Monday, October 26, 2009

If they don’t have Soccer in the real world, I am NOT going

Last weekend was HUGE for us. We are completely in the driver seat on whether or not we win the regular season this year. We need to take care of business against 2 incredibly tough opponents; Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson.

Lisa often gives us some “last chance” motivation before games. They start with “This year’s Seniors have never…” This week that sentence ended with…”beaten Florida Gulf Coast.” That obstacle in front of us, AND the WET, FREEZING, MUDDY, conditions ahead of us, proven a formidable challenge for this years team to face. Well, class of 2010, we can cross beating FCGU off of our “to-do list.” A Pair of goals from Erica Carter sealed the deal in the second half. We ran, and ran, and ran, at the tired, cold, and jet lagged Floridians until the game was over. They are probably the best SOCCER team (besides us) in the Atlantic Sun and play VERY similar to us. Only a few teams will be as creative and connect as many passes, and I think beating them is one of our greater achievements. In the future, if you have a chance to see Belmont and FGCU play women’s soccer, don’t pass it up! You will not be disappointed by the soccer being played.

Our post-game chat was quite short. Lisa wanted us to go inside and defrost ourselves. Saturday morning, we woke up to our field…our brown field. Double-headers help with attendance to games, but really kill our playing surface. It was cold anyway, so instead of even walking on the field, we jogged and stretched in the parking lot, and talked over some things in the locker room to get ready for Sunday against Stetson.

The reason I titled this article the way I did, was because Sunday was SENIOR DAY for the 2010 class. There is NO greater motivation for a team, than to have them play for a group of girls, who, after this year, will most likely walk away from soccer and into other things. Well, if they don’t have soccer in the “real world”, than I’m not going! Whether I stick to my word, will remain to be seen. However, allow me to enlighten you on some Senior day traditions…

The team as a whole, usually gets together for gifts for all of the seniors. This year, we were presented with the most awesomest scrapbooks ever! Please, ask us to see them. I have never seen anything like the detail they put into them! Secondly, they spraypaint sheets with our names and things that are funny or that remind them of us. Last year, we accidentally got the seniors “fitted sheets”…Still sorry about that, by the way guys! :( You can imagine how well HANGING fitted sheets worked out…but this year they made the adjustment. They all looked awesome! Thirdly, Lisa always writes the seniors a letter and reads it to them. We love this part :) …I was only a part of two of them, but wowzers!…Holy cry-fests in our locker room! We thank you for all your sincerity, Lisa, and for the rare, but meaningful words of affirmation! :)

This next tradition is fairly common. We walk out with our parents/families and share our big moment with those people who got us there. Not to make this too personal, but the gratitude I’m about to express, is most assuredly shared, at least to a certain extent, by each of us seniors, who are graduating. That being said, I want to wholeheartedly thank 2 specific members of my team, who you will not see on the bench, but they are my teammates, nonetheless. My parents, Lou and Jean, are the motor on this “little engine that tries.” It is one thing to allow your children to dream. It is another, if you support that dream. But when you stand by while they go through the heartbreaks and support that dream even harder, ALL you Parents, put yourselves in the hall of fame! On behalf of the class of ’10, we thank you for following us, praying for us, PAYING for us, and cheering us on, near or far!

Lastly, generally all the seniors start. Elizabeth Bublis, Alex Mindel, Annie Mussacchio and I, all started. THANK YOU, Lisa, for trusting us. Stetson is, to put it nicely, “rough.” They came out to dash all our hope of winning and ending up scoring towards the end of the half. I wasn’t happy about that. Life goes on. The team came out in the second half with bigger smiles and more energy than I have ever seen at halftime! They were all juggling, laughing, and doin’ the ‘Stanky leg’! (It’s a dance.) I don’t know what Lisa said, because all the goalkeepers were warming Sari up, but I was told she was certain this game would turn out fine! When we came out and started firing shots at will, I soon realized that as well. The pressure was on and towards the end, a free kick was awarded and a senior, Annie, put a knuckle ball in the upper 90 (the top-corner of the goal, where it is HARD to save)! We went NUTS! I lost my voice in no more than 15 seconds…still sound like a frog. We ended up tieing, but after that first half, SU had no room to breath. They were lucky to escape with a tie and we are happy to still be in the driver’s seat after this weekend battle. North Florida and Jacksonville next weekend…”This year’s seniors have never…been regular season champs.” 2 wins=Champions! I hope when we travel to Florida, we take the ‘road to VICTORY!’ Ba-duum Chhiii ! ;P

