If Alexa Hoover's European travels had extended further northward earlier this year and she had visited Finland, she might have encountered some confused results when asked her name.
You see, "Hoover' sounds very much like "HyvÃ¤Ã¤', which is the Finnish word for "good.'
Instead, Hoover traveled to the northern part of Germany to play indoor hockey with the United States Under-16 National Team on its "Germany 2013 Tour.' Ironically, when the Germans saw how Hoover played, their response also would have been "good.'
Hoover, who is the offensive leader of this year's Methacton High team, was one of the key players on the USA Team that played six games against top-flight competition in Germany.
"They held tryouts last winter in Feasterville and girls from all over the country came to Bucks County,' said Hoover. "They looked at all the girls. They had a lot of different drills and had us playing against each other in scrimmages.
"They contacted me a few weeks later and said that I had made the team. I've been playing indoor hockey since sixth grade with the Vipers, who are based in Limerick. I've been playing in the national indoor tournament ever since I was 14 and started playing at the Under-16 level.'
Hoover's first taste of competition internationally came eight months ago.
"We went to Germany back in January,' said Hoover. "We flew into Frankfurt and stayed there a few days.
"Then, we went to Bremen and played three games including one against their national team. After that, we went to Hamburg and played three more games against women's club teams.'
Hoover's trip took a bad turn right before the end.
"It was the last three minutes of our very last game in Hamburg,' said Hoover. "I had a (one-one-one) with the goalie. I planted and turned and then pulled around her the wrong way. I hit the ball and we scored — so that was nice.
"But, when I was turning, I felt my knee shift weird. When I tried to keep walking, I couldn't. I sat down and thought, ' Oh my God, my knee, my knee.' I spent the last two days in Germany on crutches.
"When I got back to Philadelphia, I went to the hospital to get an MRI. My ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) was torn in half and my meniscus was partially torn. That was Jan. 12 and then I had surgery on Feb. 4 at the Rothman Institute.'
The operation was a success. Hoover was ready at the start of the season with a brace on her knee but no pain or loss of mobility.
But, if the situation arises this season when Hoover tells Methacton coach Sarah Quintois that her knee feels dead, she will really be telling the truth.
"I had cadaver surgery rather than patellar surgery,' said Hoover. "I got the ligament from a donor.
"My knee feels fine,' she said. "I missed some training time over the summer so it's been taking me awhile to build up my conditioning.'
At Plymouth Whitemarsh, "Pap' has returned and so have the winning ways for the Colonials.
Marianne Paparone, who was at the Colonials' helm for a long time prior to stepping down after the 2011 season, returned as head coach this year.
Her return has been a triumphant one as she has guided her team to five wins in its first five games, including Suburban One League American Conference victories over Upper Moreland and Cheltenham.
Here's some advice for officials working PAC-10 field hockey this season — don't make plans for an early dinner if you're officiating an afternoon game featuring Methacton as one of the teams.
Last week, the Warriors went through a stretch in which they played three consecutive overtime games — three games with extra time in six days. On Sept. 6, Methacton went the full overtime and finished tied with Owen J. Roberts 2-2.
On Sept. 9, Methacton was on the brink of another full overtime game but lost 2-1 when Perkiomen Valley scored with 41 seconds left in the extra frame. Two days later, the Warriors posted a 1-0 overtime win over Spring-Ford when Alexa Hoover scored the game-winner 1:19 into the extra period.