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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Eight

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Eight

Day Eight in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Cori Conley and Emily Klingler

May 15, 2016

The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a ten-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 8 & 9, May 14-15

The Hague - Harleem - Bloemendaal - Amsterdam

Cori Conley, junior, Oak Park, Illinois

The final match of our tour of Holland was scheduled for late Saturday afternoon, against hockey club Bloemendaal. Before the match we went to Haarlem, where we enjoyed a hardy lunch, followed by a little bit of shopping, and then a few sweets from a local sweets shop that had Belgian waffles with various toppings and different flavors of ice cream!

Once we finished our sightseeing in Haarlem, we hopped on the bus and headed over to Bloemendaal for our final match of hockey. Bloemendaal is known for being a highly-skilled hockey club here in Holland. Playing against them was a chance to only make us better. The style of play was almost similar to that of a Big Ten Conference game. Bloemendaal was really physical when it came to winning 50/50 balls as the game was played at a very high tempo -- as all our games in Holland were! Colleen Conway was strong for us in goal, while both Aurelia Meijer and Cassie Kline scored goals for us. After regulation, we got in some extra pressure-packed practice by participating in a shootout with Bloemendaal.

When the match and shootout were over, we joined the members of the hockey club for dinner and social hour, when we talked about hockey, our countries and our cultures. We devoured a pasta and salad dinner (which was very tasty, BTW). Afterwards, we returned to the hotel and then experienced a bit more of The Hague. Tomorrow is the final full day of the trip and we are all excited to visit Amsterdam.


(Clockwise from lower right): At Club Bloemendaal, among the shootout stars for Penn State were Aurelia Meijer, Colleen Conway and Gini Bramley.

Emily Klingler, sophomore, Selinsgrove, Pa.

Hallo (Dutch for "hello") from Emily Klingler in Amsterdam. Sunday is our final day in Holland before we board our eight-hour flight home. For me, today is bittersweet. Bitter because I have had such an amazing time with my teammates and it has come to an end. Sweet because I get to go share my stories and my experiences at home with my friends and family.

Today we got to cruise the canals of Amsterdam and had the chance to see many parts of the city. We passed many houseboats -- some legal and some illegal. The legal houseboats had electricity water, and sewer, and were permitted to be parked in the canal of the Amsel River. The houses along the canal are narrow because when they were first constructed centuries ago they were taxed depending on the width of the house. They have large, wide windows so they can move furniture in and out of the house on higher floors using a pulley at the top of the house.

Two more fun facts about Amsterdam's canals: There are small fences along the canal used to keep cars from going in the water. However, one car a week still ends up in the canal. Yikes! More than 1,000 bikes are removed from the canal each year. My favorite sites along the cruise were the "weepers" tower, where many tears were shed by wives were who gathered there to see their husbands off to sea. Only one in four men returned! I also liked the point on the canal where you could look through and see seven arched bridges all lined up. After the cruise, we went in search of the Anne Frank House. We did see the location the house - now part of a museum that envelopes it - where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

I then had a nice warm lunch at a small café with a few of my teammates. It was great to get out of the cold and sit down after walking around the different parts of the city, including the red light district. Just like New York City, Amsterdam is a huge city filled with people traveling by bikes, cars, buses and trams coming and going in every direction. The city is filled with museums and different shops you can explore. It's impossible to see everything in just one day.


 (Left to right): Lauren McNally, Mary Nell Smith, Gini Bramley and Emily Klingler.

The shoe fits for (left to right) Colleen Conway, Emilee Ehret, Brooke Birosik and Aurelia Meijer.
A Penn State goal by Cassie Kline against Bloemendaal was a present for her parents' anniversary, just as she promised.
Reunited again, at Bloemendaal clubhouse: Penn State trainer Renee Messina (right) and Amanda Dinunzio, former Nittany Lion who just finished up the year playing for Hockey Club Rotterdam in overgangsklasse.
First-half highlights against Bloemendaal on Saturday night included (clockwise, from upper left): fine ball handling by Brooke Birosik, great Penn State team spirit and tight play, and key stops by keeper Colleen Conway.

A cruise of Amsterdam's canals produced lots of great views!


A cruise of Amsterdam's canals produced lots of great views!


Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Seven

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Seven

Day Seven in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Jenny Rizzo, Colleen Conway and Mary Nell Smith

May 14, 2016
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 7 & 8, May 13-14
The Hague - Harleem

Colleen Conway, sophomore, Franklin Lakes, N.J., and Jenny Rizzo, sophomore, Hershey, Pa.
"Greetings from your PSU goalkeepers! On Friday night we played against the HDM ladies, who are The Hague's hometown team. We knew coming into the match that they would be a tough opponent because they are in the top league and they practice every day as a cohesive unit. However, we psyched ourselves up really well for the game by playing old school sing-alongs on the bus ride over -- the parents on the bus especially loved hearing Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel!"

Colleen: "This was a homecoming of sorts. I had already been to HDM for a tournament last year, so it was awesome getting to play against some of the same girls at this wonderful venue."