Monday, October 19, 2009

Catching Up with Fall Sports

  • Men’s Cross Country – This season the men have placed 2nd, 4th, 15th and 8th as a team in various meets. They will head to sunny Florida for the Atlantic Sun Championship coming up on Halloween.
  • Women’s Cross Country- The team has finished the regular season with 6th, 9th, 14th and 3rd place finishes. This past weekend Brittany Thune captured the individual title. They will join the men down in Florida at the end of the month for the conference championship.
  • Men’s Golf- In fall tournaments, the team has played in four events finishing 6th, 14th, 6th and 8th. They will participate in the APSU Invitational this weekend before breaking until the spring.
  • Women’s Golf – The team has been busy this fall with 4th, 5th, 11th and 10th place tournament finishes while also beating rival Lipscomb in a dual match. They have two more tournaments before they will put away their clubs for the winter.
  • Men’s Soccer – After getting off to a rocky start, they had a successful weekend winning both games to improve their record to 3-10-1. They have a big match up with rival Lipscomb Thursday before closing out the regular season the following weekend.
  • Women’s Soccer – Currently #2 in the conference, the team has had success on the field holding a 8-5-3 overall record. Two more regular season games remain when they travel to Florida before the A-Sun Tournament gets under way.
  • Volleyball- The 2nd half of the season has officially begun and currently the team has an overall record of 10-11 and is 7-6 in conference play. There are still several home games left so come out to the Curb Event Center and cheer on the Bruins.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend Rivalries

We knew going into this weekend, Mercer and Kennesaw were seeking revenge on their overtime losses against us last year, and that we were intent on proving our right to be on top! We all forgot to pack something when we left for Georgia, though…football pads. This weekend was a dogfight!

Firstly, one of the reasons I like playing for Belmont is the fact that not only do we as players become family members ourselves, but each player’s family welcomes us as new members. It seemed like we were at home in GA this weekend; Laura Harris, Alex Mindel, Alex Morgado, and Mad-dog Porter are all GA natives and they all brought their fan clubs. We ate at both Laura and Alex Mindel’s houses this weekend and both families welcomed us with open arms and DELICIOUS food! It is always a treat to look at baby pictures and ALWAYS nice to get a home feel when away at college. So thanks to both families for hosting us and for all the fan support…especially, Mr. Trocino (Jayme’s dad), for starting chants at the Mercer game! Mercer’s crows didn’t know how to handle you guys!

Mercer was a brutal battle and bodies were flying everywhere, but we withstood the storm and once again made our halftime adjustments. We adjusted and put the Bears under a lot more pressure, but failed to find the back of the net. After once again not playing very skillful in the first half, escaping with a 0-0 draw and a full injury-free travel roster, was something we could live with for the night.

Saturday we mostly spent watching college football and doing homework at Alex’s house. And a few of us spent the whole day itching the um-teen bug bites all over us from Mercer’s field. (If you see a soccer player walking around, they aren’t diseased; they were just attacked by about 1,000 mosquitoes). But the most exciting part of the day was when we arrived at the sweetest hotel EVER! It was the one we stayed at last year where the beds are better-named as “clouds.” We spent a week here last year at conference and LOVED every second. As far as the game goes, the last 3 times we played on Kennesaw St.’s field, we won. So we were STOKED to play there again. However, we were quickly deflated minutes into the game. Our connection just wasn’t there in the first half and NOT that we’re making excuses, but we were fighting some “official” elements, as well. When a team feels those two pressures, it’s very hard to overcome a 3-0 deficit. The second half was a battle for sure. I’m proud of how we didn’t roll over to adversity, even though our effort fell short. Coming away from a game like that with a 4-2 result, leaves A TON of hope for us, the next time we play them. Besides scoring 2 comeback goals, we also hit a post and a crossbar. The game could’ve easily been 4-4. We know they don’t exceed our skill-level; they just out-played us at the right times today and finished their chances.

We respect both of these rivalries and games like these are the reason we play. They are a challenge in every respect. Any one’s mistake can be the other team’s opportunity and next time we play, we hope to reverse those roles more in our favor. We stand now 2 points from 1st place under Kennesaw and the next 4 games are not going to be a walk in the park, by any means. Make sure you come out to Belmont to see (potentially) our last 2 HOME games! We promise to put on a good show when FCGU and Stetson come to town!

-R.P. #0

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Takin' Names and Boostin' Stats!

Belmont Women’s Soccer at the moment is alone at the top & fighting to hold on, in Atlantic Sun rankings. We went 3-0 this week with a 4-0 conference record heading into what will probably be the most challenging weekend for conference play yet….

