Kendyl Blogs About Husky/Nike Invite
After a disappointing loss in Boston, we all wanted to make sure that our first weekend at home would be different. We knew that we had a lot of work to do which is why there was little complaining for our first practice back. The attitude in Monday's practice was impressive considering that that morning we had woken up in Boston at 5:30 am (2 a.m. Seattle time), flew for over five hours, and were expected to be ready to run... a lot. But despite the fatigue and mental exhaustion practice was competitive and sharp, which is more than we could say about our yoga session afterwards.
Monday's practice carried on through the week, with everyone motivated and excited for our first home game against Syracuse. The build up and anticipation we were feeling throughout the week was felt full force at 7 p.m. Friday night. From the beginning of the game we dominated. On attack we were quick and composed and defensively everyone worked to win the ball back. Syracuse was aggressive and physical which was evident in the two penalty kicks they gave up. The first of the game came from a foul on McKenna (Waitley) that Kate (Deines) expertly put away. However, Kate wasn't done because a minute later she was able to finish a shot by Kellye (Joswick) giving us a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
While it's common for teams to sit back on a 2-0 lead we were all still fired up and took the momentum from the first half into the second. Once again we took control of the game and with the support of our home crowd and cheers from the bench you could tell that something was in the air. It was the smell of a hat trick! Only a few minutes into the half (Alex) Webber was fouled in the box on a breakaway and once again the girl with the golden boot stepped up to take the shot. Anyone who knows soccer or watched the world cup this year would know that taking a PK is a pretty nerve wracking experience, but to take two in one night would make even the best players crack. Fortunately for us, Kate, "the great one," was on a role that night and perfectly placed the ball into the back of the net. From then on, we knew the game was ours. Annie (Sittauer) put another point on the board shortly after, giving us a 4-0 lead over the ladies in Orange.
Since we had a comfortable lead I knew we pretty much had the win in the bag and that we just needed the shut out to put the icing on the cake. However, Syracuse was an aggressive team and it was obvious that they were not going to go down without a fight. As the clock wound down the physical play increased on both sides of the ball. With only a few minutes left in the game, I was already thinking about what I was going to have for dinner. I wouldn't say that I was zoned out, but I definitely wasn't expecting what happened next. I received the ball from a Syracuse player, and decided to be safe so I turned to play a back pass for one of my defenders to clear. Now, in nature when confronted with a hostile animal experts say never turn your back on the wild beast because it leaves you vulnerable for a sneak attack. Well, I suppose the same concept could be applied to soccer because as I turned my back on the hostile orange I received a sniper shot to my right ankle. I like to think of myself as a relatively composed player, I've never been one to trash talk and I generally don't lose my temper in game, but when I went to the ground something inside me snapped. At first I thought it was my ankle, but in hindsight I think it was my sanity because I went nuts. Like a bull sees red, I was seeing orange. So I hobbled off to the sidelines to watch the remaining two minutes of the game. Bummed about my ankle, I eventually cooled off and rejoiced with my team at our first home win. Lesle and the rest of the coaches were proud of our play and how we were able to make such a turn around after the previous game. However, Lesle wanted us to remember to relax and rest tonight and that we needed to save our energy for Sunday and our big game against Wisconsin.
Not only did I relax the rest of Friday night but continued on to Saturday as well. While everyone else practiced early Saturday morning I hung out with my new best buddy, Chris (the trainer), who was helping get my ankle to a normal looking size. By the end of my three hour treatment session I was feeling pretty good and was looking forward to watching the Husky football game that afternoon. Chris informed me to take it easy and stay off my ankle.
With another early treatment session before breakfast on Sunday my ankle was almost back to normal. Even after Chris mummified my foot with his tape job I was still feeling pretty good. However, Sunday games are notorious for being rough on a double header weekend, which was evident in our first half performance. Wisconsin came out hard and gave us some trouble in the start of the game. While we weren't playing as well defensively as we had two nights before, we still battled back and kept the Badgers at bay. Unfortunately with 10 minutes left in the half Wisconsin was able to follow up on a deflected save from Jorde (LaFontaine-Kussman), giving them the lead at halftime. Down by one goal for the second time this season, we knew that we couldn't let history repeat itself, which is why when we stepped onto the pitch in the second half we came out stronger and faster. Finally we were able to possess and keep the ball and after numerous attacks we knew that the Badgers had tired. But despite all of our efforts, we were still coming up short on goal.
In the 80th minute we were awarded a free kick outside the box near the sideline. While there was debate on who was to take the kick, in the ended Kellye was the number one nominee. Generally on corners and free kicks I'm sanctioned to the backline, but since we were down and were pressing for a goal I moseyed my way up to the front. Getting ready for the kick Sarah (Martinez) and I planned out our runs. Since in another life Sarah was most likely an aerial performer she has the advantage of being better at winning headers then most people. For this reason we planned that she would attack the ball. Since I stand at 5 ft 9 inches I have the advantage of being taller than a lot of people. For this reason I planned to stand in front of the keeper. With a clear plan of attack we set ourselves up to get ready for the kick. When Kellye's hand rose to signal that she was about to cross I spun around my mark and ran back post towards the keeper. The main job of the person who marks the goalie is to block their view or get in front of their hands so they can't make a save on the ball. However, as the ball sailed through the air it curled away from the keeper's hands and was making a bee-line for my head. I don't know if it was because I couldn't believe that it was actually happening or if I was praying I wouldn't screw up, but with nothing but open net I closed my eyes tight and made contact with the ball. Before the ball even landed I knew that I had just scored my first goal of the season. I grabbed the closest purple shirt next to me and screamed for joy. As I ran around hugging everyone I almost forgot my promise at the beginning of the season to do "the Dougie" in the unlikely event that I scored a goal. Although it wasn't my best performance I ran my hands through my hair with a stupid grin on my face and did my long awaited celebration dance.
With the score tied up and momentum on our side we continued to press until the final whistle blew. Even during two 10 minute overtimes, we were still looking to get another goal, but after nearly 110 minutes of playing we walked away with our first tie.
Although we wanted the win and felt that we had outplayed our opponents in the end, we were all proud of the way we had battled back from being down a goal. The coaches were happy with how we rose to the challenge and remarked on how we had shown a lot of character as a team. However, our coaches always expect the best out of us, and a tie against a team we should have beaten is not a good enough result. Once again we have to learn to take each game as a learning experience in order to keep improving. Although it is still early in our season as a team we have already taken away valuable lessons from every game. Against Seattle U we learned how to be ourselves, in Boston we were taught that we can never give up, and the lesson that this weekend provided me was to "Teach me how to Dougie!"
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