Follow Virginia sophomore Michelle Vittese, junior Kaitlyn Hiltz and junior Taylor Swezey throughout their time in Boston at the 2009 Junior World Cup. Vittese is a member of Team USA along with fellow Cavaliers Paige Selenski and Tara Puffenberger, while newcomer Inga Stockel is playing for her native Germany. As the rest of the team reports for preseason on Tuesday (Aug. 11), stay tuned for blogs during training camp at VirginiaSports.com.
Sunday, Aug. 16
This morning, we met for a run in the lobby at 8 a.m. Our coach Inako jogged with us to the river and had us stretch. After the stretch, he planned for us to run with him for two miles in around 14 minutes. To end the work out, we did ten 30 seconds of either push ups or ab work outs with 50 yard sprints after each one. The entire work out was a success, besides Shelly's new white shorts turning green and brown from the grass that we had to lay in. I am sure Cowboy will be happy about that one! After that, we were short on time for the day, so we jogged to Au Bon Pain for breakfast. The incentive for food made the jog a little easier for us to run after such a hard work out!
After we finished breakfast, we quickly packed our bags, showered, and left the hotel to watch the final two games of the World Cup tournament. The first game between Korea and Germany was a great game, but Korea pulled out the win. We were all excited to watch the game because one of the
German players, Inga Stockel, is playing for our team this year. Katie Knapp repeated "INNGGAAAA!" over and over across the field until we got her attention. Of course, we all overwhelmed her at the end of the game and forced her to meet every one at the same time. Inga was very nice and spoke English better than most of our American teammates. She will be arriving in Charlottesville tomorrow afternoon, which is really exciting! After we met Inga, we had free time to go to Harvard Square. Our team took full advantage of this time to shop around. At 3:30, the team met back at the turf field for the gold medal game between Holland and Argentina. It was really cool to see the different styles of play of each team and how they used their styles to gain advantages. Holland had a very strong passing game, while Argentina dribbled more. In the end, Holland won the game after three AMAZING goals. It was so cute to watch the parents from Holland count down in Dutch as the game ended in a victory!
Soon after the game ended, Jack picked us up to start our long ride back home to Charlottesville. Every one must be incredibly tired because usually the bus is screaming with at least three different group conversations. But, after watching "The Body of Lies" and sitting in traffic, the lights went off and people started to fall asleep. We have our off day tomorrow, but we will be back up and running again Tuesday morning! The season begins next Friday!
Saturday, Aug. 15
Today was our first scrimmage! The team all woke up between 8 a.m. and 8:28, depending on how much incredibly useful extra sleep we planned on getting before out 8:30 a.m. meeting time. We all met downstairs of the hotel to head outside for a jog and stretch to start off the day. After each person chose a different stretch and said their game objectives, we took a little walk to our breakfast spot, Au Bon Pain, which is a nice buffet style place with fresh fruit, oatmeal, breakfast sandwiches, and other really good breakfast foods. If Au Bon Pain were to be built in Charlottesville, it would definitely give The Villa a run for its money!
Before the bus departed from the hotel at 10:15, we had about 20 minutes to rest our legs. After our short break, we changed into our full new orange getups, we departed for Northeastern University for our scrimmage against the University of New Hampshire. The team warm up was nothing new, just the regular warm up run for 15 minutes, followed by stretches and short sprints. After that, we did a quick paced shooting drill and a drill that is offense versus defense. Then it was game time!
The scrimmage against UNH went well for our first scrimmage. Our incoming first years were really impressive and they played really hard and very well for their first scrimmage. As a team, we have a little bit to work on, but for only having two days of preseason under our belt, we were fine with the way we played. When the scrimmage came to an end, we had a choice to do a run then, or after the World Cup Games as scheduled. We decided to get our run over with. It was a great idea, considering we were all drained after the World Cup games!
After the scrimmage, we were driven to Harvard University to watch two games. I had no idea Boston could get so hot. As much as we all loved the new tan, we were all a little shocked at how hot it was on the bleachers. Makeshift fans made out of our notebook papers were saving us BIG time. But, we at least had the chance to watch UVa players Paige Selenski, Michelle Vittesse, and Tara Puffenberger play for the U.S. team versus China. Even though they all played well, they lost...kind of by a lot. But it was a great game to watch and we are all very proud of our teammates! After the game, we took a team picture on the field, and waited for Jack the Bus Driver to come back to pick us up. We ended the night with a short team meeting to talk about our scrimmage and how we could improve from it. After the meeting, we took our per diem with us around the area to find some food. Forgetting that it was a Saturday night, we did not find as many quick but decent restaurants, but most of the team settled on the mall food court, which was totally acceptable considering Qdoba was an option.
Even though we did not have to be in our rooms by 11 p.m., we were all pretty much in our beds by 10 watching the movie "Titanic." I am sure some stayed up to watch the rest in their rooms, but I was too tired to look for the remote in my own room to turn it on. I had to get my sleep in for another early morning run at 8 am. After I set my alarm for 7:58, I was off to bed.