Jenny: "HDM was one of the best clubs we've seen so far. Their clubhouse is beautiful and they had five top quality pitches for their players. The game itself was the toughest any of us have ever played in -- the goalkeepers really didn't get a break the whole game."

Colleen: "Jenny started the first half and had some of the nicest goalkeeping I have ever seen!"

Jenny: "Colleen went in during the second half and held them off with a great stick save and multiple crotch shots. Good thing she was wearing her pelvic protector!  Even though we lost in an incredibly fast-paced game, we loved all the action we saw. It gave us ample opportunity to practice and learn from some of the best players in the world."

Colleen & Jenny: "After the game, we ate dinner in the clubhouse and socialized with the other team. The salad and yogurt they served were good, but really different than anything we have had in the United States. The best part of the whole night, though, was when the other goalkeeper came up to us after dinner and gave us her glove and a playing jersey! We gave her one of our practice jerseys in return, and each keeper walked away with a nice souvenir to cap off a great night."



Penn State goalies Colleen Conway (left) and Jenny Rizzo (right) with their HDM counterpart.

Mary Nell Smith, sophomore, Dauphin, Pa.
"Before I recap our Saturday morning in Den Hauge all I can say is, 'Make the trip!' Waking up early in Holland has been a breeze -- and trust me, at home you can catch me in bed until 1 or 2 p.m. Around every corner is something my teammates and I have never experienced before. For example, with the language barrier and the diverse and different food choices, we have been taken out of our comfort zones. It has been nothing but an astounding learning experience. I would highly recommend to anyone I meet or to anyone who reads this that you get out and see something new - be it in Holland or down the straat.

"On our first brisk morning in Den Hague, Netherlands, I awoke to the sound of horseshoes on brick. A little bit of a culture shock... am I right? The street below my window was bustling, so I figured I might as well start my day too. Together as a team we started off with now our 'normal' Dutch breakfast tradition. Everyone meets in the breakfast room to enjoy an assortment of meats, cheeses, eggs, fruit and sprinkles. Yes, sprinkles! Here in Holland hagelslag - also known as sprinkles -- are found literally everywhere. You could probably find hagelslag in a church if you truly looked hard enough. The breakfast way to eat hagelslag, taught to me by none other than my roommate Jenny Rizzo, is to butter wheat bread and place the pure fruit, milk or dark chocolate sprinkles on top and just eat away. Sounds very different from what we would eat at home. I can't seem to wrap my head around it yet, but Jenny embracing culture like she does, is in love with it.

"The next adventure at breakfast laid within an orange juicer. Together of course, Jenny and I tackled yet a new experience. We had to cut around six oranges in half and place them on the juicer, just like we watched the man before us do. When we tried to juice the oranges it didn't work as well as it did for him. A nice woman promptly came up and told us there was a pedal we hadn't been pushing that would make the machine work. After we pushed that pedal there was no stopping us. In no time we had a glass of orange juice that the whole team wanted to sample. It was gone quicker than it was made, but it was undoubtably the best O.J. I have ever tasted.

"Saturday was the first time we actually had to put on our heavy clothes. We have been blessed with beautiful weather ... until today. A group of us walked around Den Hauge looking for souvenirs and gelato. At home I am a fan of hard ice cream, but here in Holland the gelato is amazing. I so far have tried flavors like cookie, Kinder bar (a Dutch candy here), stroopwafel, Oreo and cinnamon. With one taste of this cinnamon gelato all I could think about was Christmas. The Dutch have managed to put an entire holiday season into one flavor of gelato. Like a lot of the foods here, it is to die for!

"Later in the day, we took a bus to Haarlem, a city just as or even more beautiful as the ones we had already seen. We didn't have much time, but a few of us ate at Dessert Bar, where they say life is sweet but they are sweeter. As our pre-game meal - we play at nearby Bloemendaal Saturday night - we ordered eggs with ham, bacon, tomatoes, and bread underneath. Not quite something I would eat at home, but here it was better than I could have ever imagined. Next stop: Bloemendaal, to face one of the Holland's top teams!"


Action in Friday night's game (clockwise, from upper left): Shay Cannon, goalie Jenny Rizzo (5) and associate head coach Lisa Love with Mary Nell Smith.


The Nittany Lions enter the gates of the HDM field hockey club for their game Friday night in The Hague.


Shoe shopping in Haarlam on Saturday morning (left to right): Doug and Char Morett-Curtiss; Skyler Fretz and Shay Cannon; and Stuart Smith and Lisa Love.


Posing along the canals of Harleem are (left to right): Emily Klingler, Jenny Rizzo, Lauren McNally, Katie Dembrowski and Cori Conway.

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Six

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Day Six in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Kirsten Gochnauer and Skyler Fretz
May 13, 2016

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.

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High school foes Kirsten Gochnauer of Penn State and Donegal High School (right) and Carrie Sensenig, a junior at ODU and a Cocalico High School alum, share a moment after the Leiden contest. Sensenig, who is visiting Holland, stopped by to see the Nittany Lions play.
Skyler Fretz, junior, Oley, Pa.
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.
Next stop, our game tonight against HDM!

