Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day 7: Pictures from USA vs. London

Sarah Gascon, Jennifer Farrell, and Tomuke Ebuwei on offense

Jenny Choi, Tomuke Ebuwei, and Kathy Darling play defense

Sarah Gascon gives Maren McCrary props after some nice wing defense

Celia arrives in Europe after graduating from West Point. Yay Celia!

Jen Haubrich and Tomuke Ebuwei get ready on defense

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day 7: USA v. London (Tournament Game 1)

The WNT set-off at 7:45am this morning for their "10 minute" walk to the gym. Although they didn't arrive until 9:00am, at least they got a chance to enjoy the crisp morning air and a scenic walking tour of the area (including a nice view of a giant castle/chateau on a hillside). Once they made it to the gym, practice proceeded as usual as the team prepared for their evening match against London.

After a rest period and lunch, the WNT gathered in the campus cinema to watch video from their friendly match against Israel. The coaches discussed some defensive strategy with the players before sending them off to enjoy a few hours of rest.

The games took place at a stadium in Issy de Mortineau. The stadium was very nice, with a great floor, lots of room for spectators and new locker rooms.

Things were running on what we now like to call "French time," so we started the game a little later than expected and the first whistle blew at 6:45. Things got off to a bit of a slow start for the WNT, who kept a small lead but never drove ahead against the London team, who- although they had mostly foreign players (Slovak, Hungarian, French)- should have been easy to beat.

After half-time, the WNT pulled ahead a little bit only to have their defense break-down, and their offense struggle with turnovers, ending the game with a win, but not as big as it should have been.

Game 1: USA 24- London 22

Pictures soon....

Day 6: Day off in Paris!

Our first day off!! After a few tough days in Paris, it was nice to enjoy a "day off" in the beautiful city of Paris!!

The day began with breakfast and then a team meeting to discuss yesterday's games and review our strategy and goals for the tournament. It was nice to have the time to talk about what things we did well, and what things we need to improve on. After a nice discussion, the team had a few hours to take care of personal business like doing laundry and catching up on email!

Before heading into town, the WNT gathered for lunch at the CREPS cafeteria, before heading off on the RER (train) to downtown Paris.

We started off at the Louvre, and from there smaller groups went off into the city for a few hours to explore and enjoy the day. Some went to the Eiffel Tower, others enjoyed the Louvre, Sacre Coeur Cathedral, Notre Dame, and just walking along the Champs-Elysee.

The team rendez-vous'd back at the Louvre at 6pm to head home, but not before stopping in the Adidas sport shop in search of handball shoes and World Cup gear.

Eventually we all made it back home to CREPS where we ate dinner and took the evening to "hang out," make phone calls, finish laundry and relax.

Big day tomorrow with the first day of the tournament!

Day 5: USA v. Paris 92, USA v. Israel

This was our first day of competition in Paris. After a training session in the morning, we went back to CREPS to shower, eat, and get prepared for the afternoon games which started at 2:30pm.

We arrived in the gym, and played Paris 92, a side selected of players from one particular region in Paris. The game started off poorly, with Paris taking an early lead of 0-7. After a time-out in which Coach Latulippe refocused his players, everyone got back on track to win the game 19-17, with a pretty good looking second half.

After the game, the WNT had a small break during which they watched Israel play Paris and lose by a few points. Perhaps this built everyone's confidence too much, because when we played Israel, we let them take a lead, finishing the game 25-17. Needless to say, no one was pleased with these results, especially since we all realized that Israel was a team we could beat. They played a quick game, and with a smart defense and a strong ability to fast break.

Once everyone had showered, we returned to CREPS where we ate dinner and called it a night....lots to think about if want to win these games during the "official" tournament!

Day 4: Paris and the Coupe de Ligue

Today we travelled from Strasbourg (in the North of France) to Paris by train. It was an early morning departure (7:25am), but we had the train to ourselves so we relaxed in nice compartments. We arrived fairly early in the afternoon at the Gare de l'Est in downtown Paris where we met with Lionel and our hosts in Paris.

They had a lovely bus waiting for us and all of our baggage, and we climbed in headed for CREPS- a training center where we'd spend the next week sleeping, eating, and training.

The campus at CREPS was absolutely beautiful, with big lawns and flowers, and young athletes who were there training for soccer, handball, field hockey and other sports. There were several dorms, two cafeterias, a main building with classrooms, a movie theater, and a library. It all looked very nice.

After we got settled into our dorms, we headed to the cafeteria for a late lunch. After lunch we unpacked, showered, and got ready to go back into town to watch a men's handball game.