Friday, Aug. 14
An early 7:45 a.m. wake-up call started the day and we met in the lobby for the team run. The weather was perfect in the early part of this morning and the city was already well awake, bustling with people and their coffees and tons of joggers moved about. Led by our two assistant coaches, Inako and Kyser, we jogged down towards a park/trail by a river. The scenery was gorgeous. We stopped to stretch before continuing with a 25 minute alternating jog/sprint "Fartlek" run. It was definitely challenging but the team stayed positive and encouraging and made it through in spite of aching muscles.
After cooling down and working up and appetite, we walked backs towards Copley and the hotel, stopping into an Au Bon Pain for breakfast. Then it was back to our rooms to shower and get dressed for the day. We met again in the lobby around 11:45 all dressed similarly from head to toe in our brand new for '09 Virginia field hockey gear. We loaded the bus and headed towards Cambridge/Harvard Square for lunch. We received per diem to quickly roam the town and find some food before watching two World Cup Games. It was a neat area and a lot of us had never seen the town surrounding Harvard before.
The day really started to heat up and we were sweating by the time we made it to Jordan Field - the venue for the World Cup Games. First we watched Korea vs. The Netherlands. It was a pretty good game, but one definitely dominated and won by the Dutch. They use a lot of quick passing, good skill, and have a relentless mentality. All this we took note of and hoped to apply to our game against UNH. The second game we saw was England vs. Argentina. England, the underdogs, really held on and made it a close and exciting game. However, Argentina was able to pull out a 1-0 victory in overtime. We quickly left Jordan Field to get back to the hotel and change in time for practice. We practiced at Northeastern's turf field and worked mainly on shooting and game preparation and positioning.
Practice ended a bit early due to lack of proper lighting but nonetheless, it ended on an upbeat note. We received per diem again, which is always nice, and were left to find dinner somewhere near the hotel before our 10:30 p.m. team meeting. Dinner choices ranged from sushi to California Pizza Kitchen. After dinner, showering was nice. It was a long day and perhaps Boston was actually just as hot at Charlottesville. The team meeting was relatively short and sweet. The coaches gave us our team objectives for the game and we made some individual ones of our own. After that, I watched a little TV and was out before I knew it. More to come tomorrow!
Thursday, Aug. 13
We started the third day of preseason with a 7 a.m. lift and practice from 8-10. We quickly packed up, showered, and loaded onto the bus (a sleeper bus complete with a flat screen TV in the back) on time for an 11 a.m. departure to Boston. The itinerary? Some team bonding, fitness workouts, a scrimmage against UNH, and lots of watching all the elite international hockey represented at the BDO 2009 Junior World Cup. The trip was also allowing us to come see and support four of our teammates (Selenski, Vittesse, Puffenberger are playing for the U.S. and Stockel for Germany.) All in all, not a bad deal considering we got to escape Charlottesville's humidity and preseason's typical three-a-day daily grind.
Normally, a 12-hour bus ride would most likely be dreaded but I think we were already too wiped to notice. Our bodies appreciated the time to relax and sleep. About the first four hours were dead silent. Imagine that with this usually extremely lively bunch. After some pretty legitimate naps, we passed the time reading books, magazines, watching movies, including "10 Things I Hate About You" and the-ever-so-popular "Twilight", and of course eating our awesome custom-made boxed lunches pre-ordered from Foods of All Nations. That place is pretty much a regular for us on road trips.
We continued driving until dinner around 7:45 p.m. at Bertucci's Italian Restaurant. It was a nice chance to get off the bus for a bit and stretch our legs and fuel up for the A.M's scheduled "Team Fitness". Dun dun dunnn. A quick two-and-a-half hours of more driving after dinner and we had arrived! Our hotel, The Collonade, is located in Boston's downtown Copley Square. It was super nice and I definitely noticed the large, comfy, alluring beds. At around midnight, it was straight to bed.
Sunday, Aug. 9
Today was a typical day in Boston. We were given a schedule last night that said our wake up time should be scheduled accordingly based on an 8:55 jog/stretch. We jogged down to the BU turf (where it looks like Mens/Womens Lacrosse and Soccer is played). Normally on a morning like this morning we would do plyometrics and stretching, however, this morning we played ultimate frisbee. After that we ate breakfast at the BU cafeteria (I ate a egg white and cheese sandwhich on an english muffin). The team met with the coaches at 10 a.m. to talk about England tendencies and see some video on situational plays (long hits, short corners, pressing and outletting the ball).
Finally we have an hour and a half to nap, then we're off the lunch at 1 pm. Shortly after we had our pregame meeting, where we reiterate the tendencies and hear the line-up. Tonight for England, we learned that they play very similar to the way we play. The England midfielders play from the inside of the field towards the outside, and their backfield players are extremely skilled when they aren't pressured. So for the most part tonight we have to put heavy pressure on them individually. Right now I'm off to get dressed and head to the bus. Wish us luck! Go USA!!
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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