Senior goalkeeper Maddie Hand will be writing a season-long blog about the life of a field hockey player. Check out her first installment of "Mads About Bears".
Sept. 7, 2011
It is safe to say the Cal field hockey girls are finally into a regular schedule and are back in the routine of being the good student athletes. But, before we could get back to the books we missed the first couple days of school to jet set to good ol' Kentucky. It was very odd to have just finished pre-season then take off on a trip to Louisville; I definitely didn't feel like we were already in regular season. Thursday morning we were lucky to get a "later" start and didn't have to be at the bus until 6:15 am (yes, this is a late start for us). Because it wasn't the usual 4 am leave time we were all in good spirit, semi-awake, and all packed up for our first team trip.
For some reason, I decided to sit by my teammate Shannon Elmitt. It would have normally been great, but the girl had some coffee and was quite the energizer bunny. So, safe to say no nap for me on the early flight! It ended up to be a fun, nonetheless. Shannon, Gibby, and I were watching a few videos and stumbled upon a little clip of Erin Magill's first time skiing, it was hysterical. Shannon woke the whole plane up with laughter. After finding a way to entertain ourselves on the long flight we made it safe and sound to Louisville.
Once we got into Louisville we took the bus straight to this really cute restaurant that had a couple middle aged men playing live music! It was a GREAT dinner with appetizers, salad, and a delicious meal. We soon became very amused not only by the music, but by the waiter, who would fill up our water glasses before we could even blink. So, my table decided to test his skills and see if we could actually finish our whole glass before he came back. Once we did that, of course we had to turn it into a bigger competition. About half our table then joined into a water chugging contest to hydrate make hydrating for our game the next day a little more exciting. The loser, Lauren Livingston, then had to give a speech to our team and coaches.
After we were completely filled up with water and food we headed to our hotel. One of the most exciting parts of trips is getting our roommates, something that our old coach Kelly Knapp would LOVE getting to announce. This trip I was pared with the NorPac Offense Player of the Week Miss. Jordan O'Reilly. We walked into our rooms and were amazed. They were giant suits with a living room, two closets, and a huge shower, we definitely didn't mind staying there one bit! After a quick meeting we were off to bed, getting a good rest for the day to come!
We didn't watch any film on Louisville, just wanted to focus on our game and what we had to do. We woke up and went to the field to get a feel for the turf, and just get our legs moving a little. The biggest adjustment was the humidity. I felt like I couldn't breath, but it was also very hot. After our light practice we went back to the hotel for some lunch and downtime before our 6:00 game.
The game vs. Louisville started out a little slow. We were not playing bad, but we definitely were not starting out strong. Early on we were giving up quite a bit of corners on defense. Luckily we were able to quickly turn things around and get into our normal play. There were a ton of Louisville fans there all decked out in that color we all hate, yes they were all in red. There were also some very vocal gentlemen who would yell and hackle us every time we slipped on the turf, or just whenever they felt like it. Ali and me had a good laugh at a few of their comments. But beyond the atmosphere it was a beautiful game and amazing to watch all the hard work we have put in pay off. We were passing through the lines, making great runs, tackling back, and just really found our groove. It was a fun game to play in! And, it was Mala Magill (Erin's Moms) birthday, so she appreciated the win!
Saturday was very similar schedule to the day before, except instead of practice we had a little jog by the water to get our legs moving. It was so pretty and there were a ton of people out running because the Iron Man competition was being held right where we were staying! These athletes are either amazing or just crazy! We soon learned that they would have to swim in the river for 2.5 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run an entire marathon, 26.2 miles. After our jog stretch we ate, had our pre-game meeting, and enjoyed some more down time before our late game.
We went into the second game against Michigan State the same way we went into the Louisville game, focus on ourselves. We started out so much stronger than the day before, which was one of our goals. We really worked together as a team, and had strong control over the game. At half time we were up 2-0, but no one wanted to stop there. We came out a little weak second half, yet still managed to get another goal to make it 3-0. The Spartans didn't break; I really commend their efforts of never giving up. We unfortunately got a little mentally complacent and had those 6 minutes where we let them back in the game. I think it was a good wake up call for us, and a good lesson to learn early on! We gave up a few corners and they just found their way back into the game. It was a big wake up call, but we finished the last 5 minutes very strong, and then were able to finish it up in overtime.
It was a great feeling to go on the road and get a 2-0 record, in my long 4 years here it was always pretty difficult to go undefeated on the road. After our second victory we went to a place where they have the grill on our table. It was really fun, our table attempted to cheer the loudest for our pretty funny chef; I think he enjoyed it as much as we did. After what felt like endless food, we were all stuffed...but not too stuffed to pass up some celebratory ice cream!
The next morning was Laurens birthday, so we decorated her door with balloons and some drawn on toilet paper streamers. Rachelle also brought us all birthday hats to wear through the airport. We had a later flight so we were able to watch film then go down and see part of the Iron Man competition (Thanks Carol!).
We headed out to the airport, said our goodbye to our extremely nice bus driver, and waved goodbye to Kentucky. On the flight one of the sturdiest had everyone turn off their lights and turn on our "Call" buttons so it looked like a birthday candles. We then all sung happy birthday to Lauren, who was not too excited about all the birthday attention! But we all found it amusing. Shimo sadly missed it all, the girl was pretty pooped out and covered her face with her jacket to get a good little nap in. we got home, while it was still light out, and were able to enjoy our few days off!
We trained hard the week after getting back, while trying to adjust to our new school schedules. My good friend and Cal Field Hockey Alumni Megan Psyllos was in town for a race and I was able to hang with her a few days, which was so great!
Before we knew it we were packing up the buses again and heading out on the road to Stockton. We did some training on Whitter field, but thankfully the grass field isn't that bad! We went into the game feeling great and confident, ready to work to improve from the last game. It was a well-played game. I was nervous that they would get a fast break and catch our defense on their toes, but defense stayed focus and on top of their game! And my fellow goalie Courtney made her colligate debut! It was a fun game, but we are back to work this week, practicing hard, preparing for our first weekend of home games!