By Caleb Scott
ADA — The Ohio Northern women's soccer program recently returned from a preseason trip to Europe in preparation for the upcoming 2017 season.
The 11-day trip featured sightseeing in four different countries, providing both an educational and competitive experience for the team.
After arriving in Europe on the second day of the trip, Northern visited Mozart's birthplace before touring Saltzburg, Austria and competing in its first contest of the trip.
ONU would wrap up the day with a contest against FC Bergheim, a top-division Austrian Club Team, where the Polar Bears dropped a hard-fought decision 2-0.
"We started off the morning by driving to Salzburg for a tour of the city," said senior midfielder Hailey Martin (Cincinnati/Princeton). "We got to see the garden where they sing "Do Re Mi" in The Sound of Music, and a house that Mozart lived in, along with the house he was actually born in."
The next two days of the trip featured tours of the city of Munich, Allianz Stadium, home of 1860 Munich & Bayern Munich Fussball Clubs, and the city of Rothenburg ob-der-Tauber in Heidelberg, Germany.
We bussed to the Allianz Arena where Bayern Munich plays along with the German National Team," said senior Mary Kate Munz (Gahanna/Lincoln). "We were able to experience the teams locker room and walk down the steps the players do when coming out to the pitch."
On day six of the trip, Northern would tour the University of Heidelberg and the Schloss castle before taking on FC Speyer in a friendly match, where ONU would win 4-3.
"We finished our tour in the city learning about the University and the city itself," said senior defender Hannah Reich (Howell, Mich.). "After our tour we had 4 hours to explore all the shops and grab some lunch before we headed to our game. We played a German team, FC Speyer, their ages ranging from 15-32. We won 4-3 against FC Speyer and then stayed at their club house to enjoy dinner with them! We mingled with the other team during dinner learning about each others cultures."
Days seven and eight of the trip featured a cruise along the Rhine River, exploring the inside of the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world that is over 1000 years old, a self-directed tour of the World War II cemetery in Margraten.
During the final two days of the trip, Northern would compete in a 4-game tournament, where the Polar Bears posted a 1-2-1 record.
"Today we boarded a huge boat and cruised down the Rhine River where we saw a bunch of beautiful castles and landscape all around us," said junior captain Sarah Puntel (Strongsville). "Then we boarded the bus and headed to the city of Valkenburg where we saw the local professional team, V.V.V. Venlo play a team from Spain in the first division. Venlo ended up winning the game 2-0."
Northern will open the 2017 season on Sept. 1 at Albion (Mich.) with a 5 pm kickoff under 14th-year head coach Mark Batman.