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Skyler Fretz (left) and Katie Dembrowski
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The team catches its wind(mill) after a Friday morning "regeneration run" along the canals of Utrecht prior to heading to their next step, The Hague.
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(collage) The Nittany Lions faced off against Leiden on Thursday night.
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Penn State arrives in The Hague, where they pose for a group shot in Het Binnehof.
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Assistant coach Stuart Smith is a big fan of H&M, which has a big presence in Holland, including here in The Hague.
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The wooden shoe fits and wearing it are (left to right) Gini Bramley, Skyler Fretz, Katie Dembrowski, Jenny Rizzo and Mary Nell Smith.
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Much of the Penn State team enjoyed their pre-game lunch on Friday at a large outdoor café that served as the hub for several restaurants and pubs.

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Five

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Five

Day Five in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Shay Cannon and Delani Higgins


May 12, 2016


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 5 & 6, May 11-12



Shay Cannon, junior, Wilmington, Del.


"Hi everyone! On Wednesday we arrived in Utrecht with the luxury of yet another beautiful sunny day. We are staying at a hotel in central city. Our hotel is very modern and contemporary along with luxurious rooms and great views. It only takes about five minutes to get to Central Station, which we must walk through to get to central city. As Emilee Ehret described in yesterday's blog, we have had the opportunity to tour all that this city has to offer.

"On Wednesday night we enjoyed dinner in the city with different groups of teammates. Some of us ate at Smaak Eten & Drinken. I've noticed many stores and restaurants here are very small. Eten & Drinken was no different. I was very surprised to walk into a restaurant with a single cozy-sized room consisting of about 10 tables. It looked like a room in a house! Despite the size of the restaurant, we unanimously decided it was the best meal each of us has had thus far. Some entrees included steak, salmon, spare ribs and tortellini, all with a Dutch spin. After dinner we enjoyed gelatos while others searched for the infamous Dutch stroopwafel and ice cream.

"I've quickly learned you always have to be on the look out for bikers and mopeds (the primary sources of transportation). If you give them an inch, they will take it. Bikers do not slow down for those who are walking! Traveling through this city, I felt like I was in a movie strolling through the cobble streets along the canals listening to live guitar music. Nowhere in Delaware have I experienced this! The Dutch culture is breath-taking. Although it is different than what I'm accusomed to, I could definitely get used to it!"                                                           



Shay Cannon (left) and Skyler Fretz had a rockin' good time touring Utrecht. 

Delani Higgins, Hummelstown, Pa.


"Hi everyone! It's Thursday afternoon and we've had a busy day so far in advance of our game tonight at the Leidenscheen Oegstgesster Hockey Club in Oeggstgesst, Holland. We spent most of the daytime today trekking around the city center of Utrecht. The city is built on the canal, so there are so many great opportunities to get a look at how the people of Utrecht spend their time and get a glimpse of their culture.

"On Thursday morning, the two teams split into two separate groups for a morning expedition to an 'Escape Room' - a room in which you get locked in with your group and you receive different clues to find your way out within a time limit of an hour. It's a good team-building exercise, with an emphasis on communication ad collaboration.

"I was lucky enough to be in the second group, so we slept in a bit longer that the first group. To get there, we ventured through the train station to the Dom Tower, where we met with our tour guide, Judith, who took us the rest of the way to a place called 'Mysteria,' where the escape room was located. The room was medieval-themed and right beside the canal -- so it was below street level. As the first group finished, our teammates were not allowed to give us any clues. But they did freak us by saying how scary it was down there. That did not relax our nerves at all.

"The leader of Mysteria came out and invited us into a little room in the canal wall. The room was tiny and the man was wearing an outfit that reminded me of the wizard in Fantasia. He told us that he was a part of a 1500s society led by Cornelius Foxeus, who had learned the gift of living forever. He said that back in that time people did not like that kind of magic and that they had to live in the tunnels of the canal bridges ever since.

"We were then blindfolded and led into the escape room. We were all handcuffed to metal rods in a wall and locked into the room. 'The Voice of Cornelius Foxeus' told us we could take our blindfolds off to start our attempt to escape. If we escaped in time, we could become a part of that society that lives forever, if not...well, you get locked in there forever. We took our blindfolds off and eventually worked our way out of the handcuffs. We got clues on how to escape by looking through books, standing on stones to make doors open and placing compasses on the right spot on a map. My favorites were placing the chess pieces on the right place on the board and lining up mirrors to let a light shine through to expose another clue.

"Suspenseful music played the entire time, as my teammates wore monk costumes in hopes of gaining clues -- we didn't get clues, but we did end up looking ridiculous. At one point, Brooke Birosik thought there was a clue in the attic. She wasn't tall enough to reach the door, so she got Shay Cannon to open it. A taxidermy fox fell from the top and scared all of us.

