Portland kicks off season with landmark win

Micaela Capelle and her Portland teammates were excited to beat North Carolina in front of several illustrious alums. Portland Athletics

Meow, meow! For anyone who doesn’t happen to fluently speak kitten language like me, that means, “Hi! I’m so excited to be blogging and helping you learn a little more about the 2012 Portland Pilots women’s soccer team.”

My name is Micaela Capelle, more commonly known as Mic or Mickey. I’m a 5-foot-3 junior forward, and if you can’t tell, I love kittens. The coaching staff and my teammates enjoy joking that I’ll probably end up a crazy cat lady. I really don’t mind, because I’m that obsessed, and they’re probably right.

But back to the team and what we’ve been up to since we ended our 2011 season. During the spring, we focused on our strength and conditioning to help us succeed in the fall. Spring is easily the most tiring and difficult part of the year, but it’s all worth it when we get to that first fall game under the lights on Merlo Field.

We finished our spring season 5-0 and left for summer with great optimism that our 2012 season would be very different from 2011, when we were 9-10-2. As we returned to campus to work at soccer camps and attend summer school, we were able to work out as a team and incorporate the freshmen into our team dynamic. Summer is full of hard work, but it’s also full of fun. Activities we did included rafting, camping, building bonfires and taking nightly summer bike rides through the beautiful neighborhoods of North Portland. With the end of summer came the beginning of the season, and we were all more than excited for a fresh start.

We kicked off our season with a bang by beating North Carolina on our home turf. It was a big game for us, not only because we had never beaten the Tar Heels, but also because we had former Portland Pilots and Olympians Sophie Schmidt, Christine Sinclair, Tiffeny Milbrett and Stephanie Cox there cheering us on. That win was for all the amazing alumni who have made our program what it is today.

After that win we faced in-state rival Oregon State. The Beavers bring an aggressive and competitive challenge every time we face them. We fell behind 1-0 in the first half and couldn’t capitalize on numerous chances throughout the game. With that loss behind us, we all agreed that we would get back on track.

We expected our next game, against the University of Oregon, to be an exciting one. With the majority of our student fans coming back for the start of school, we knew we’d have a loud and proud crowd. Merlo Field was electric with the 4,912 fans cheering us on, and we were able to defeat the Ducks 2-0, thanks to the best fans in the country.

For our next games, we head to Seattle for the Husky Invitational. We play Fresno State on Friday and La Salle on Sunday. With two wins and one loss under our belts, we hope to improve our record and continue on a high note throughout the season.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more stories and game recaps. Meow, meow! (Go Pilots!)