FLORENCE, Italy - It has been two more busy days for the Washington women's soccer team with some exciting sightseeing and their first match. The Dawgs traveled to Florence, Pisa and out to the coast, while also topping Arenzano Calcio Femminile, 4-1.
The Dawgs began Wednesday morning, leaving Milan en route to Florence. The long bus trip through Northern Italy was comfortable, particularly with Roberto behind the wheel, the instant-favorite bus driver of the Husky women.
The Dawgs packed an afternoon of sightseeing in Florence with German-born Reiter leading the ladies through the historic city in heat that was over 100 degrees. Amongst the stops where the Cathedral, which was once the largest in the world and a true architectural marvel. Construction began in the 14th century and took over 100 years to build. The dome that sits atop the building took 20 years alone just to design.
Also on the tour was the Piazza della Signoria, home of several notable statues, including Michelangelo's David. The Huskies dined in the outside café's near the Piazza, while also going off on their own to shop and visit other sights.
Following the sightseeing in Florence, the Huskies went to a nearby soccer stadium for a chance-of-a-lifetime training session with Federation Coaches from the Italian National Team. The training session was not a meet and greet, the coaches worked the ladies hard in the stifling heat and came away impressed by the skill and fitness of the Dawgs.
After practice, the team went to a new hotel outside Florence for dinner, which turned into the candlelight variety as a power outage in the town left everyone in the dark. With no power in the rooms, the weary Dawgs and staff cruised the town for a few hours until power was restored.
Thursday, another early wakeup came with an Italian breakfast followed by the quick trip to Pisa to check out the Piazza dei Maracoli. The beautiful green plaza is of course highlighted by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which was a photo opportunity for everyone involved.
Following Pisa, the team headed the Italy's West Coast to the harbor town of Riomaggiore, the Southern-most of the five cities of Cinque Terra. The beach was a welcomed sight and the temperature dropped to comfortable levels. The ladies dined, shopped and enjoyed the beach in the beautiful city right on the Ligurian Sea that spills out into the Mediterranean.
Finally, Thursday ended with the first of the friendlies, this time against Arenzano Calcio Femminile in the nearby town of Sarzana. Washington dominated play, taking a 3-0 lead to the half, before eventually winning, 4-1.
The Dawgs got their first goal early on when a Lindsay Elston blast from 30 yards beat the keeper. Elston then had a role in goal two when she played a through ball to Allie Beahan who took it to the endline and played a perfect cross to Hillary Zevenbergen who finished right in front of the net. Finally, just before half,Allyson Brahs scored on a corner kick hit by Elston for UW's third of the game.
Arenzano Calcio was held basically without a chance in the first half with the Dawgs controlling play and looking like the much more dangerous team. Washington continued to pour it on early in the half when Kate Bennett scored her first goal in a Husky uniform. Playing for the first time at UW after her mandatory year off for transferring, Bennett wasted no time winning a ball in the midfield and scoring to make it, 4-0.
Arenzano Calcio added a late goal, but not before Megan Kufeld made a couple nice saves coming off her line and charging would-be goals scorers.
Friday, the team is off to San Marino, the independent state on the East Coast of Italy. The team's hotel will be located downtown and the scouting report is already out from Roberto the bus driver who calls San Marino home.