Bullis juniors head to Barcelona for field hockey training

May 20

Bullis juniors Sarah Holliday and Jessica Mays can’t begin to calculate all the hours they’ve spent together in the past three years, both on the field and off. They’ve played together for countless weekends and afternoons through club field hockey practice, three years on the Bulldogs’ varsity squad and months of camp, and this summer, they’ll both travel to Barcelona for 10 days of intensive training through Sport EuroTour.

Bullis teammates Sarah Holliday, left, and Jessica Mays.
Bullis teammates Sarah Holliday, left, and Jessica Mays. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Holliday)

Holliday, a 2013 first team All-Met goalkeeper, was already playing for the Washington Wolves club team when Mays tried out in August 2011. The two realized they were both headed to Bullis the following year and were the only players from their class to make varsity.

“It was strange at first because we were the only two freshman on varsity,” Holliday said, “so the whole fall we really only talked to each other.”

“We almost had to get close, so now we’re best friends, so it worked out well,” Mays said.

The two led Bullis to its first Independent School League AA regular season championship in school history in 2012 and spent the next year helping each other sort through college decisions.

“Jess helped me decide when I was unsure what would really fit best, and she gave me a lot of clarity,” Holliday said. She committed to Maryland in November.

Mays’ decision took longer – Lafayette, Providence, Richmond, Bucknell and American were all in the running before she decided on Virginia Commonwealth in early April. The business program suited her academic interests and the upswing of the field hockey program and the inclusive environment on the team sold her on the Rams.

Their August trip to Barcelona is a long time coming. Both players received invitations to the elite program after their performance at World Camp USA the past two summers. Mays has never been outside the country and Holliday has never been to Europe, and the summer before senior year seemed like the perfect time to finally take the trip and travel abroad together. Their senior season will mark the head coaching debut of Danielle Martyn, who steps in after the departure of Julie Delinsky after eight years.

The European style of field hockey is quicker and flashier than the high school game in the U.S. The camp will give Holliday and Mays the opportunity to learn tricks that can help Holliday raise her 95.7 save percentage as of 2013 and allow Mays, a 2013 honorable mention All-Met, to out-dribble opponents in the midfield. They’ll also get the chance to meet players from around the U.S. and Europe who were also selected for the rigorous 10-day camp.

“I’m excited to learn totally different styles of play. Their fundamental areas are really different, and I want see how they interpret the sport and what I can learn from them,” Mays said. “In their passing sequences and drives, their technique is very different and the way they think about where to pass and where to look is very different, strategy-wise. The ball doesn’t have to travel in a straight line and there are so many ways it can go from point A to point B — it’s about interpreting best way to perform it.”

Said Holliday, “I just want to meet a ton of new people and bring back new experiences, and come back with a ton of new tricks and new ways to bond with our team to raise our level of play for the next year.”

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