Match One Vs. Rikkio University, Japan
After a long day travelling, the England team woke several hours too early (the effects of jet lag) but were soon roused by a giant American buffet. The hot Californian sun beat down on the rubber-crumb astroturf of Stanford, the first game of the day was to be against Rikkio from Japan.
A tentative start to the game saw an unfortunate penalty sneak into the net for the Japanese, who had obviously had their sushi that morning, a quick equalizer followed from Watt and England were on the score board. One more goal was conceded in this half but 5 more from England led to a 6-2 half time score.
Determination to build on the defensive mistakes of the first half won out, meaning the Japanese were prevented from getting any shots on goal at all.
The England shooting percentage increased dramatically in the second half with 10 goals in total and an impressive number of names on the score sheet including youngsters Lytollis, Higson and Wimpenny. Final score 16-2 to England.
Match Two Vs. Stanford University, California
Feeling greatly refreshed after a half an hour break in the 30 degree heat, we headed into the second game of the day against Stanford University. This preparation led to a slow start and Stanford going 4-0 up within 10 minutes. The immense mental toughness of the English meant they regrouped, supported each other and were rewarded by a 1st goal from Merrifield. This was followed by a stunning 6 goals from England including a consecutive 2 penalties from game-changer Ruby Smith that took us into the lead.
With a margin of 2 goals in hand at half time (7-5 to England) we were told to focus on control and maintaining possession.
These tactics were implemented well with our midfield doubles creating turnovers that were capitalized on by the attack, who had by then found several holes in the Stanford defence. This attacking vigour combined with some impressive saves from Keogh in goal lead to a final result of 12-8 to England.
After a tiring but successful first day with a double win, England had one last team talk before heading to their super-soft, king-size beds.
Game 1: Rikkyo University
Game 2: Team Austraila
Team England member Ashleigh Smith will be blogging throughout the tour, check her blog out here: www.smashlax.blogspot.co.uk