The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a nine-day, five-city exhibition tour of The Netherlands, playing five games against a variety of competition in the most renowned field hockey country in the world. Through the student-athletes' own words and pictures, the #PSUFH2Holland daily blog chronicles their adventures on and off the field.
Days 6 & 7, May 12-13
Utrecht - The Hague
Kirsten Gochnauer, senior, Mount Joy, Pa.
On Thursday night we had the opportunity to play a very talented Leiden team. They are currently in the playoffs to move up a level in competition and were excited to get us on their schedule to help prepare for their games next week. I'm always amazed by the hockey culture here. When we pull up to each of the clubs before the game, I've never seen so many hockey fields in one place. Simply seeing the support that each team has for their program pumps me up for each game before my feet even touch the ground.
After some throwback music on the bus and a quick pre-game talk with Char and LB (head coach Char Morett-Curtiss and associate head coach Lisa Bervinchak-Love), we hit the ground running. I'm really starting to like these 15-minute warm-ups! As soon as the whistle blew, another fast-paced match began. We were a bit frantic at first, but soon settled into our usual play. I am always impressed by the Dutch teams' ability to interchange and counterattack; they are always quick to capitalize on an interception or missed touch.
The match remained even at halftime, with both teams having many opportunities to score. We lost a touch or two in the second half, leading to a three-goal deficit, but continued to fight until the bitter end. We had many successful passing patterns and certainly learned a lot from the Dutch players again today. It was another successful day on the pitch.
After the match, we headed into the clubhouse for dinner with the other players. The post-game meals have become one of my favorite parts of the game days: great food and new friends! Tonight's dinner was their version of Chinese, another amazing meal. I got to eat with one of the older players on the team, a 26-year-old native of The Hague who spends her days teaching outdoor education. As always, the players were all so sweet, and it was another bittersweet good-bye.
An extra special shout out to Carrie Sensenig, a junior at ODU and a Cocalico High School alum, who was visiting her freshman year roommate. Always a small world when you run into a fellow Lancaster County native in the middle of the Netherlands.
It's Friday in Holland, which means we switched hotels from Utrecht to Den Haag (The Hague). The new hotel is very nice and has a modern look to it. Along with switching hotels, we also changed our roommates, which is a unique experience because we get to spend time with different girls on the team and have the opportunity to know them better.
The Hague is a beautiful city! While walking to lunch we went through Het Binnenhof Den Haag, when the Dutch parliament is located, and took a picture in front of it as a group. From there, we had lunch at an outdoor café in the center square. The food here is wonderful -- everything is always fresh. After lunch we had free time to walk around the city in smaller groups and shop for souvenirs. The Hague has many shops filled with clothing, shoes, souvenirs, bakeries and, of course, all different kinds of candies. The streets are very busy with people walking or riding on bikes.
Along with the hustle and bustle on the streets I have noticed it is a clean environment and some of the buildings in The Hague are different than the other cities we have visited thus far on the trip. We have seen taller buildings and big businesses that resemble the United States more than the previous cities. This is because The Hague is like the Washington, D.C., of the Netherlands.