2010 FIRS Women's Inline Hockey World Championships

July 06, 2010, 10:13 a.m. (ET)
Event Write-up on the Official Website of the 2010 Inline Hockey World Championships -

Event Homepage - http://usarollersports.org/events/2565
Team USA arrived in the Czech Republic ready to defend their 2009 Gold Medal. The team building practices in Philadelphia went well as the girls worked hard to understand the new system they will be using at the Championships.


Day 1 - After arriving in the Czech we settled in to our hotel then took a walk into the town square to see the town of Beroun. We found ourselves a little restaurant and got a bit to eat. Then back to the hotel to try and stay awake so the girls could get their body clocks adjusted.  Very quite evening and to bed early.
Day 2 -  The only real day to sight see so we had a very good practice at 9am then the girls got ready and off to Prague to take in some of the world. After a 40 minute train ride we were in the center of town. The girls walked for 3 hours taking in as much as they could and also did a little shopping for gifts and souvenirs. Places they visited;

             Charles Bridge
             Town Square (watched world cup soccer on giant screen)
             Powder Tower
             Tyn Church
             Old Town’s Town Hall
Catching our return train was a bit of an adventure. After all the walking the girls needed the ladies room but were surprised to find out it cost money to use!!! Then the track your train leaves on is not announced until 2 minutes before it leaves so it was a mad dash.  But we did not lose anyone and we all made it back to the hotel. Dinner then blackboard practice then the girls had a couple hours to them selves before bed check.

Day 3 - Let the games begin! We opened the competition against Slovakia. The girls came out ready, Michelle Vedder started in goal and was unbeatable in the 1st half. USA got on the board at 7:27 Jennifer (Money) Munhofen assisted by Celeste (Cheese Wiz) Loyatho.  USA went up 2 to 0 just over 2 minutes later at 9:40 Catherine (Cat) Santo unassisted.  The USA got it’s 3rd goal with just :35 remaining in the half when Lisa Giovanelli made a nice outlet pass to a streaking Courtney (Court) Orner and she buried it for the 3-0 half time score. The game was not going as well as expected we had to make some adjustments at half time. At our practice we could hear communication from the bench but during the game no good so we talked about it and the 2nd half it was all USA.  We changed our goalie for the 2nd half to get both players in the flow Jetta (Jet) Rackleff played the 2nd half and was as strong as Michelle was in the 1st half, completing the shutout.

20:22  Catherine (Cat) Santo from Chelsi Wells
24:35 Allison (Allie) Era unassisted
27:34 Courtney (Court) Orner assisted by Allison (Allie) Era
28:40 Charlotte (Char) Nicholson unassisted
30:07 Celeste (Cheese Wiz) Loyatho from  Courtney (Court) Orner for a 8-0 USA Victory

