Professor Henry Higgins would have to change his little ditty for Eliza Doolittle if he was with our Lafayette leopards today at the shore city of Valencia. Try as they might, the game with the Valencia hockey club had to be cancelled because of thunderstorms. They tried to wait it out, but it was not going to clear up, so the two teams decided to have dinner together anyway, and as the above picture demonstrates new friends were easily acquired. The dinner became a last night celebration and the Valencia Hockey Club could not have made better dinner companions!
Soon the team will trek back to Madrid to catch their plane to JFK and the Lehigh Valley. By all accounts, the trip was a great success not only for their play on the field, but also the bonding experience they had during their adventures in three outstanding Spanish cities. They got a chance to play against good european competition, watch the very best play in the World games while in Valencia, and experience a new culture. They were able to visit and see interesting venues, learned to cook with a Spanish flare, and had time to get some Mediterranean sun in the process.
l can’t wait to see their new skills on the field as they apply their experiences in Spain to their NCAA division one opponents. I will be following all the action. It will include the opening of preseason camp in 60 days as well as an assessment of all the Patriot League teams. If there is any news, be sure to check here for updates. As for now, welcome back and well done ladies!!
As Lafayette moved on to Valencia, they gathered additional momentum and inspiration from the World League games and put it all together in a 6-2 win in the fifth day on Spanish soil. Goals were spread amongst six players Meg Lillis,Rosie Shanks, Kirby Szalkowski,Kaitlyn Ewing and Katie Birle. Abby Stefanides, fresh from her flight from London where she is taking a summer course joined in the scoring with a goal of her own. It was the defense, who took inspiration from the offense as they found their rythm and held the Xaloc team to 4 shots, two of which were stopped by Katelyn Arnold.
After the game both teams joined together in a friendly meal and exchange of gifts. As is the custom, the meal was a late one after which our “pards” boarded their transportation to return to the hotel for a well deserved rest. Tomorrow’s activity is more informal as the team will have chance to explore Valencia on their own before they become spectators again at the World Games. There will certainly be partisan interest as the games attended will include the USA vs Germany, Great Britain vs Canada, and China vs Argentina.
Dinner is expected to be on their own as the now experienced travelers will choose from the great Spanish cuisine at their disposal before heading for bed. Maybe it will be more Tapas or some tasty fresh fresh fish from the Med. Monday will feature some more free time before their fourth and last game with a Valencia hockey club and a dinner afterward with their new friends.
Coach Stone continues to be pleased the overall experience for her charges, as her team has responded to the challenge.
The Lafayette field hockey team encountered an unexpected challenge tonight as they arrived at the ATCH stadium in a suburb of Barcelona. Unfortunately the Leopard’s opponent, one of Spain’s top women’s club team, wasn’t able to field a team, but the club’s under 18 men’s team volunteered to fill in. Discounting the 0-5 score to Lafayette’s disadvantage, Coach Jennifer Stone was delighted at the opportunity. ” We took awhile to adjust, but the second half was very good and we were SO improved by the end of the game”, Stone said. Stone also singled out the work of goalie Katlyn Arnold who had 6 saves. In addition, there was special mention for her as the two teams practiced shoot outs at the end of the game. ” This was a great experience for the team and can only help our development,” Stone added.
The team’s tour continues tomorrow as our “Pards” move on to Valencia where they will become spectators as well as players. They will be attending World League games where team USA will be matched up with South Africa. After that our Leopards will play a local club team in the third match of the tour. Finally they will end the day watching another World League match between Spain and Canada.
The weather has been spectacular and Spanish people and field hockey players have been extremely friendly, as our team absorbed all there is available of Spanish culture and sport. A special shout out to Dave Blasic the Lafayette administrator accompanying the team, who provided the featured picture at the top of the page.
After an exciting and activity filled day on wednesday, our team gets some deserved rest and recreation, with what seems to be their favorite chill out destination …the beach. No doubt the rest was well earned, but our high energy cohort won’t let the grass grow beneath their feet. The sunny 80 degree weather joined with a bit of humidity adds to the draw. But it won’t be lying around after lunch, as they will receive paddle surf lessons, after which they will tackle the warm Mediterranean surf. After some sun and fun, they will again have a chance to sample more Spanish cuisine with an atypical 6 pm dinner. Perhaps they will be thinking about tomorrow’s time to explore more of Barcelona on their own, and their next game with the Valles hockey club.
They will be reinforced tomorrow with two of their teammates, who will join them this weekend, while taking a break from their studies in Europe. I am sure they are emailing their friends and parents at home as well!!! I hope they are aware that the president of Lafayette College, Alison Byerly, sent her greetings to all after the game last night. As Lafayette’s first ex field hockey player president can attest, its hard to stay away from the game.
The Leopards arrived in force in Barcelona after traveling on the 8th via a long flight from JFK to Madrid. Jet lag was put aside as they met their tour manager Christian, in Madrid.They then grabbed some lunch, and drove to Barcleona where they finally arrived at their hotel. At five o’clock our intrepid team grabbed transportation to dinner. Christian, their loyal tour guide who plays in the Danish men’s field hockey league, made sure the team got to the restaurant on time. He set up a private dinner at a local restaurant, where the owner opened on his off night, exclusively for our crew. Present also were Jim and Tina Gula ( parents of Kelsey Gula’13), and the Furneaux’s. Jim Gula was kind enough to relay all the details. The owner served a multi-course taste of tapas, and Jim reported it was very well presented and tasty. After the dinner the owner played american hit music and the girls, the Gulas, the Furneauxs, Coach Jennifer Stone , assistant Coach Emily Janis, trainer Jon Edward, as well as Lafayette athletic business manager Dave Blasic hit the dance floor until everyone decided it was time to get some sleep. Today they are scheduled for a two hour tour of the Sagrada Familia before changing this afternoon to start the hockey portion of the trip. At 6 pm they will have a light clinic with a Spanish coach before their 8pm match with ATHC after which there will be a tailgate with their opponents. Check back later at this site for the outcome and details of the match. Some additional news, today the Leopards also visited an institution that cares for special needs adults, and they played hockey with them to the delight of all.
Lafayette gets off to a good start with a 2-0 win tonight. Katie Birle opened the scoring in the second quarter by beating two defenders to give the Leopards a 1-0 lead at the end of the half. In the third quarter Amy Turner added to the lead with an alert rebound of a shot. Ellen Colbourne was a threat especially in the second half and Amanda Magadan challenged the Spaniards defense all game. Hannah Millen was a wall at defense. In the opinion of the Gula’s who have not seen the team until tonight Katelyn Arnold was the star of the game with numerous acrobatic saves!! A great team effort!! Here below you will find a video of the venue and some excerpts from the game
And here is some video of the actual game with a nice shot by Amy Turner provided by the Gulas
The 2015 version of Lafayette College Field Hockey actually begins in Barcelona Spain on June the ninth. Before the team plays its first game however, the team will fine-tune their skills in Easton on their home field. The team recently completed their spring season and took time off while they completed their academic requirements. With final exams behind them the Leopards hit the turf four days before boarding a plane for their trans-atlantic flight.
The NCAA allows a student athlete to experience a foreign trip once in a four year career and Lafayette Head Coach Jennifer Stone is making this a regular feature of the program. ” This a chance for our student athletes to experience another culture in the context of their sport as well as improve their skills,”according to Stone.
My next post will feature an interview with our two captains directly from the first practice on June 4.
As this is a new format for me, I encourage any comments or suggestions!!