August 27, 2003

Red Stickwomen Face U.K.'s Best

Print More

They weren’t selling your grandmother’s cookbook. Then again, they weren’t taking your typical field trip.

On May 27, around two dozen of Cornell field hockey’s finest journeyed overseas for a 10-day tour of England, Wales, and Ireland. While they learned a lot about the game and the European style of play, the teammates also learned about themselves.

“I just think playing internationally helps you learn a lot about the game,” said head coach Michelle Tambroni, “and I think they came back with a lot of team chemistry.”

Junior Ali Winsky echoed Tambroni’s comments.

“It was fantastic,” she said. “We really grew together as a group, and we got some great experience on and off the field. It was a very good culmination of our spring season.”

The women got right into the mix, competing against the top clubs in Europe on just their second day.

In the game against Hounslow & Ealing, senior tri-captain Kimmy Gardner notched an unassisted goal in the first half. Solid defensive play from Cornell carried the team well into the second half, until H&E tied it up and then scored the go-ahead goal.

Swansea also proved to be too much for the stickwomen, as it beat the Red 5-0.

“It was definitely a learning experience because they were really good,” Gardner said of the match against Swansea. “Especially since we play teams like UVA and Princeton, which are hard, too.”

When Cornell found victory, it did so with style, shutting down opponents and powering up its own upperclassman heavy offense. Senior Carissa Mirasol recorded a hat trick, as juniors Sara Weiner and Gina Testa, and senior tri-captain Lindsay Grace all assisted in the Red’s 3-0 win over Oxford University. Gardner helped to protect the shutout with a defensive save.

“It was just really a great learning experience and we didn’t feel any pressure,” said Winsky. “Our skill level did nothing but rise to the challenge.”

As their skills sharpened, their friendships grew tighter. Bus rides through London provided the groundwork for many of those memories, and out of everything they saw there, most of the women remember the people they met the best — specifically their tour guide.

“He was pretty funny. He told us all the ‘ins’ and ‘outs,'” said senior tri-captain Karleigh Burns. “He kept the trip fun.”

Junior Danielle Dunn also helped liven things up, playing the guitar as the tour guide led group sing-alongs. The group could most often be heard singing songs from the musical Mama Mia, which it had seen earlier on the trip.

“It was constantly being played and sung,” said Burns, who also noted that she wouldn’t be surprised if the song found its way into the ladies’ warmup.

Donors assisted in sponsoring part of the team’s expenses, while other costs were covered with the sale of cookbooks. Entitled the “Cornell Field Hockey Tailgating Cookbook,” the publication held recipes from the players and their families.

“We have so much appreciation for our donors,” said Tambroni. “Without the help of our friends, family, and alumni, this trip would not be possible.”

Another thing that would not have been possible is the team’s newfound attitude — a relaxed style of play encountered during its European experience.

“It’s kind of an intangible thing,” said Burns. “It’s something that’s going to help the team focus and not be so uptight.”

Winsky agreed, noting it was “just a really great learning experience.”

“We’re a much different team today than when we left,” she said.

Archived article by Matt Janiga