Whenever we travel, my teammates and I always have one thing on our minds: What in the heck are we going to wear?
Unlike most teams, we don't wear sweats on the plane. Instead, we take a more professional approach and dress in business casual. Some of my teammates embrace this challenge and wear the cutest outfits. Others put on almost the same thing -- or exactly the same thing -- every time. No matter what we wear, we always receive compliments about how nicely dressed we are for a sports team. (Usually, people mistake us for a basketball team -- which makes no sense, given that I'm 5-foot-4 on a good day -- or my personal favorite, a dance team.)
This past weekend, we traveled in our business casual outfits to California, where we faced yet another tough opponent, USC. This trip was short and sweet, and was filled with many great memories since it was the freshmen's first "real" road trip. The dividing up of the vans is always the best part. All the freshmen are required to ride in coach Garrett Smith's van. It has turned into a freshman initiation and "G" loves every minute he gets to spend with them. One of my favorite memories from the weekend was leaving the USC practice field on Saturday and seeing no one sitting in the passenger seat of G's van -- none of the freshmen wanted shotgun.
Going into Saturday, we knew it would be a light practice. In the past, we have played football, had goalkeeper training and played kickball during such a workout. For this practice, G split up the team into four distinct groups for an intense game of small-sided, four-goal soccer. It was the "Smalls" (me, Shelby Vaver, Taylor Brooke, Sara Bindl) and the "Bigs" (Amanda Frisbie, Sarah Bridges, Bekah Kurle, Devlyn Jeter) vs. "California" (Michelle Cruz, Noelle LaPrevotte, Nichole Downing, Haylee DeGrood) and the "Misfits" (Erin Dees, Kaila Cameli, Kendall Johnson, Lisa Sari). I honestly have no idea where they come up with these games, but it was a fun practice leading into the USC game on Sunday.
We knew playing USC would be a challenge, but we were ready to add another win to our record. We started the game off with a strong attack and had numerous scoring opportunities throughout the first half. Frisbie scored our first goal off an assist from Cruz to lead us into the second half with a 1-0 advantage.
In the second half, USC came out with a lot of energy that lasted the rest of the game. Frisbie scored her second goal (her sixth of the season) to put us up 2-0, but USC scored twice to tie the score. After a great effort by Johnson on the left side, Cameli put away the third goal to seal our 3-2 win.
We ended the game hot, sunburned and ready to head back home to Portland. Although we were not satisfied with our performance, we got another very important road win. And though we were far from home, we had a lot of purple in the USC stands. Thank you to all the fans, friends and families who were there. We really do appreciate it!
This weekend we face off against Seattle U and Denver for our first Friday-Sunday home games. Our team is ready to get back on Merlo Field and ready to hear our fans cheering us through every W.