"To finish the game, we had to translate shapes and numbers into the correct letters. We then put the letters into a lock that looked like it came from the movie 'The DaVinci Code.' Unfortunately, neither group was able to finish the last code as each team missed a different letter. Thankfully, Cornelius Foxeus could see how hard we worked to get to the last clue, so the didn't lock us up in there forever. It was a fun experience and at the end we all tried on medieval clothes and took pictures.

"The rest of the afternoon was ours to shop, stroll the sidewalks of Utrecht, take kayaks up and down the canal, and grab lunch. A couple of us decided to look through a 'make-your-own jewelry' store down the street from the escape room. We then got Italian pizza at a restaurant along the canal, which was amazing. From there, we found our way back to the hotel to rest up for the game. I'm excited to see what tonight's game and the trip have in store!"


Under blue and white skies, Delani Higgins takes a canal-side selfie.


Left to right, in Utrecht: Skyler Fretz, Delani Higgins, Gini Bremley, Kirsten Gouchnauer, Shay Cannon and Mary Nell Smith.


Team members dressed up in medieval-style costiumes as part of the Mysteria escape room experience.


Shay Cannon enjoys dining outside along the canals of Utrecht.


 Many folks in the Penn State traveling party toured the amazing gardens of Keukenhof on Thursday.




Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Four

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Four

Day Two in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Moira Putsch, Kasey Moreno and Emilee Ehret


May 11, 2016

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 4 & 5, May 10-11

Laren - Zwolle - Utrecht


Moira Putsch, junior, Media, Pa., and Kasey Morano, Hammonton, N.J.


"Hey guys! Moira and Kasey here. Boy, do we have a lot to tell you! Tuesday afternoon, after a day in De Hoge Veluwe National Park, we headed to Laren for our second match of our tour of Holland. Add in an hour's drive, and we were worried we weren't going to have enough energy. (It helped that we all fell asleep on the bus.)

"But when we walked off the bus, saw the beautiful Laren two-story clubhouse and felt the energy and excitement coming from its five surrounding synthetic turf fields (used for field hockey only), we woke up and got amped for the game. We also learned that three of the three of the best field hockey players in the world -- Masha Palman and Naomi VannAs, Joyce Strombock - came from the Laren club. We were ready!

"The game against the Laren Girls U18 team started out really strong for us. We were connecting and passing better than we had been in a while, and it was definitely an improvement from the first game on Sunday, when we landed in Holland in the morning and played that evening. Gini Bramley started us out with a saaaaaa-WEEEEET goal on a pass from Kasey (who is writing this with Moira). Then Laren answered with a goal to tie it, 1-1. Carly Celkos stepped up on a corner and rocketed one into the back of the cage, followed by a goal from Laren that made it 2-2.

"We scored again when Aurelia Maijer, who is from Holland and was playing in front of several family members and friends, took the ball down the sideline -- and wearing a very determined look on her face - scored for a 3-2 lead. Laren again answered with a goal. Gini then put us ahead 4-3 when she scored with an incredible pop over the defender on a drive to the top left corner from the right side. It was nasty!

"The game was exciting and fast, with everyone on our team putting all the energy they had left out on the field. The double teams were dangerous and it felt really fun to be connecting like that. Kasey had a fire tip-off (Moira's words) of a shot from Carly on a corner. Talk about deception! The corners were on point. The match ended with a 6-4 victory, after both Aurelia and Laren added goals. The horn sounded and our head coach, Char Morett-Curtiss, had a big smile on her face. It was a good win and the first of our trip.

"We concluded the evening by sharing a meal in the clubhouse with the Laren team we had just played. The girls were so nice and very funny. We had a really great time conversing using a mixture of Dutch and English. It was also really interesting to hear all about the differences and similarities between our two lifestyles. We shared a delicious salad, noodles and a meat, veggie and tomato sauce concoction that was scrumptious. The bread is unreal. It's so good, I am taking a suitcase of it home. Our nutritionist, Kris Clark, would be so proud we are carb'ing it up!"

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Kasey Morano (left) and Moira Putsch (right) pose post-game with a member of the host Laren team.

Emilee Ehret, senior, Philadelphia, Pa.

"We started off Wednesday with a 90-minute bus trip from our first home base of Zwolle to the city of Utrecht. We all were fast asleep, but as soon as we arrived we immediately started roaming the city. We walked around and we all enjoyed a hustling and bustling city in Holland.

"We went to the Dom Tower after lunch and experienced a historic spot in the city of Utrecht. This tower stands very tall in the middle of the city and is part of two sections of a beautiful church that was partially destroyed several centuries ago. The two ends of the church remain, like bookends, while the middle is now a big courtyard.

"Climbing the 465 steps to the top was not easy. After 100 steps, we all were struggling. The steps in Holland are designed to be very steep. Throughout the tour of the bell tower, we stopped to listen to the tour guide describe each of the floors and their importance for the tower. One floor had seven large bells and the largest of the bells weighed more than two elephants combined. These bells are only rung twice a year on New Year's Eve and a national festival day. Only two people on the tour had the opportunity to ring the bells, and Emily Klingler and I were the chosen two!

