We met challenge of road games

UK Athletics

The UK women’s soccer team gets ready for a long weekend, boarding this charter flight to Mississippi and later taking a bus to Tennessee.

It’s so hard to believe and almost depressing to hear my coach say we were already halfway through our season. That is not something a college athlete likes to hear.

Season for us is what we look forward to every year almost like Christmas. It felt like just yesterday I was writing the first blog to this series explaining that this was the year we would not be looked over. I believe I was accurate with that statement as we now sit at 4-1-0 in the SEC.

We had our first week with two games on the road in the SEC. Wins on the road in this conference are the most challenging -- yet the most rewarding. Being the competitive team we are, a challenge was exactly what we were looking for.

Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are both teams most people underestimate because of their past histories. That is the exact mindset we were not going to settle for.

Both of these teams have come leaps and bounds from what they use to be and are a threat this year. They are going to catch someone at some point if you don’t come out ready to play. We made sure from the beginning of training that week that we would not be that team.

What amazes me about the SEC is that it is anyone’s game this year. There is no top dog, no easy team. The playing field has been leveled in this conference, only making it that much better to play in.

That is exactly what we got on Friday with Mississippi State. They came out passionate and fierce in the beginning of the game, making it hard to keep the ball and set our tone. That didn’t last long once we got our momentum. Once we got that first goal under our belt, the attack never stopped. We wrapped the game up with a 3-1 victory and immediately packed up and were on our way to Nashville.

Don’t let me get too ahead of myself. As I have talked about previously, our coaches love recovery, so just when we thought we might be off the hook for once, we were sadly mistaken. They had worked it out to where we got access to Mississippi State’s football athletic training room, where we were submerged in the largest ice bath I have ever seen. It might as well have been called an arctic pool!

After a long ride after the game we finally made it to our halfway destination in Birmingham, Ala., where we would stop and rest before traveling the rest of the way Saturday afternoon. We slept great in our hotel and woke up to something better. Massages! Once we wrapped up our luxurious morning, we loaded up the bus and were on our way to Tennessee.

The night before the game we had a nice dinner out with the team at Carrabba’s. The reactions of our waiter/waitresses as they begin to serve us bread before our meal is one that will never get old. Our team can harm some bread. Every time a forewarning is given that we need a lot of bread, and every time they underestimate what I mean by a lot!

The looks on their faces are priceless, as we go through more than 30 baskets of bread with ease every dinner. It was a night filled with laughter, inside jokes and one extremely exciting UK football game.

Our game against Vandy was their kick cancer game, which was very special for us because this would be the second one we would get to be a part of. It was also another televised game, so we would need to bring the enthusiasm and fire from the start.

There was no holding back for us as we tallied two goals in the first three and half minutes of the game. We made a statement that we would not be the team that Vanderbilt would catch on their heels. We sustained the lead and came out with a 2-1 victory.

With an SEC sweep on the road in the bag, we jumped on the bus and headed home to prepare for this weekend against Tennessee. Oh, but don’t let me forget those good ol’ ice baths our coaches so generously set up for us!