Arriving in Monchengladbach, Germany, at the Hockeypark Stadium was when it all sank in. After all the traveling and training, we were about to begin the Junior World Cup. We had been in Europe since July 17th and all we had taken in was a hotel and a hockey field. On the eve of the tournament, an opening ceremony dinner was held on Friday, July 26, which offered us a great chance to meet incoming-freshman Charlotte Verelst, who is competing for the Belgian team and will join us at the University of Massachusetts this fall.
On Saturday (July 27) we faced South Korea in our first Pool A game. We felt like we controlled the game in the first half, even though the score line was 1-1 at the end of it. Less than two minutes into the second half a storm rolled in and the rain began to flood onto the pitch, which resulted in the officials holding the game. During the stoppage our team stayed positive and focused on the task at hand. Once we were underway again after about an hour delay, we came out stronger than ever an took down South Korea one goal at a time, ending with a 4-1 win! What a great way to start off the tournament.
We continued our journey on Sunday (July 28) with a match up against the Netherlands, a team that is looking to defend its Junior World Cup Championship from four years ago. A week earlier, we had two practice matches against them in the home country as we were preparing for the tournament and we were excited to have another opportunity to play them. The game had its ups and downs and we made some great plays. Unfortunately, the Netherlands was able to fight by us and we ended up losing the game, 5-1. Keeping our heads up, now we look forward to our last pool game tomorrow vs. Ghana, knowing we need a win to keep our hopes of making it to the quarterfinals alive. - Hannah & Sam
The Minutewomen duo continues competition with the U.S. on Tuesday, July 30, against Ghana to wrap up group play. The U.S. side will need to be one of the top eight teams points-wise among 12 still eligible to advance in order to move on. More information on the tournament is available through the Junior World Cup website.