"On the floor above that, we got to see the largest music box of its time, which was created in the 1700s. It rings a specific melody every year and only on one day of the year the music box does not play because it takes an entire day to change the melody for the following year. Finally, we walked 100 more steps to the very top. The very narrow staircase was tiring and a little scary. Still, it was a fabulous way to get to see an astonishing and amazing view of the city. It was worth every step.

"When we made it to the top, Moira Putsch yelled, 'I love Utrecht!' Seeing such a historic site and being with our entire team was a memory we won't forget. However, my feet were killing me at the end of the tour because we were going up and down so many steps. So, on the way back to the hotel, I decided to treat myself to a new pair of shoes to ease the pain!"

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Emilee Ehret had a ball ringing a big bell in Dom Tower.

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Emilee Ehret stands in front of the Don Tower, the tallest building in Utrecht, Holland.

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The Penn State team climbed 465 steps to the top of the Dom Tower and was still smiling.

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A panoramic view of Utrecht.

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After Penn State's 6-4 victory over Laren on Tuesday night, the two teams shared a traditional post-game meal in the Laren clubhouse. Reliving the game and getting to know their opponents in a relaxed and friendly fashion is a key part of the trip's learning experience.

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Three

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Three

Day Two in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Katie Dembrowski and Brooke Birosik


 Holland Trip Recaps: Day One | Day Two

May 10, 2016

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 3 & 4, May 9-10

Zwolle - Ottrelo - Laren


Katie Dembrowski, sophomore, Palmyra, Pa.

 "I grew up in Palmyra, a small town adjacent to Hershey - so I know all about tourists flocking to a city. For the first half of our tour of Holland, our team is staying in the beautiful town of Zwolle, located in the north-central part of The Netherlands. It is not quite the tourist place that I am accustomed to. I am used to "Chocolatetown, U.S.A.," with people waiting in line to get into the park, lots of cars clogging the streets and so many people coming to buy Hershey's famous chocolate.

 "Here in Zwolle, people are not used to seeing Americans walking around shopping and trying new foods. In fact, we went to a restaurant named "De Vier Jaargetijden," and asked our waiter if he serves a lot of Americans. He quickly said no. It is interesting to see the difference in tourism between Hershey and Zwolle. Most restaurants here do not have American menus, so we ended up asking the waiter a million questions. Once we found out what was on the menu, it seemed as though they served a lot of American foods, like burgers and ribs. So of course, I ordered a burger -- but it did not taste anything like an American burger. It was delicious and had a more natural taste to it. I find that to be the case with a lot of foods here; they seem to be more natural than the foods we have back at home. 

"When we went a tour of the city and surrounding countryside on bikes, we did not see many people just out riding and looking at all the scenery -- everyone had a place to go! They were going to work, going to school or going to a shop. They would not wait for us to turn or get across the road. Instead, they would just speed by us because I do not think they are used to people riding bikes around the city who are just sight-seeing. Everyone here has a destination. 

 "Of course, everyone here is so also nice. They may not be accustomed to tourists, but they sure do a good job of hosting them!"

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Kirsten Gochnauer (left) and Katie Dembrowski.

Brooke Birosik, senior, Ickesburg, Pa.

"Hello from the Kröller-Müller Museum & Sculpture Garden! Today, our team took a trip over to De Hoge Veluwe National Park. It is about an hour away from our hotel in Zwolle.

"During the bus ride, we had a blast singing and doing some throwback karaoke. When we arrived to the park, we were free to roam for about four hours. The museum was about two kilometers from where we got dropped off by our bus. We could either walk to the museum or take one the hundreds of free white one-speed bikes available all over the park. Like almost everyone else in Holland, most of us took the bikes!

"The museum is like a second home to the work of Vincent Van Gogh. It has around 90 paintings and more than 180 drawings, making it the second-largest collection of Van Goghs in the world. After touring around the art inside the museum, a few of us explored the outside sculpture garden, where you could see modern sculptures and how they just blended into the natural background of tall green trees and many trails. The garden serves as a backdrop for over 160 sculptures by prominent artists, like Jean Dubuffet and Marta Pan.

"Afterwards, we had a cozy lunch outdoors in a large tent located in the middle of the garden. There I devoured a delicious goat cheese salad alongside a classic Latte. Later on, a bunch of us headed back to the bikes and we then ventured off on a 12k trip to the Jachthuis Sint Hubertus castle, which is located on the north side of the park.

"They call this park -- which is the biggest nature reserve in all of Holland -- 'The Green Gem of the Netherlands.' It certainly is and the visit made for a unique and unforgettable experience."


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 Lunch with (left to right) Kirsten Gouchner, Jenny Rizzo, Cassie Kline and Brooke Birosik.

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All over the sculptures and artwork at the Kröller-Müller Museum were (left to right) Lauren McNally, Emilee Ehret, Aurelia Maijer and Moria Putsch.