We arrived at the stadium, excited to see the final match of the Coupe de Ligue, a French national championship for handball. Montpellier was playing against Paris for the title, it was a sure to be an exciting match!!

The game was a first for most people on the team, and the atmosphere was exciting, with people bringing drums and trumpets and noisemakers to keep the stadium loud. At the end of the game, the score was tied, and the teams went into 2x5 minute overtime. In the end, Montpellier won 30-29. What a great game!!

After the game was over, the team was invited downstairs to the VIP room where we had snacks and drinks and had a chance to meet with the players from both teams. It was definitely a fantastic evening!!

Day 3: School Clinic

Before their morning practice, the WNT took a trip to the local school in Lingolsheim: l'Ecole Maxime Alexandre. Here they met up with students in their second year of English class. WNT players answered questions about being on the team, and their time in Europe.

It was a lot of fun for both the students and the WNT!

WNT players laugh when Edina answers the question: "How old are you?"

Sara Merkl and Lauren Walters chat with students

Sarah Gascon and Jen Haubrich discuss their lives as athletes

Students and WNT pose for a picture

Day 2: Around Strasbourg

A fun day in Strasbourg!

We had a chance to sleep in this morning and had breakfast at 9am before heading to practice in the gym down the street. It was fun to have some spectators from the local club there to watch us as we trained.

After practice, we headed back to the hotel and showered before packing into vans to head into downtown Strasbourg for a tour of the city. There we met with Marguerite, the mother of one of our hosts, who has given tours in Strasbourg for many years.

She walked us around the city for a bit before we all met for lunch in a little restaurant downtown that served traditional Alsacian cuisine. We had a delicious lunch and headed outside to check out the Strasbourg Cathedral, a beautiful church that was the tallest in Europe until the 19th century, when one in Germany beat it out!

She told us that people used to come and pray for children in this church, and that often storks were seen hanging outside the church, or on the church itself. Apparently this is where the myth about storks delivering children originated!!

Sadly the church was closed because it was a holiday, and they were giving a special ceremony inside for a priest who was becoming ordained. Even still, the outside was absolutely gorgeous!!

Since it began to rain, we cut the tour a little bit short and headed back to the vans after another walk through the city.
Strasbourg was definitely a beautiful city, with lots of history, having belonged to both Germany and France!!

Day 1: Travel Pictures

First leg of the trip, Syracuse to DC...still cheerful!

Kathy Darling and Jacque Messel are ready to hit Europe!

WNT players hang out during the 6 hour layover in DC

Day 1: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

It was a typical day of travel...long waits, layovers, lost bags, and jetlag. But somehow, 27 hours later, 19 players, 2 coaches, and a trainer finally made it to the HOtel Atelys in Strasbourg, France.

Sadly, Dawn, Maren, and Edina missed the first train from Paris after trying to locate Maren's luggage, which had been lost since her Monday night flight from Texas. After filing a claim, they made the next train and arrived safely in Strasbourg two hours later.

The biggest challenge of the day was trying to stay awake to adjust to the new schedule SOme of the team walked around the suburb of Lingolsheim, where the team is staying and training at the l'ecole Maxime Alexandre.

At 7pm, the whole team walked up the street to the school gym where the local hosts arranged for a traditional Alsace dinner that included "tarte flambee"- grilled crepe with ham and cheese for the main course, and with apples and cinnemon for dessert.

After a nice social with the local organizing committe, the WNT headed back to the hotel for a long night of much-needed sleep!!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Quick update- not much internet

Hi Everyone! We finally have brief internet access, so a quick update. We've got tons of pictures and commentary we'll put up if we can get the computer for more than a few minutes...hopefully soon!

We're in Paris right now, after several days in Strasbourg, France.

So far we've played 5 games:
1) USA v. Reichstett (28-28) National 2 level
2) USA v. Asptt (19-34) National 1 level
3) USA v. Achnheim (24-29) National 1 level
4) USA v. Paris selection (19-17) Friendly
5) USA V. Israel (17-26)- 20 minute halves/Friendly

Today (Monday) is our day off, we'll explore Paris and rest in preparation for the tournament that begins on Tuesday against Israel, Paris selection, and London.

The team also had a chance to watch the final match of the French Championship between Montpellier and Paris. It went into overtime with Montpellier taking the title. The WNT was also invited to the VIP lounge to meet the players after the game. It was a great opportunity to see handball at the highest level.

More updates, and pictures, to follow! Please be patient, apparently internet isn't as easy to find as we thought!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Schedule in France

Schedule in Germany

Schedule in Holland

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Roster for the Summer 2006 European Tour: