There are quite a few American's playing over in Europe this year, and I have gotten a chance to see most of those that are in Holland. A few of the men's players are in Belgium (Jon Ginolfi, Kevin Barber, and Will Holt) and as you already know (by following the other blogs!!) Katie Evans is in England. This weekend we decided to all meet up in Amsterdam!
...but first I had a game on Sunday against Rotterdam! Our team had been building a lot for this game and with the Kiwis back, we had new motivation and firepower and wanted to leave it all on our home pitch. I was particularly excited to play Rotterdam because Chilean National Team player Paula Infante plays there and I couldn't wait to take her on again! (She played at the University of Maryland while I was at Wake Forest so I've played against her a lot in the past). It was nice also to see another familiar face!
We came out firing and played one of our best halves of hockey in the first half of the game. We took the lead late in the first half off a counter attack goal, but unfortunately gave up a goal with no time left on the clock on a corner. Although we were tied at the half, we knew we had the game within our grasp. We came out even harder in the second half, but Rotterdam quickly capitalized on a chance early forcing us to fight from behind. Shortly thereafter we found the back of the boards on a corner of our own. With the momentum in our favor, we continued to create chances and put pressure on their defense. With minutes left in the game, we scored, but the officials called it back saying it hit a foot (which of course we didn't agree with!!). A bit of an unlucky break! Although we fought hard and put some good passages of hockey together, we ran out of time before we could add another to the scoreline. Even though a draw is not what we had hoped for, we did get our first point moving us up a few spots in the standings, and it was a big step in the right direction. The season is long and we just need to keep moving forward!
Most of our team decided we should celebrate our first point because it was hard to come by! We went over to a neighboring club (KZ) for a bit because they had a DJ and were hosting a party for the evening. I didn't stay too long though because I had to meet up with the Americans!!! When I got to Amsterdam, Katie, Jon, Kevin, Will, Pat (Harris), Colin (Scally), Lauren (Powley) and Maureen (Daniel) were already there! It was so amazing to see all of us in one place! Pretty cool to all meet up together overseas and catch up on all of our experiences so far! I definitely enjoyed having all English speaking people around for one night as well!! I had to head back early Monday morning, but the others got to spend Monday in Amsterdam! What fun!! :)
... Katie will have a great video coming soon of the weekend!
This weekend is the opening weekend for the EHL (European Hockey League) and the first round is being hosted at Oranje-Zwart in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. For those of you unfamiliar with the EHL, it consists of the top teams from different European countries. This year's league has 3 teams from Holland, including the men's side from my club, HGC! HGC is also fortunate enough to have their first round games at OZ, so they have somewhat of a home field/home crowd advantage.
Although all the games can be viewed online as well as on television here, I jumped at the opportunity to go see the games live, and of course support HGC! Yesterday I took the 2 hour trip down to Eindhoven with a teammate and our coach and watched HGC blow out a team from the Ukraine, Olimpia Kolos Sekvoia, 9-2. Although not the best game since it was so lopsided, it was still fun to watch our guys score lots of goals! I would love to watch them play again today, but we have our own game at home against Rotterdam!
Corner for HGC:
After much anticipation, I walked into the lockerroom tonight to see the two legendary Kiwis, Krystal Forgesson and Emily Naylor, fresh off their Silver Medal performance at the Commonwealth Games. First, I must say congrats to both of them!! Well done girls! I was excited to finally meet the girls I have heard much about over the past few weeks. Only their first day back and I could already see their impact as my teammates began to trickle into the lockerroom. Everyone was excited to see them and I could tell they play a big role in the team. This made me excited as well, knowing that we finally have our full team together for the season!
Although I'm sure they were jetlagged and exhausted from a hard fought tournament down in Delhi, India, of course they still wanted to practice! Emily is a defender/midfielder and Krystal is a striker. Both are very skilled, smart players. I could already see the positive impact they brought even to just one practice.
I hope this is the extra spark that will ignite our team to finally get in the win column this weekend. Another home game with the crowd behind us and our team at full strength, Rotterdam better be ready for all HGC has to throw at them on Sunday!