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Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the world's second-largest collection of Van Gogh artwork, including his celebrated "Café Terrace at Night" and "Joseph Roulin."

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Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the world's second-largest collection of Van Gogh artwork, including his celebrated "Café Terrace at Night" and "Joseph Roulin."

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Bike riding through De Hoge Veluwe National Park.

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Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the world's second-largest collection of Van Gogh artwork, including his celebrated "Café Terrace at Night" and "Joseph Roulin."

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Two

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FH_Holland blog header3_2016.jpg

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.

 Holland Trip Recaps: Day One

Days 2 & 3, May 8-9
Hattem - Zwolle

Carly Celkos, senior, Berlin, N.J.

 "Sunday night we played our first match against a Dutch team that included the brother (Gilles) of my teammate, Aurelia Meijer. We learned a lot of playing for the first time against the Dutch, who are known for their quick passing and decision making.

 "It seemed like everyone at the club arrived riding their bikes with their field hockey sticks attached.  It was amazing to see the passion and love for hockey the people of Holland have. Parents, grandparents, teenagers, and young children all came out to watch our game and stayed to socialize afterwards. Hockey here is a big part of their lifestyle for people of all generations. The people at the club were very friendly. It was great getting to meet people our age in Holland and seeing how much we have in common - we have similar tastes in things like music, clothing and movie.

 "After the game in Sunday night we had a little time to explore of Zwolle as a team. What really surprised us the most was how clean the downtown of Zwolle was for being a city. There was a beautiful moat also with little boats in the lake.

 "One of the advantages of going away is being able to have everyone on the team at the same place at the same time. Other than practice and games, that doesn't happen a great deal back on campus. Being able to really bond and be together off the field is special and I know it will help with team-building in the future, all of us sharing this great experience 24/7. We went to a cute little café in Zwolle, just a short walk from our hotel. We all sat down and talked about our amazing first day. It was a great way to end our day all together, just the 20 of us.

 "On Monday morning, we all gathered after breakfast for a team bike ride through Zwolle. We got to see the city close-up, going past old cathedrals and riding on cute brick streets, all the while joining hundreds of cyclists who riding to work and school. After a day off, on Tuesday we have our second match of the tour, against the Laren Girls U18 squad."


 Penn State teammates (left to right) Jenny Rizzo, Katie Dembrowski, Brooke Birosik and Carly Celkos prepare for a cycle ride in Holland.

Lisa Winters, sophomore, Hershey, Pa.

 "After we finished our bike ride, we had the rest of Monday as free time to explore the city of Zwolle. We walked toward the center of the city, where teammate Brooke Birosik and I stopped at a small cafe to get some sandwiches and lattes for lunch. The whole menu was in Dutch and we only understood a few words, but we made our best guesses and ended up with some pretty tasty meals.

 "After filling our stomachs with some food, we set out down the main shopping road. I recognized a couple of stores that we have at home, like H&M, but most of the time we just looked in the windows and tried to guess which stores we would like. The best part was that whenever we started to get a little tired or wanted to get out of the sun for a little bit, there was always a cafe around to grab some coffee or a snack and sit down until we were ready to go again. I don't think a vanilla latte in the United States will ever taste the same to me again after having some of the most amazing ones I've ever had over here.

 "It was a pretty hot day, so after a few hours of walking around and shopping we all headed back to the hotel to chill out on the porch and rehydrate a little bit. We stayed there until dinnertime, when a whole bunch of us walked back into the city, planning on finding a restaurant that had been recommended by our hotel staff. Even with the help of Google Maps, we hadn't found the place after walking around awhile, so once we got tired of looking we just sat down at the closest place. Nearly everyone in the group wanted a burger, but apparently our 'refined' American love for burgers was a bit confusing to our waiter; he was pretty confused about our exact specifications for toppings and condiments and none of them came out exactly as planned, but we all thought it was pretty funny and made it work.

 "My sleep schedule is still pretty messed up from the six-hour time difference, so at this point a few other teammates and I decided to grab some ice cream and head back to the hotel. It's good to have some time now to rest up for another fun day and our second game tomorrow!"

Many of the Penn State student-athletes spent their leisure time in Zwolle dining out and shopping. 


Carly Celkos and teammate Gina Bramley pose outside of Sassenpoort, one of the old city gates in Zwolle, which is the capital city of 125,000 residents of the province of Overjssel, Netherlands.


One of the team's two cycling tours took its riders past a quintessential Holland windmill on their way to the town of Kampen.

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day One

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FH_Holland blog header3_2016.jpg

The Penn State women's field hockey team 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, from bike tours and canal cruises and to traditional post-game meals with their hosts.

Days 1 & 2, May 7-8:
Philadelphia - Amsterdam - Zwolle - Hattem

Cassie Kline, sophomore, Millersville, Pa. 
"Hey everyone! This is Cassie Kline and as I writing this it is exactly noon on Sunday in sunny Zwolle, Netherlands. It is a fantastic day to play some field hockey! Hard to believe, but my day actually began yesterday at my home near Lancaster, Pa. -- over 3,000 miles from where I am right now.

