In my very first blog I mentioned that SU soccer needed to prove itself as a Division I program. After this weekend we’ll be exactly halfway through our season and already have a lot to be proud of.
We’ve proven to the NCAA we can compete at a high level, having beat a few teams in the WAC and Big Sky. We’ve proven to our coaches that we are talented and hardworking players, as each game this season has been extremely close. And we’ve proven to ourselves that we accomplish very big things, winning the Idaho Governor’s Cup and giving WSU, a Pac-10 team that was ranked last season, a challenging game.
Granted we lost 2-0, and we have much to improve on, but we played very well. We nearly got on the board first when Kahlyn Keilty-Lucas chipped a perfect ball over the top for Jamie Coe who beat her defender and the keeper for a dramatic header that ricocheted off the top post. As we prepared for our game against Portland State last weekend, there was just one thing left to do.
It was finally time to prove to our school that we are a new and improved D1 program. The buzz and excitement surrounding the first of my last home games at Championship Field was felt all around campus. The freshman seemed to multiply, flying around the dorms, student center, athletic training room and the locker room each shadowed by a recruit.
The seniors busied themselves fulfilling essential duties like grocery shopping, cooking team meals, and creating vital pre game pump up mixes. And even though amusing ourselves with guessing games, late night trips to the grocery store for our “buddies” and blasting Black and Gold at max volume in the minivans are standard ways to get pumped on the road, there’s nothing like coming home to a field with SU painted in the heart.
We started the game strong, energized and eager to show off for our friends. The match report indicates we outshot Portland State 16-8 and held a 13-2 corner kick advantage. What you can’t read is that we won just about every air ball, denied countless attempts over the top and played with heart, determination, and class. We were a very versatile team, with players able to shift and fill foreign positions while defender Maria Madeira recovered from a head jab and I from a concussed skull. We knew we were the better team, we played like we were the better team, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get the result we were looking for.
However, we played 110 minutes of action packed soccer for a sold out crowd. I’ve never before in my 5 years at SU played in front of 700 fans at home; this was truly an experience I’ll never forget-especially as it ended in a trip to the ER. I want to thank all of our friends, faculty, staff and family who made it out and supported us through the battle. We’re very proud of ourselves, and we hope you’re proud of us too.