I’m writing to you from sunny Southern California having just begun the 2012 Holiday Cup! This week our team is competing in a friendly set of games matching up against our old foe Canada, as well as Greece, and finally the current European Champions, Italy. This tournament offers us a great chance to play in front of a home crowd, as well as giving us an opportunity to play some more games leading up to the London Olympics. Last night we defeated Italy 17-10, and tonight we will face off against Canada in game two.
Our year up until this point has been extremely busy. As I mentioned in my last post, we spent a great deal of time in January in Australia, playing in a tournament in Melbourne against Australia, China, and Canada, after which we flew to Sydney where we spent a week training, scrimmaging, and playing official games with the Australian National Team. Team USA has a rich history of competition with the Aussies, we’ve managed to cross with them at some point or another in just about every major tournament we’ve played in over the course of the past decade. In 2004 the US Women’s Team defeated Australia to win a bronze medal at the Athens Olympic Games, and in 2008 at the Bejing games our team defeated them in the semi-final to move forward to the gold medal match. This isn’t to say we always come up winning against team Australia, our most recent pairing with them at the 2011 Shanghai World Championships they took away the win, placing 5th at the tournament while we went home in 6th place. Australia is one of the few other teams at this time that has officially clinched a spot at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and so it is without a doubt that we will most likely face them throughout the course of that tournament.
Since returning from Oz, we’ve spent long, hard days at the pool and in the weight room putting ourselves to work not only to host this Holiday Cup tournament, but to continue to look forward months ahead towards the London Games. In between now and then we will travel to Europe, twice; we’ll go to China in June for a tournament, and then hopefully host a series of games somewhat locally before taking off to Great Britain.
In the meantime though we have games to play and teams to study (this means lots of specifically focused practice and long video sessions after our pool time—thank goodness for the new pistachio delivery we got today!). I’m looking forward to filling you in next week on how the tournament finishes out.