"The entire team, our coaching and support staff, plus several parents met on Saturday afternoon at the Philadelphia airport for the field hockey trip of a lifetime. We checked our bags and stood in a long line - longer than what we even see back on campus -- waiting to go through security. Once that mission was accomplished, we had an hour-and-a-half until we started boarding, so the team broke up to grab some dinner. Some team members and I went to Chickie's & Pete's, where I got a grilled chicken salad before we took off for Holland.

"As we boarded the plane, I took my seat, which was closest to the aisle, and prepared myself for a long six-hour ride. Most of the team slept, listened to music and watched movies on the plane. We knew we needed to get some rest, since are scheduled to a play later his afternoon.

"We arrived at 2:45 a.m. American time -- which is 8:45 a.m. in the Netherlands, which meant no naps before the game. We got off the plane and went to the baggage claim to pick up our luggage. From there, we took a coach bus that delivered us to our hotel after a very scenic drive. When we arrived at the hotel, which is very gorgeous, we were met by the warm greetings of family of our teammate Aurelia Meyer, who lives in the Netherlands. After everyone dropped their bags off in their rooms, we sat down for lunch at the hotel and had tomato soup and sandwiches. We are all excited for our first game later today against a U16 boys team at Aurelia's hometown field hockey club."


Sophomore Cassie Kline on day one in Holland.

Aurelia Meijer, sophomore, Hattem, The Netherlands

"What an exciting and memorable day Sunday has been! My Penn State field hockey family met my own family - my parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents -- as well as the close friends and neighbors who make up the Hattem Mixed Hockley Club. I am proud of them all.


"Since I was 10 years old, my family has lived in our house in Hattem, a small town not far from Zwolle. My parents' home is a very short walk to the HMHC field and clubhouse. Field hockey is the No. 1 sport in Holland, and clubs like ours are a central gathering place for training, competition and post-game celebrations enjoyed by players and supporters of all ages. It was great to show by Penn State friends and teammates this great hockey tradition.


"It's where I honed my skills for five years as a hockey player, from age 10 to 14. It is also where my father Xander, sister Sanderyn, and brothers Ijsbrand and Gilles still play today. And by today, with my brothers I mean Sunday! My Penn State team competed against the Hattem U16 team, which included Gilles, as well as a guest appearance by Ijsbrand. He's a tough player - I am so glad he didn't score.


"I have so many good memories of playing on that field, so it was great to have a chance to play there while representing Penn State. It was a chance for my teammates to absorb what hockey in The Netherlands is all about. Sometimes I tell the team that I miss my home, and I'm not sure they always understand. After my family hosted everyone for pre-game cakes and pies and juice and fruit- and herb-flavored water, they toured our house and nearby woods. Afterwards, so many of them told me, `Now we know what you mean!'


"It was a hard-fought game and although we lost, it meant a lot that several of my friends and club members came up to afterwards and said how impressed they were by my Penn State teammates and how we played just hours after flying here from the U.S.A. We gave our hosts T-shirts and pins. As is our Dutch custom, my club hosted my Penn State teammates for a big meal of pasta, salad, pastry (like our native soejes) and beverages - and lots of laughs and conversation. Our club is like Penn State...everyone is as close as family.


"My family really loves Penn State - and now, so does my club as well. And I know my teammates have a new appreciation for my hometown and country as well.


Aurelia Meijer with her brothers Ijsbrand (age 12, left) and Gilles (age 14, right), who competed for the Hattem Boys U16 team against Penn State on Sunday.

#PSUFH2Holland Snapshots - Day One

Day one in Holland following the team's first game.

The Nittany Lion flag flew over the playing field.

Goaltenders Colleen Conway (21) and Jenny Rizzo (5) watch a men's game prior to their contest on Sunday.

The Penn State FH team and the family of Aurelia Meijer enjoyed a pre-game get-together at the Meijer house in Hattem, The Netherlands, located adjacent to the Hattem Mixed Hockey Club (HMHC) field and clubhouse.

The Nittany Lions enjoy a bit of down time after arriving in The Netherlands.

Penn State Athletics THON 2016 Coverage

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IMG_9032.JPGUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Athletics was heavily involved with the 44th IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) held at the Bryce Jordan Center over the weekend.

THON's 708 dancers began standing at 6 p.m. on Friday and did not sit down or sleep until Sunday at 4 p.m. to raise awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer in the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.

Since 1977, THON has partnered with The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital with one goal in mind: conquering childhood cancer. To date, more than $136 million has been raised by THON. THON revealed a fundraising total of more than $9.7 million for 2016 with 96 percent of THON's all-time funds being donated directly to Four Diamonds. 

Each year, more than 15,000 Penn State student volunteers dedicate their time to THON, making it the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.

Members of Penn State's Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) were active participants in THON, and led run several fund-raising activities once again this year including sending solicitation letters to friends and family and a lip sync competition. In addition to generating financial support for THON, SAAB also provides emotional support to its THON children, Isabella Messina and Colton Buckley, and their families throughout the year.

