The week preparing for our match against TCU everyone was extremely nervous, anxious, and a little excited. Trying to teach the new freshmen and transfers Coach Pfau's style of defense in a few two-a-days is mentally exhausting and strenuous to say the least. Throw in a few fitness tests and it makes it seem even more difficult. Most of the older girls had been learning it for a year or two.
The freshmen adjusted very well and it translated nicely in the TCU game. The first third of the TCU game we went out with a defensive mindset, not really looking to attack or go forward. We seemed to be a half step behind. By the end of the third 30 minutes, we were clearly dominating and had gained our rhythm. Even though we were down 1-0, we were getting behind their defense and creating a lot more goal scoring opportunities.
With two exhibition games under our belts, it was time to get back to our last week of two a days. By this point all of us were mentally and physically drained. On Friday (what was supposed to be our final two a day of the season), our lovely coaches surprised us by cancelling the second session and taking us bowling at the campus bowling alley! We split our team into two teams: upperclassmen vs lower classmen. We had a couple of girls that were actually pretty good, but as for the rest of us, we should probably stick to having the ball at our feet. Of course the upperclassmen won, but I'm pretty sure we were taking it way more seriously than the underclassmen. Nonetheless, it was a great team bonding moment and an awesome way to close out two-a-days.
We have competed against Sam Houston the past couple of seasons so we were fairly familiar and knew what to expect from them. In the first half, we mainly were trying to find our legs. Sam Houston wound up scoring early in the half and we were battling to try to get the equalizer the remainder of the time.
Finally, with about 5 minutes left, Hannah Dauzat found the back of the net making it a 1-1 draw at the end of the half. We came out strong in the second half and attacked down the flanks, but we could not find the back of the net. Once again, Sam Houston took the lead to make it a 2-1 game, but we continued to attack and play strong defense. Confusion with the Sam Houston goalkeeper called for a free kick inside the box. With no one from Sam Houston in the box besides the keeper, Kayla Walker grabbed the ball, put it down, passed it Selena Peters, and she scored. The intense game ended in a 2-2 draw. Over all, I was proud of the team for working hard and answering back for the pair of goals that were against us.
The week before our home opener, practice was light. The heat was mentally and physically draining during preseason and we didn't want to burn out before the season even started. We came out too laid back against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. We have to believe we are a good enough team to go out and outplay teams that are not as athletic, or strong as us. In the second half, it seemed like a whole new team. We continued to string balls through the middle and I had a ripper of a shot that hit that cross bar. If I had scored that shot, it would have been my time to retire. After both overtimes, we still had yet to finish our opportunities, which always seemed to be a problem for us.
We worked on our finishing and composure at practice so that our goal scorers would be more confident in front of the goal. It definitely made a difference because 8 minutes into our game against McNeese State we were up 1-0 with a great finish by Kayla Walker. She scored another goal about 20 minutes later. It felt good to finally be up 2-0 against a team we knew we could beat. We acted like it too.
Our playing was tremendous, even though most of us were exhausted from the double-overtime tie two days before. My younger teammates stepped up their game to help us get the result. We were missing one of our key midfielders, Alexis Weaver and a new transfer Hannah, who were injured after the Sam Houston game. Freshmen, Kelsie Thein, Kristina Schultz, and Georgi Dolence all came in ready to play and made a difference in our win and shutouts this weekend. For such young players, their strength and tenacity will help us build better attacks and keep the ball better against the tough teams we will play in conference.
Thanks for reading! Until next time,