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Hebron field hockey reaps European vacation rewards


Some players will travel to great lengths to improve their game.

Take Brigitte Goss, Anne Stocker, Lara Prendergast and Kelly Dodson, for example. The Mount Hebron's field hockey teammates decided last summer to attend a camp together.

So in August, they boarded a plane and flew across the Atlantic Ocean. Welcome to the field hockey EUROTOUR.

"The whole trip was a great experience," Dodson said. "I'm just glad I was able to go. It was a lot of fun. I'd tell anybody to go."

But check with your parents first. The cost is roughly $3,200.

The foursome took off from Boston and made their first stop at the Bisham Abby national sports complex in England. Then there were stops in Brugge and Brussels in Belgium, to Monschau in Germany and to Apeldoorn in Holland. The trip finished with three days and two nights in Amsterdam and one night in London.

They played a lot of field hockey, too. And they learned and they remembered.

So is it just a coincidence that the Vikings field hockey team is 9-1-1 overall and 5-1 in the league and contending for the county championship? Is it just by chance that Dodson and Prendergast are leading the team in scoring with eight goals each?

"They came back very enthusiastic and so improved," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannette Ireland. "They came back with a lot of leadership and confidence. They had really learned a lot."

They learned, for instance, that boys can play a mean game of field hockey.

In Apeldoorn, the girls teams played against boys their own age.

"There were six of them against 12 of us," said Stocker. "They weren't allowed to dribble the ball. The could only pass it. They crushed us," said Goss.

"After the game," Stocker said, "the guys smoked and drank and had a good time. We just went to sleep."

Their favorite part of this magical mystery tour was Amsterdam, where the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. clinics were outstanding and the city life exhilarating.

Though they were left mostly on their own to battle the different languages and currency, the foursome, a part of a group of 32 players, had a 10 p.m. curfew in Amsterdam and were limited to where they could go in the city.

While all the girls brought back new skills and a sense of confidence, Dodson took it upon herself to bring back notes.

"We brought back a lot of drills that we learned," Goss said. "Anne had taken extensive notes. She gave them to our coach and we incorporated them into our practices."

Not only did Ireland use the drills the players brought back, she asked them to demonstrate them.

"I've never been good at being a leader," Prendergast said, "and Jeannette asked me to come out in front of the team and show them how to do things. It gave me more confidence and made me more comfortable that I could do those things."

They returned from their 15-day trip with a new appreciation of the world and a world of knowledge about field hockey. They enjoyed being in parts of the world where field hockey is taken a little more seriously.

"The trip was great for a lot of reasons," said Goss. "It was the best trip I've ever taken."

And for the foursome that went, and for their Mount Hebron teammates, the trip continues to pay dividends.

Earlier last week, Mount Hebron did something it hadn't done in five years. The Vikings finally beat Centennial.

Just a coincidence?

Probably not.

"The trip really helped us and I think that showed by beating Centennial," Dodson said. "Our level of play bumped up tremendously."

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