The Battle of the Blvd. on Tuesday night was another one of our “switch-flipping” type games. We escaped after the first half with a 0-0 tie & once again Lipscomb was knocking on history’s door with force. (Belmont has yet to lose to Lipscomb in a Women’s Soccer game.) With that fear in mind & a few great tackles by Patience Whitten & Dani Stolt late in the first half, our spark ignited. We scored two goals (Jtro and Annie) to beat them 2-0. Our depth is by far our GREATEST aspect & energetic subs is not the only thing I mean when I mention using our whole roster to win games. Lisa pointed out another reason we won. Those teammates who could not dress/sit on the bench with us for this game (because of the A-Sun rule about only 22 players on the road) sat on the wall behind the goal. This was the goal where we were scored on twice last year. Lipscomb fans sat there, yelled & harassed our defenders. So this year, our girls sat there, attracted other BU fans, & turned our weakness into our strength. We scored both our goals on that end of the field. Most teams win games with 11…we win with 27.

Another random practicing this week, having our day-after-game and day-before-game light practice. This is a hard schedule for people who aren’t playing 90 min. to adjust to & difficult to work on things in this time, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. ETSU was a revenge game & we needed to be focused. They were 1 of only 3 conference teams to beat us last year & we made sure they remembered that by beating them at home Friday night 1-0. Jamie Loftis (Lofty) scored on a beautiful header for the game winner! Lofty worked with Alex Morgado (Gado) on finishing crosses & when the Birthday girl “south-paw”, Gretchen Sutch, sent her own gift into the box, Lofty put it in the back of the net. Practice makes perfect. After, the girls drank their usual post-game chocolate milk & got ready for Sunday.

USC Upstate came to town. We weren’t very friendly… we sent them home with a 6-1 result. You might think winning a game by this margin makes it unimportant, but it means a lot to not play down to an opponent. We respected the heart of Upstate enough to keep attacking & playing smart soccer, because if we didn’t the result would’ve been closer. This weekend we matured a lot in an area where we usually miss our mark. We finished chances & had goals from 5 different people! Our talent is incredible! We used our depth not only with field players, but with Goalkeepers as well. This is the first game all 3 GKs contributed to the win. Granted, I was the one to get scored on and let our shutout slip away , but we as a “Tribe/Tripod” performed well overall for our Chief, Coach Kyle. Sari, Ashley Hudak (Hootie), & I like to refer ourselves as this because in soccer, GKs spend a lot of time with each other away from the team. In a game, GK is the loneliest position on the field, so in practice we like having the support of 2 other people. Kyle is our Chief and he makes it near impossible to be invited into the Tribe. Alex Mindel came the closest, becoming an honorary member when she was injured in the spring, but never made it to actual Tripod status. Sorry guys. It’s a tough club join. You need to know things like the capital of South Dakota…In the tribe the answer to that question is ‘Piedmont’

I’ll end with some shoutouts: Sari Lin for the second time in her career was A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week & actually had her first career assist! That’s right…GK’s boostin’ offensive stats! Congrats Sari!! Also, Happy Birthday this week to Lauren Trappey, Gretchen, Marcela Sanchez, and Alex Morgado! Jane Owen Robbins made a lot of cookie birthday cakes this week, so maybe if you read this blog soon enough, you can still grab a slice! This week we play 2 teams we beat in PK’s to win the tournament last year: Mercer and Kennesaw St. They will be out for blood!…How will we fair in the big G A ? TBD….GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
- R. P. #0

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Perfect Running Weather

After last week’s muggy, rainy weather, the women’s country team is definitely loving the temperatures this week! There is nothing better than a run through the park in 68 degree weather! Being from northern Ohio, to me, this is what cross country is supposed to feel like! It’s about time too, because the season seems to be flying by! Only two more races until the Atlantic Sun meet on October 31st, and three races until the South Region meet on November 15th.

This weekend the team will be headed up to Louisville, KY to compete in the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday morning. We’re all really excited to get to race again. We love every opportunity we can get, especially after some disappointing results two weeks ago in Alabama. From the looks of it, this week’s course looks fast and the weather looks like it will help bring some fast times! With some lingering injuries at the beginning of the season, and some unfortunate new ones, we’re lucky to have almost everyone back to race this weekend. Hopefully this race will be successful for everyone, and we hope that we will come back to Nashville with some personal best times!
Wish us luck!!

- Aubrey Alexander, SR. Women’s Cross Country