Nordic Cup Diary

Akureyri, Iceland -

July 22, 2004After several months of preparation, we have finally made it to the Nordic Cup. The U.S. has walked away with the title for the past five years, so we come with high aspirations.On July 16, the team of 18 met in N.J. for a three-day camp where we trained and played the U-19 team. It was great to see our fellow Stanford teammate Rachel Buehler who was with the 19s as they ended their training in N.J. in preparation for their upcoming World Cup. We got rid of the rust and jitters and pulled off an encouraging 1-0 victory before heading off to Iceland. Despite the rainy weather, we spent several hours in New York City sightseeing and enjoying our last American meal before going to the airport the night of the 19th.After a five-hour flight and very few winks of sleep, we finally arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland around 6:20 a.m. We spent a few hours in our hotel, struggling to stay awake, before heading out to training. Despite the heavy legs and exhausted bodies, we got through the training. That evening our team ventured out to explore the town; in actuality, it was to keep us from going to bed too early. We walked down to the water and were able to take in the amazing scenery. As we have become world travelers we realize that although 'the sun doesn't shine in Shanghai,' it's better than the sun not setting in Iceland. When we finally attempted to go bed at midnight, outside it appeared to be only 4:00 in the afternoon.The next day we enjoyed a day off to rest and get adjusted to the time change. That afternoon we took a relaxing trip to the blue lagoon, a natural hot spring, formed in the middle of volcanic rock. The spa-like environment was a definite highlight of the trip so far. It was surprising how hot the water actually got. Barnie was the only one courageous enough to exfoliate her skin with the natural white mud.Yesterday we trained in the afternoon before heading to our final destination in Akureyri. Our cameras were clicking only seconds after stepping off our propeller jet. The landscape and scenery were beyond what we ever imagined. We are constantly surrounded by snow covered mountains, green hills, and glistening bodies of water. The hotel we are in now is luxurious compared to those in the past trips. Believe it or not, the food is not so bad either, even with all the fish.Today we trained in preparation for our first match of the tournament. Tomorrow we will play Finland with the hopes of getting off to a good start.This competitive environment is great preparation for preseason, which we sometimes forget is only 3 weeks away. Hopefully, the rest of the team is working hard, and we look forward to playing with them soon.jenny, hayley and barnie

July 26, 2004Finally it was game time! We faced a lengthy drive to our first game, but time passed quickly as we enjoyed the surreal landscape that included waterfalls and streams. We beat Finland, 3-0, despite a small field and windy weather. We shared a bus with the opposing team, which was a little awkward. So it was a long delay after the game because we had to wait for the other team to shower.We play games every other day, so we have a lot of down time on our days off. Our second game during pool play was against Norway. We had another long trek to the field, which included a one-lane, 3.2 km tunnel. It was reminiscent of a dimly lit roller coaster ride. It was darker than our rooms get at midnight, considering the sun never completely sets here. Once again, we defeated our opponent, 3-0.We had a light training session today to prepare for our match against Germany tomorrow. If we win or tie, we will advance to the finals on Thursday.jenny, hayley, barnie

July 29, 2004After beating Germany, 3-0, in what proved to be our toughest match, we were excited for the opportunity to play in the championship game of the Nordic Cup. Coming into our last practice, we all eagerly anticipated the ritual 'shooting game.' Once again it proved to be an entertaining match-up as the East faced off against the West in the best-of-five series. Because it was the final shooting game of the year, we were joined by some guest players, including our doc, massage therapist, liaison, team coordinator and assistant coaches. In the fifth game, with the score tied at 9-9, the West blew an opportunity to seal a victory, and the East pulled off a thrilling win.This fun game set the stage for our final match against the Swedish team. We dominated the game and finally got a goal just before the half. We came out in the second half and took over the game. Defensively, we were solid and denied them any shots on goal. And just as our entire two weeks seemed to be very repetitive, it was only fitting that we won our final game by another 3-0 margin.After seven months of preparation, we accomplished the goal we set out to achieve - a Nordic Cup victory. Now the three of us go our separate ways for a week or so and then join up again at Stanford as we prepare for a championship season. We are thankful for the opportunity we had to represent our country and play at the next level. Hopefully you all enjoyed sharing these experiences with us and continue to support our Stanford soccer team. Thanks!jenny, hayley, barnie

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