Day 4 - The USA women were up early for breakfast on day 4 they had the first game of the day against Spain at 2:30pm on July 4th. After a team meeting the girls started to get mentally prepared for their game. It did not take long for the USA to get on the board 1:49 into the game Kelly (Wild dog) McCormack assisted by Celeste (Cheese Wiz) Loyatho. The USA would make it 2 – 0 when Courtney (Court) Orner scored unassisted. Then with just 1:15 remaining Cheese Wiz would make it 3-0 USA assisted by Charlotte (Char) Nicholson.  As in game 1 Michelle Vedder started and was unbeatable in the 1st half. In the 2nd half the game started to get a little physical, Spain would make it 3-1 at 34:36 on an unassisted goal. The USA would respond and get it’s 3 goal led back just :35 later when Lisa Giovanelli took a nice pass from Cheese Wiz and buried it. Then the physical play of the game created power plays and the USA would make it 5-1 at 38:07 Cat Santo assisted by Giovanelli. Jetta (Jet) Rackleff would shut the door the rest of the way on Spain. The USA had the game under control and played a puck possession game and ran the clock out to go 2-0 in pool play.
It was the 4th of July for the girls so the team and all of the family members who were here went to dinner. It was an authentic Czech restaurant which looked like a dungeon.  Very nice meal with everyone (more team building). It was nice to see the girls with family and the girls enjoying each other. When dinner was over the girls were given some free time to go into town as a team (as team building never stops) and see more of Beroun. Bed check 11pm all accounted for!
Day 5 - Last game of the day and against FRANCE! Don’t know the complete history just that last year the USA won in the playoffs 1-0 to knock them out of the Championships.  Lots of Facebook chatter I was told so I could see it in the girls they wanted this one.  This also would be for the top seed in our bracket. Let the girls sleep in late breakfast Blackboard, team walk, late lunch rest and get ready!
The girls went to the rink early to catch some of the Canada vs Czech game. Time to get ready the locker room was very focused before we went out. Not much to say the eye of the tiger was there and it was game time! :30 seconds in a defensive turnover lead to a France breakaway but starter Michelle Vedder came up big and the score stayed 0-0. This was the first real test for the USA and it was still 0-0 9 minutes into the game but then the rookie Nicole (Gino) Giannino from Captain Lisa Giovanelli at 9:32 would break the tie and the USA was up 1-0.Things went back and forth for the next 7 minutes with the USA controlling play and puck possession then the flood gates opened 16:36 Gino from Allison (Allie) Era, 17:43 Celeste (Cheese Wiz) Loyatho from Kelly (Wild Dog) McCormack , 19:27 Charlotte (Char) Nicholson unassisted and just :20 later Courtney (Court) Orner from Allie and It was 5-0 and France was stunned, USA would play keep away and a puck possession game in the 2nd half getting a goal with just :17 to play by Catherine (Cat) Santo assisted by Jennifer (M0ney) Munhofen and Jetta Rackleff and gain would play shut out hockey in the 2nd half and the USA would make a statement winning 6-0.
Dinner ends at 9:30 so we hustled back for dinner then the girls just hung out. You could see in their faces they were happy with their effort and results and were now ready for the Quarter Finals. Bed check 11pm all present!   
Day 6 - Let the elimination round begin! Final standing and match ups for Pool A and B are set.
Group A                    Group B
Canada 3-0-0          USA    3-0-0
Czech   2-1-0           France 1-1-1
Finland 1-2-0          Spain   0-1-2
China    0-3-0          Slovakia 0-2-1
The USA vs China in the Quarter Finals by the look of pool play they should handle China but that is why you play the games. We talked about how to show respect to our opponent and the tournament. China has given up a lot of goals and some teams have run the score up. We seen the game as our last chance to run all our plays and fine tune for the final 2 rounds. Our goalie rotation seems to be working and these 2 keepers really cheer for the other and it has made it hard to pick one over the other so at this point we are playing both. Michelle Vedder starts then in the 2nd half it’s Jetta Rackleff.  The team is playing well in front of both. The USA would lead 3-0 at the half getting goals from Kelly (Wild dog) McCormack assisted by Cheese Wiz, Allison (Allie) Era assisted by Captain Giovanelli, and Cat Santo unassisted. In the 2nd have it was more of same as the USA would get 3 more Chelsi Wells unassisted, Money Munhofen assisted by Char Nicholson and Allie again for her 2nd assisted by Court Orner. The USA was in total control and may have become to relaxed and China would wake them up at 33:44 scoring but they refocused and ran the clock out for the 6-1 win and a trip to the Semi-Finals.

The game was the 1st of the day so we were all done by 3pm so time for more team building. I am a Philadelphia Firefighter so we went to visit the Beroun Fire House.  We stopped for a little lunch on the way at a road side stand leading out of town. It was a nice 20 minute up hill walk through the small Czech town. What a great time the girls had. The Beroun Firefighters were awesome to the girls. The pulled out the trucks they took pictures with the guys and were putting on all the gear also got to spray some water. Pictures should be great! As we said goodbye and Thank You all the girls were given patches form the fire company or the Czech Republic. We were not done yet on to the Bears, that’s right the National Animal is the Grizzle Bear and just north of town is a park and 3-4 10’ Grizzlies. The girls watched them being feed by hand by a handler.  They walked and took some great photos of the bears then back to the hotel. Dinner a little free time then bed check at 11pm, all accounted for!    
Day 7 - Semi-Finals vs the home team the Czech at 5pm. The girls got to sleep in breakfast was optional. 12 noon team meeting, walk over bridge to soccer field light work out and then walk through of our systems and what to expect from the Czech. Lunch 1:30 – 2:30 then nap or rest till 3:30 then to the rink. It was game time the girls looked ready but just :17 into the game USA was called for hooking and the Czech wasted no time scoring :17 into the power play on a back door play that we had went over at practice but 1-0 Czech.  The rest of the half the USA played well hitting a couple post and crossbars but no goals.  The last minute of the period things went bad and at 19:07 the Czech made it 2-0 off a bad bounce goal. Then at 19:33 the USA took a tripping penalty but the half ended and it was 2-0 Czech. The 1st and last minute of a half are tough to give up a goal and we did both. Then when the 2nd half started we were still short and could not get a good clear it cost us 3-0 Czech. The girls could of folded right there but they didn’t they dug deep and started to create some chances and create power plays. Then at 25:42 on the PP Char Nicholson scored assisted by Cat Santo and we were right back in it! The USA created another PP and this time was robbed! Cheese Wiz Loyatho hit crossbar and the puck came straight down over the goal line the USA players thought including the goal judge who turned the goal light on it was a goal but during the celebration the Referee waived it off??? Her explanation was she did not see it go in so NO GOAL! The USA did not stop coming then at 33:20 Char Nicholson got her 2nd of the game assisted by Cheese Wiz Loyatho and it was 3-2 and we had a game. The Czech called time out to regroup. The USA was coming but right after the time out the Czech at 33:50 got a loose puck off a point shot and it was 4-2. The USA pressed and at 36:57 the Czech would go up 5-2 on a 2 on 1 break add an empty netter and the final was 6-2 Czech Republic.  Very tough loss for the girls, sad locker room but we had to get past this as the Bronze Medal would be up for grabs the next day in a revenge match for France. It is hard to Beat a team twice so the USA had it’s work cut out for them.  Late dinner somber mood free time bed check 11pm all accounted for!

Day 8 - The Bronze Medal Game 5pm no time for looking back, the USA was in a must win game to win the 2010 World Championships Bronze Medal. Same pre game plan as day 7 except no soccer field. The team meeting was followed by the team taking time to sign     jersey’s and photo’s for our sponsors and themselves. As the team prepared for the game they took time in the locker room to thank our team guide John. John is a 23 year old college student from Beruon. He was great, he helped the girls with anything they needed. Took them to the bank, translated at stores anything. They presented him with a signed Team Jersey. Then Pat Steidle our team trainer. Pat was the ultimate professional with the girls and took care of them all week. He to received a signed Team Jersey.  Then I was presented a signed Team Jersey words could not express my thoughts. We took a couple minutes then back to the business at hand the French and the Bronze Medal. The game started with a nice pace both teams creating off of their speed. The USA would go up first scoring at 5:19 Court Orner would take a lead pass from Char Nicholson and walk in off the wall and score on a nasty backhander top shelf. The USA would get great goaltending from starter Michelle Vedder and would lead 1-0 at the end of the 1st half.  The decision was made to keep Michelle Vedder in the game for the 2nd half. Vedder and Jetta Rackleff were splitting the games as the heat was a factor. It was great to have 2 outstanding goaltenders who both supported the other. The hardest part for the coach was telling Jetta but she handled it like a true athlete and understood, what else could a coach ask for!

The 2nd half , it was the last half of hockey for this team and they made it a point to tell each other not to leave anything in the tanks and go for it. At 21:29 just 89 seconds into the 2nd half the USA was called for hooking and the French had their chance. Michelle Vedder made a couple nice saves then with just :09 remaining in their PP Cat Santo intercepted a cross point pass and was in on the breakaway, she dropped her shoulder to freeze the goalie then buried it for a 2-0 USA lead. The USA would put 2 unbelievable shifts together and would hold the puck for almost 6 minutes as the French could only chase them. The USA played  almost a perfect game and put it away with 1 minute remaining when the Wild Dogs forces a turn over, Kelly McCormack from Chelsi Wells and it was 3-0 USA and the winners of the;

2010 FIRS Women’s World Championships Bronze Medal

 The girls came for the Gold but worked hard a little unlucky maybe but a well earned Bronze Medal.

        The girls stayed and watched the Gold Medal game, traded items with players from other country’s and talked with friends they made over the years. The closing ceremonies were very nice then it was a night to themselves but they had to be packed and in the lobby by 5am for their flight home. All present and accounted for and on the bus by 5:15am