Sept. 5, 2007
This season, the Saint Joseph's women's soccer team will keep a weekly journal, providing an inside look at the Hawks' soccer program and the every-day life of a student-athlete.
Coming in as a freshman is scary enough to begin with, but coming in to preseason was the most nerve-wrecking thing of all. The scariest thing is not knowing what to expect. You wonder if you will impress the coach, play well, and pass the fitness test and whether or not the girls on the team will like you. The first day is the scariest but as the week went on you start to feel a lot more comfortable.
The first day is a bunch of meetings and moving in to your new home for the next like 10 months. Then, the second day came and the fabulous fitness started! Hell, I mean the 800s are probably the worst things ever, but once you are done and finally catching your breath, you feel great. Or, you are too exhausted to feel anything at all.
Pretty much the first 5 days of preseason were a lot of fitness and a lot of playing. You really were exhausted. The 800s felt like were done like every day. Honestly, they were pretty awful. We went to bed at 9:30 every night, which is the earliest time we have been in bed all August by far. Pretty much our day consisted of practice, lying around and watching the OC DVDs, practice and sleep. But it really is worth it in the end. So far our experience here has been challenging but great. After a lot of complaining and tired legs, we realized it has helped us a lot. Not only has preseason made our team better and fitter, it also allows freshman like us to really get adjusted. We feel like we have been here for forever and really we have only been here for 5 days. Five exhausting but fun and soon to be rewarding days.
September 10 - Raeann Groves
Surprisingly enough we survived the first five days of preseason. It was touch and go for awhile but like the champions we are, we pulled through. In order to salvage our legs for what would be a tough end to preseason we were whisked away to a wonderful retreat. Much to everyone's surprise especially Meagan being from California it was pouring rain in AUGUST, might we add. Once we got to the lovely campsite we walked into a building where we would evolve into the 2007 SJU women's soccer hawks.
The retreat was very intimidating at first because right when we got there Jess gave us the news that the seven freshman were NOT to sleep together. In normal circumstances this would be fine, but the only time we had to get to know these scary upperclassmen is when they would give us death stares to make sure we weren't the last ones to cross the finish line in our 500th sprint of the session. We were forced to sleep with the crème de la crop, leaving them and us no choice but to become not only teammates but roommates as well. It's funny we use the word "room" though because nobody besides Jess slept in a real room over the retreat. We slept in what we liked to call the barracks. 22 girls sleeping in 11 bunk beds all lined up with communal sinks and bathrooms.
As It continued to downpour and as some secretly began to wish they were on the track instead of at the retreat, the retreat suddenly took a turn. I mean don't get us wrong it was still incredibly awkward for the freshman and we clung onto each other every free moment we had. But we began to see who these girls really were off the field. At dinner the sophomores eased our fears and calmed us down as they let us know that they cried too everyday of preseason last year. Danielle and Taylor continued to crack jokes easing the awkward tension as Amy and Brooke bonded over the fact that they both bring their own favorite seasoning where ever they go. Meg B and Sarah reassured us that the upperclassmen didn't hate us and that things would be lookin' up from here on out. As we listened to testimonies of all different classmen of how they got here, their own personal struggles, and why they continue to come back season after season we began to feel a little more comfortable.
The day it rained the hardest was the day we did our outdoor ropes course challenge. We were divided into two teams with a mix of all classmen. One team tackled the totem pole first while the other climbed the wall. Each team was full of people who weren't too keen on heights especially in the pouring rain. All teammates supported and encouraged each other to keep climbing and guided them step by step. Freshman Grimes, Meag C, and Rae climbed the wall together. We stood there at the bottom having no confidence whatsoever that we would ever make it to the top. As we reached our breaking point half way up the wall as Rae was in the lead and Grimes and Meag held onto each other for dear life -we heard a familiar voice in the background. It was the comforting voice we had been hearing behind us on the field all preseason long. There was Meg B guiding us telling us where to go, when to go, and that we could do it!
We finished the retreat with speeches by Mitch and Jess on expectations and them putting the ball on our half of the field letting us decide what kind of team we wanted to be. The fairy tale was soon ended as we arrived home for our first day back to the track and field work. Mitch decided we should run the timed mile as the first thing we do while we were still on the "retreat high". As we bent over semi-breathless we all recognized this feeling. We were back at it once again but this time as a team. Because we were so great during preseason and we now had the 800's, 120's 300's down to a fine science Mitch added another dreadful word to our vocabulary. It was on our "beach day" in Avalon at some random field were the freshman learned and upperclassmen were reunited with the term "jingle-jangles". They were 10 yard sprints back and forth 10 times with an "active recovery period" which seemed to get shorter and shorter each time. Because we don't want to ever settle for less than we can handle in between each of the SEVEN jingle jangles Mitch kindly through in "suicide" sprints which we had to make in less than 35 seconds. Much to your and our surprise we were able to write this journal entry because we did indeed survive. We are officially a part of the SJU hawks. The word "jingle-jangle" still gives us the chills and we haven't seen the 800's recently but don't worry we know its in our future. But at least this time we know we have 21 other sisters cheering us on.
September 9 - Carly Salter and Kaitlyn Grimes
Coming off a tough loss on Sunday from Delaware, it was really nice to have Monday off completely from school and soccer for Labor Day. The day was spent catching up on sleep and schoolwork. The day even left time for some exploring off campus as some of the freshman girls on the team and I got together and took the shuttle to see what else was around Saint Joseph's.
It was early to bed Monday night to get ready for lifting and practice at 7 a.m. Even though it is tough getting up on Tuesday, once practice is over the rest of the day you just have to worry about going to class and hopefully have plenty of free time to get homework done and relax. We worked hard that week at practice focusing on things we needed to improve after our last game and always adding some kind of fitness into the mix, which we all just can't seem to get enough of.
