It’s almost over… Bittersweet game for the U19 girls today. They did a beautiful job winning against Great Britain this morning with a score of 3 - 0, but I am sure they would have much rather been playing in the medal rounds. I am sure they would have had a solid chance to beat both South Africa and Australia, but they never got the chance to play them again. Their final standing is 5th place.
The bug has spread. All ten of our boys share two suites and now six of them are sick. They drag themselves out of bed looking in sad shape but they tell me they will be there for this morning game against Canada. If we win, we continue to play and if we lose, our tournament is over.
I am not sure I can make it through this report. It is SOOOO stressful. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone - I can do that tomorrow. Jeeze, writing those few words has gotten my heart rate up again. Just thinking of todays games is an adrenaline rush…
The first game played was the U19 men against Canada for 8th and 9th place. The winner to go up into the playoffs. That game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK9AKItMFic
USA vs Colombia
Our morning game is with Colombia. A powerhouse and perennial medal contender in the U19M division. Eric Mai and Ben Zeigler are down with a cold bug and too weak to play. Without any alternates, we have only eight players suiting up for the game.
We reset the lineup, subbing patterns and our game plan is to stay on the walls and move steadily up the court. Kickouts and swings will be called when the openings are there.
Our game with Argentina is not until 5:10 pm so we take the boys on an optional cruise around the Bay of Hobart. It's bitter cold and we're the only people on the boat. The skipper invites us into the pilot house and charms us with stories from his 42 years as a seaman .
After the cruise, we return to the hotel for lunch and hold a team meeting to prepare for Argentina. We scrimmaged with Argentina during the practice round and they beat us seven to one. They were fit, fast and well coached.
Our 10:40 am game is with the Brits. They beat New Zealand 5 - 2. I consider this an upset and know that our boys will have their hands full.
Our game plan includes working both sides of the wall and controlling the corners. In the first half, we hold our own and drive it into the Brits zone. We play the walls and control the puck. Because we are not overwhelmed, I call time out and tell the boys to "option out". To swing and play off the wall. We get close to the goal but their size and speed allow them to breakaway and score.
So many letters of encouragement from home. Thank you all. Only one game today.
USA vs South Africa.
Day Six: USA vs New Zealand
The U19M team had only one noon game scheduled today, so in the morning, the team went shopping at the Salamanca Market at the waterfront. It was good to get out and away from the hotel and pool for a change.
The Salamanca Market is a highlight of Hobart. Every Saturday, hundreds of vendors set up their booths of food, arts, and crafts on the street fronting the harbor. High quality and a wonderful setting. The U19 boys shopped for gifts to bring back home as I did.
Day 5: France and Canada
Our morning game is with France who I believe will win the gold in these games. They are fast. I mean blur fast. I tell our boys to stay with our game plan until I call free sub so that starters and subs can have enough minutes in the game to become a better player for the experience. I tell the boys to have fun.
Day Four: Last day of practice and Opening ceremonies
We warm up for our 10:40 am scrimmage with the French U23 women. It's the last day of practice and the pool is feeling intense. Teams are stretching and warming up in the water with purpose. The referees are looking sharp and moving with vigor.