First off, as Lisa said, the last team to repeat as back-to-back A-Sun Tournament Champions, was Central Florida who is now ranked #9 in the country. We had some tough tracks to follow and we put forth a near perfect effort to fulfill them…
This was our third appearance in the semi’s ever, but this road was a LOT easier than previous years! As soon as we got to Georgia we had a VERY efficient 55min practice. We weren’t even allowed to touch a ball until the clock struck 3pm! I’m not going to lie, the coaches really stressed us all out with how quickly we were moving from one thing to another, but we understood that time was of the essence. Dinner later that night was at Ippolito’s, a cute Italian place. I sat with our trainer Michelle, LP and Erica. Erica thought it would be funny to put salt on and ice cube and lick it. She immediately regretted that decision. This is what happens when you forget to serve hyper soccer girls, their bread! Erica may have burned her tongue that night, but this weekend she “burned” every defender she matched up against! At night we received our Regular Season Championship Trophy. Lisa caught Derek off-guard when she told him to get the surprise for us, but Kyle saved him. Derek saved himself though later when he showed the highlight video he made for us from this season. I’m proud to say, me and my silly video camera, contributed some sugar and spice to our game footage! We could not have been more fired up to play the next day and boy did we show up!
We FINALLY put together an AWESOME first half! Though we didn’t score, we had them on the heels the entire time. The second half, of course, evened out, but we still created great opportunities and won 1-0. It was a nightmarish ending for Stetson, as we beat them on the same free kick, from the same person (Annie) as the last game, when we scored late to tie them 1-1. We returned to the finals for the second time in a row/our history. We would face off against our co-Champ foes, Kennesaw St…
As more of our families arrived, we had dinner at the Porter household. I LOVE this part of college soccer! It was SO cool to hang out at a home and have parents and players get to know each other. We have families from GA, to AZ; PA to OH; from FL back to TX and then some! You wouldn’t think playing horseshoes and sitting by the fire would be this priceless of an experience, but it is! I will never forget the good times my “soccer family” gave me and the rest of the team. We are extremely grateful for all that you fans have done for us! After eating we all gathered in the living room to watch the video together. Everyone got to laugh and got to see what makes this team so special. My mom worries that I am far from home, but I tell her I’m surrounded by good people here. She KNOWS that now. Lisa spoke to us all and gave a speech that made even our parents want to play Kennesaw! Derek and Sari proceeded to thank her, on behalf of the team, for how much she gives to us and cares. I haven’t heard too many coaches immediately turn credit over to their team and team management after winning the Coach of the Year Award, but Lisa is one of them.
Usually, the YouTube videos floating around, consume our downtime. This helps to let our minds go and not over think the game ahead of us. One of these was a soccer clip from the UNM game. A girl went ballistic and pretty much assaulted the opposing team…knowing this girl was not on KSU’s roster was one of many things we had going for us!
The other things we had were confidence, belief, urgency, experience, and support. This is what made us come out so strongly in the first half. We got a legitimate PK called for us for the first time this season, but we should have known, getting a good call, was too good to be true for this team. Jess buried it, despite KSU players SCREAMING at her…very unsportsmanlike if you ask me…(or anyone else). 1-0 at halftime was not a big enough lead and we did not come out like it was. We had no intention of packing it in, but after it was tied, we knew we had to step everything up even more. With 3 min left, a handball at the top of the box was called. To be clear, we were not disputing the handball call. We were disputing the PK call which with 3 min left, would decide the game. We were also mad the game was not stopped 2 min before this event, because our player was injured; meaning that we were defending down 1 player for that length of time. This is THE WORST way to lose a game that, we truly believed, was supposed to go in our favor. It’s rare everyone on a team feels NO DOUBT before a game like this, but all of us, had complete faith in the outcome. That being said, this one hurt…to say the least.
You guys should know we are TOTALLY proud of how our season panned out. We still took steps forward for the program overall. And we still ran across and thanked our fans for an incredible season and for their incredible support! “No one can take your dignity from you, unless you give it to them” and Belmont Women’s Soccer is one team that will NEVER give that away. We tried to be a class act in the process. We know we had opportunities slip us by, but realize, Kennesaw, that those missed chances are going to be the starting points for next year’s attempt to regain the title. Our RPI this year finished at 149, which is 14 places above Kennesaw St. (163). RPI is a totaled statistic that compares the competition of a school, to how well they did on the year (322 total). This program just keeps building and building! The flag I brought everywhere, has been passed down on behalf of the seniors, to two, VERY, deserving freshmen, Jane Owen Robbins and Lauren Trappey and they will be sure to keep BU positive and to let people know when the BruWins are in town! Grrrr!
One last shout out to everyone who followed us, especially our own Volleyball team! The support from everyone has really impacted our success and will continue to do so!
Thank you to…whoever…reads this! I hope I gave you a few giggles, as well as a little bit of on insight to the fantastic group of individuals that represent your university every day!
A senior and now, a retired GK/Tribe member,
#0 “Reggie” Pilch