THE Washington and Lee Soccer BLOG sometimes resembles the truth. You should by no means hang on every word. We have the right to embellish as we see fit, poke fun at players, staff and parents. You can unsubscribe at any time by delivering a brand new vehicle to Coach Rachael’s house, going into witness protection or well you know what. Read with the notion that it’s not going to win any awards and you will never be disappointed by its shallow and pathetic attempt at bad satire.
The Generals have had a great pre-season. The team has gelled nicely on and off the field and the returning players have done an outstanding job of welcoming our new players into the “Gennies” family. Team meals in the d-hall as well as supporting the local businesses of Franks and Blue Sky Bakery have been well received – as have been movie nights at the drive-in and bake-offs in the evenings at off campus houses.
The players worked extremely hard in every session despite being moved around many different facilities as we finished off some construction around campus. We even practiced on the baseball outfield. No complaints, no whining just a great positive attitude. Coach Rachael moaned a little but we are used to it so we just ignored her.
The 2015 squad has players from 13 states and is captained by Addie Healey and Erin Harvey. Their leadership and guidance have been outstanding throughout the first couple of weeks. The senior supporting cast of Meaghan, Dunny and Shelbi (Curly, Larry and Mo) have provided excellent input as well.
The opening weekend sent the Generals on the road to the Salisbury University tournament where they would play the hosts and follow that up with NCAA tournament team in 2014, Stevenson University. This beefing up of the schedule suited both coaches and players and we felt good about our progress as we approached our first games.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 4th
Practice started in the morning with a visit from our athletic director, Jan Hathorn who came to wish the team good luck and meet them all in person. We conducted our practice on the baseball field, which may not seem like the best venue to practice the day before the first game, but we certainly improved turning to the left so it’s not all bad. Sliding into bases toughened us up and standing on the mound made Ashley Hogan seem like a giant. I am sure most teams at this point finalized strategy, line-ups, and worked on the last couple important details. We decided instead to focus on our touch and competitive edge in the skills ladder. We had the usual shenanigans of cutting corners, teams being disqualified and more tattle tailing than in an elementary school playground… but despite all that, much fun was had by all.
On the completion of practice we sprinted over to Blue Sky Bakery for lunch and enjoyed great sandwiches, salads and of course a tray of desserts. Bus departure 3pm for Salisbury, MD and we wait for no-one. Bus loaded, lots of movies (I use the term loosely) because school has not started yet, and most took the opportunity to take a much needed nap after a long pre-season. I enjoy my work, love the team, but their choice in movies is quite appalling for intellectual young ladies. “Baby Mama” and “She’s the Man” are not even good enough to win a Razzie. I asked the driver to speed up to save me from the madness but thankfully he preferred safety and the law rather than my masculinity being persecuted.
No plans to stop for dinner but as we got closer to Salisbury, MD more and more players politely made food anecdotes, Tricia got her hand or maybe it was her head stuck in the snack bin, and Peters showed her first sign of aggression trying to find the Nutella jar. OK OK….Chipotle it is. Back on the bus, complete food coma silence and music to my ears.
We arrived at the Hampton Inn to our luxury accommodation around 10pm and promptly checked out for the night. Dreaming of a good performance and visualizing victory was the last message to the group, or was it be quiet and go to bed. My memory escapes me.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5th:
Game Day One: Salisbury University
Finally I hear you say. Maybe some commentary about an actual game. True fact that we had never beaten Salisbury University at women’s soccer and the last two years had resulted in two ties so maybe “third luck’s a charm” as Toddy, one of our former players always said. Oh how we miss her insane sayings. Game time 2pm, beautiful sunny day (albeit a bit windy) and it was now officially time to go to work. Coach gave a rousing speech before the game, quoting from “She’s the Man” movie (yes I was listening) “KICK, KILL.” Absolutely masterclass and quite prophetic because that’s exactly what we did.
In the first half we started well and created a few really good chances. Forwards looked lively and defensively we looked rather solid. We were awarded a corner on the right and completely (true story) miss-kicked it to Katie Clemmons who turned around and chipped it into the far corner of the net for a 1-0 lead. Loved the fact that everyone thought we had worked on it at practice – but in truth complete accident – even though the finish from Clemm was no accident. Traveling fans of at least 200 went crazy (may have exaggerated the count) and the blue and white were off to a flier.