Four Penn State student-athletes are represented SAAB as dancers in THON 2016: Liisi Vink-Lainas (Wynantskill, N.Y.) and Angela Widlacki (Naperville, Ill.) of women's soccer, Emily Rivers (Washington, D.C.) from women's tennis and Matt Zanellato (Burke, Va.) from football.

"This means the world to us. As athletes you are given a platform that a normal student might not have," said Zanellato. "It's one of those things that when you come in as a freshman, you know that you will have that platform for a few years. I wanted to make the most of it. I realized that THON was something special to me when I came to Penn State. I wanted to use my platform as best I could."

Additionally, Angela Connors and Jessica Spellman from the Lionettes squad and from Penn State cheerleading Kenny Fuhrman, Paige Gentry, Jordan Hinkle, Kylie Tobasco and Mike White danced in THON.

Within Penn State Athletics, strategic communications student assistants Emily Hesidence and Kate Brandell were also among the dancers at THON, as well.

Check out the extensive coverage from THON 2016 weekend.

Friday - 6 p.m. - THON 2016 Begins
The 46-hour dance marathon kicked off at 6 p.m. on Friday evening when the 708 dancers stood. They will remain on their feet until Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.


Saturday - 9:30 a.m. - Student-Athlete Interviews
With Bryce Jordan Center buzzing with energy during the 16th hour of THON 2016, spent some time with student-athletes and THON dancers Liisi Vink-Lainas  and Angela Widlacki of women's soccer, Emily Rivers, from women's tennis and Matt Zanellato from football. Representing Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB), the group is thrilled to carry the Penn State Athletics banner as dancers in the 2016 THON. Take a look at some of their remarks from the floor at the BJC.

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Saturday - 2 p.m. - Football Hosts THON Explorers Event
Approximately 40 members of the Nittany Lion football team welcomed approximately 30 THON Four Diamonds children and their families to a special event inside the Lasch Football Building on Saturday afternoon as part of the THON Explorers program.

The THON event in Lasch is circled on the calendar for the Nittany Lions every year. The THON families gathered inside the home of Penn State football to take photos, get autographs, participate in athletic stations, tour the facility with the Nittany Lions, eat ice cream from the Penn State Creamery and take a group photo.

The Nittany Lions formed a high-five tunnel for the families upon entry into the building before the student-athletes took the families around the football facility. Take a look at the THON Explorers event at the Lasch Football Complex on Saturday.

Football THON Explorers Event

Saturday - 6 p.m. - Student-Athletes Participate in Athlete Hour
Athletes from several teams on campus spent times with the THON Four Diamonds children inside the IM during athlete hour on Saturday.  Here are a few snapshots and video highlights from the event.

Athlete Hour Photo Gallery

Saturday - 11 p.m. - Football Wins Pep Rally Dance Competition
One of the THON highlights every year comes on Saturday night when the teams of Penn State Athletics hop on stage and compete in a dancing competition during the annual pep rally. In all, 12 different teams competed in the 2016 version of the dance-off.

The pep rally included a speech from former Nittany Lion football great Devon Still and his daughter Leah.

As for the dance competition, the football team claimed top honors in the men's side of the action, while the reigning national champion women's soccer team took top honors on the women's side. The two teams then battled in a dance off, with the football team earning the bragging rights as the 2016 THON Pep Rally dancing champion.

We have highlights of every team dancing on Saturday night at THON. 

THON 2016 Pep Rally Photo Gallery

9185732.jpegTHON 2016 Pep Rally Full Dances
Football (Men's & Overall Champion) 
Women's Soccer (Women's Champion)
Men's Fencing
Men's Golf
Men's Gymnastics
Men's Hockey
Men's Rugby
Men's Soccer
Men's Tennis
Men's Volleyball
Field Hockey
Women's Golf
Women's Gymnastics
Women's Hockey
Women's Rugby
Women's Volleyball

Sunday - 11:30 a.m. - VIDEO: Coach Franklin Addresses THON 2016
Head coach James Franklin took the stage of THON 2016 on Sunday morning to urge the dancers on in the final hours of the 46-hour dance marathon.  Franklin's message epitomized what THON's mission has been since it started in 1977.

"This is special. What you guys do is what Penn State is ultimately all about," said Coach Franklin.

Take a look at his full remarks.

James Franklin at THON 2016 Photo Gallery

4:14 p.m. - THON 2016 Raises $9.7 Million
For the second-straight year, THON's fundraising efforts raised more than $9.7 million. The grand total for THON in 2016 was  $9,770,332.32 for fight against pediatric cancer.  Congratulations to everyone involved in THON 2016.  Here is a look at the reveal from Rec Hall prior to Penn State wrestling's bout against Oklahoma State. The Nittany Lion faithful in Rec Hall let out a big cheer as the total was unveiled.


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VIDEO: THON 2016 Pep Rally - Field Hockey

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