;)]

Once again, I had to say my goodbyes to California.... who knows when I will see you again... hopefully, sooner rather than later!

Moving forward, after a few more weeks of training in the books, we FINALLY got to open the dome at the Nook to the public!! We played 4 games against Canada, much the same set up as we did in California! Once again we had a couple milestone games,  with local Laura Gebhart getting her first cap, Katie O'Donnell reaching 150, and Katie Reinprecht amassing 100 games for her country! Personally, those games are so fun for me because we get to celebrate how much each player has worked and given to get where they are. Also, we got there together, as a team. I have been so fortunate to represent my country so many times, and play all of those games besides my teammates (current and past). That is really what has made the journey so worthwhile and one I'll never forget!

...But back to the Canada series! I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to all of the games and supported us! It was so great to be playing on our new home turf and have so much support! I hope everyone enjoyed it and was as inspired as I was! And... it is always good to win on home turf! We won all 4 games and are currently undefeated at the Nook! :) hehe!

With the World Cup quickly approaching, we actually have to put our attention on the Champions Challenge first. In less than a month, the team will head to Scotland to face some tough competition between the teams ranked 9-16 in the world. The winner of this tournament gets an automatic berth into the next Champions Trophy (which is the teams ranked 1-8 in the world). Of course, our goal is to win this and be in good form heading into the World Cup in Holland.

So that is a little recap of what this year has been like and what we are looking forward to! As for me off the field, I stay busy looking after my little pup Kora! She is growing up so fast, but she is so smart (she knows so many tricks! :) haha) and she is so sweet! I love coming home to her happy little face every day after practice!

I've been so busy that I haven't had all that much free time to myself, but I have been trying to plan a few clinics and things around the country this summer once our training schedule eases off a bit. I really want to get out, coach, and help inspire the youth! If you are interested in setting something up in your area, please contact me!!! Leave a message on my blog and I will get in touch with you ASAP! :)

Thanks again for all the support for myself and my team! We have a lot of games coming up in the next couple months, and we need all your cheers and good lucks to push us to the top!! We want to bring home some medals! GO USA!