We continued to push for that second goal but could not quite breakthrough as Tricia and Peters both went close. Addie (Gk) took a nap at the other end because we controlled most of the half with some very nice slick passing.
Half time: Generals up 1-0.
Clearly the first half was a matter of just getting used to each other because the second half we came out flying. Three goals in 15 minutes sealed the deal and we fully deserved the victory. The second goal was a shot from Tricia from about 20 yards that flew into the top corner, and the fourth goal was another rocket by number 20, but this time into the lower corner. Sandwiched in between was the goal of the contest as Tricia sent a cross to Clemm who headed it into the path of the onrushing Caroline Peters who knocked it past the keeper. What a great goal and her first collegiate goal. The team were ecstatic, bench was going wild and the coaches enjoyed every minute. Our parents were clearly made speechless by the quality of our play.
The game in hand at 4-0 we continued to press and Erin Harvey, Becca Dunn and Meaghan Latella all had chances to increase the margin of victory. With just 7 minutes to go our defense, including the keeper, decided to make it interesting and parted like the red sea and let Salisbury walk in a couple goals. Very charitable indeed but hard to be too mad at a team that had played so well, so I wasn’t. Rachael needed some calming down, Danielle the trainer stopped texting immediately in shock and I headed for my victory apple (my favorite snack).
Final score: Washington and Lee 4 Salisbury 2
Notables from the Game:
- Caroline Peters and Danielle Spickard’s freshmen debuts.
- Olivia, Hoagie and Kelso were immense at the back.
- Clemm’s goal and an assist
- Tricia’s two goals.
- Coach Neil sitting down for 95% of the contest.
- Wardy coming to the game
After the game we headed back to the hotel for Coach Rachael to put the team through a much needed pool recovery session because another game was less than 24 hours away. Parents connected to their daughters and went out to dinner because apparently they missed them. Seems like the MD shore meant seafood so that seemed to be the order of the day. Coach Rachael took the “orphans” out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday while I went to Walmart to buy some breakfast and bus snacks and just so happened to stumble on my favorite restaurant while I was on my way: Dunkin Donuts!! I enjoyed the dinner of champions: 50 munchkins followed by a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream from Walmart.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6th
Day two, game two, began with the customary team stretch/jog outside the hotel. Most players looked like they just got up, some always look like that, but for now I will not name any names. Quick team meeting to talk logistics, shortest scouting report in the world and back to scoff down some more breakfast. “ Waffles are good for you before a game” (true statement by one of our players well versed in diet and nutrition). Not sure they meant with whipped cream piled on top like a beehive.
Game time 1pm V a very good Stevenson team that were also fresh off a Saturday victory. Well coached and a very athletic team would prove to be an excellent opponent at this stage of the season. The game started like a middle school soccer game with two officials instead of three and with two minutes on the clock we had a perfectly good goal adjudged offside because someone with a flag, now had a whistle and was in charge. #worstcallever
I had to get off the bench for this one, cracked a joke nobody understood and went back to my chupa chups. Team showed great attitude and willingness to just get on with it. Tricia was robbed but life goes on. It was a very entertaining first 25 minutes as we opened the scoring with a great sliding strike by Katie Pettit (KP) and followed up 2 minutes later with a headed goal from rookie Peters. Both goals were assisted by Tricia Jessee but I think her Aunt Suzy taught her those moves so she is not getting any credit. 2-0 to the Generals and life was good. How quickly the game changes when a minute later Stevenson scored off a shot through a crowded penalty area and cut the deficit to 2-1. That score held for half-time.
The second half we seemed a little tired and started slowly. Stevenson had some long spells with the ball but never really troubled our keeper Addie Healy so that was all good. A late chance for Becca done went begging after a nice save but we held on for a great 2-1 victory. This capped an excellent weekend.
- Two saving tackles by Caroline Hahn and Kelsey Jervis showed amazing commitment.
- Great goal by KP
- Excellent Captain play on the wing by Erin Harvey at a critical moment in the game.
- Hogan’s solid defensive performance.
Coach Rachael as always makes everything run smoothly, is an excellent role model for our players and allows me to make fun of her. Danielle our trainer being with us all weekend was great and anyone that has to deal with feet deserves a medal. Parents and family members thanks for your support. We appreciate you making the trip and cheering us on.
Jim and Kathy Clemmons a huge thank-you for providing lunch/food after the game so we could hit the road as quickly as possible. Very generous and much appreciated.
*photos provided by Becki Abrisz