Finally after all of Friday's classes were over, it was time to focus on the game and our new victim for the night, Robert Morris. Kickoff was at 7 so another home game under the lights ... nothing better than that. At last it was 6:20 and after motivation and pep talk from our coaches, we started walking down the steps to the field with our fabulous warm-up mix blasting. The anxious, exciting feeling at that moment will never get old. We won the game that night 1-0 with all of our family, friends, and peers watching and clapping for us as the Hawks Song was played for the whole campus to hear. It was another cheerful tailgate that Friday night.
Saturday we had a light practice to keep our bodies and minds focused for our game the next day against Penn. Sunday came and we had a nice team breakfast together before boarding the bus to head into the city. Penn proved to be a tough competitor and we lost the game. But we kept our heads up and when we got back to SJU put on a soccer clinic for 30 ten-year-old girls for two hours, which brought back a lot of memories of when we all started playing the game. We came out of the weekend 1-1, ready to get back to work at practice the next day.
September 20 - Lauren Sawyer
After the retreat we only had a few more days of preseason to get through. (Thank God!) Our first practice back we were told we had to run the mile, but that it would be the last fitness that we would do. So we got it over with quick and then I think we were all much happier. No more 800's or Miles we thought and so far we are still right about that. Then that Saturday our first scrimmage came. We were all pretty excited and at the same time we didn't know what to expect. It was at Monmouth University so it was about a two hour drive. When we got there we all went into the locker room. Then it was time for "Motivation". If you just asked yourself "What the hell is Motivation?", then we are similar in a way because that was also my first reaction. Motivation is something that the Hawks do before each game to try and pump each other up. Two people or more do it for each game. Today's motivation was done by a few of the seniors. They basically rewrote lyrics to the song "Stronger" by Kanye West. It was pretty funny and then we got candy from them after that so no complaints.When we got out to the field, oh my was it hot outside. We were sweating just walking out of the locker room! Another bad thing was that the field we were playing on was grass. Since we play on turf we had to adjust.
When the game started, it felt like the temperature on the field had increased 50 more degrees. We ended up loosing the game, but it was our first game playing as a team. The game showed us that we did have a lot to work on, but it also showed us that we had a good team chemistry and that this season was going to be good.
The following Monday was the first day of classes. All day I was so scared of walking into the wrong room and being that person when the teacher asks "Did I not call anyone's name?" Luckily that didn't happen to me! I didn't know what to expect that first day. I learned that you don't have to ask to go to the bathroom. You can walk in late or leave early. You have to make smart decisions because your completely on your own here.
That Friday was our home game. It was versus Drexel. Being under the lights at your home fields with your parents, fans, and students supporting you is very exciting. It really pumps you up for the game. We started this game much better than the Monmouth game and we ended up winning 1-0 ! It was our first win as a team and hearing that Hawk song put smiles on everyone's faces. It was a really great feeling. Afterwards, we headed up to the fieldhouse to eat all the food that our parents had brought for our tailgate. (This part might have been more exciting then the game !! Haha).
September 22 - Amanda Irons
After a rough game on game on Sunday, we decided to put our defeat at U Penn behind us and work hard for our next game. This of course meant waking up at 5:45 for practice. After lifting, we ran out onto the field ready to "work out the kinks." In other words, working on our plays and positions. The defense worked hard practicing recovery runs, the attack worked on taking people on, and the midfield worked on connecting with both the defense and attack.
As the days went on our practices got more and more competitive. We were split into four teams and did 1 V 1 games everyday. The losing teams did sprints of course, so we all gave every drill our all. Even though we were all getting more and more sore each day, we were also getting more confident and ready for out match on Friday. After practice on Thursday, we went over talked about the game the next day, and celebrated one of the girl's birthday with cupcakes. Food is always a great way to end practice.
Friday was the big game at Georgetown. We had worked so hard and we wanted that win. After fighting and playing the best half we ever had, the first half ended in a tie, 0-0. This second half we couldn't give up our hard work. Unfortunately, Georgetown's little, but mighty attack put the ball in the back of our net. Although we didn't give up, they scored another 3 on us. Instead of putting her head down, Sarah O'Malley scored and amazing goal off of a corner kick picking us up right back up again. Our team then continued to fight until that whistle blew. Yes, we had lost, and there was a lot of fitness to come, but we had played our best game yet. We will always have more to work on but it was clear that we were getting better and better by the game and after a nice weekend off, we would be back at practice, ready to work again.
September 24 - Brooke Price
After our hard fought battle against Georgetown we looked forward to getting some down time. The next two days we had off and all to ourselves. However, it was short lived. It was 5:00a.m. (YES...AM!) when our alarms went off for us to get up for practice. We loaded up on vans by 6:00a.m. and headed to Drexel to practice. It was really strange walking on the field at this time, it felt like we were playing in a night game but not so much...just early morning practice!!!
This week's practices were used to prepare us for our tough schedule ahead. Not only did we prepare mentally for these games but physically as well. Got to love the 120's ten times in a row!!! However we did get to have some fun during the practice hours. A highlight was watching the U.S. Women's National Team play for the World Cup. Friday was game day - we were up against Lehigh. We loaded up on the bus to what we knew was going to be a tuff game, but we knew we could compete. And we did just that...even though we fell 1-0 to those brown jersey's we played amazing! We stepped up our game and really took it to them. We made great progress.
Saturday was the day we needed to recover our bodies for the next day's game. We had a light practice but it was productive. It was really great to walk outside and have it start pouring rain on us and then as soon as practice was over it stopped. It was like the clouds knew we were practicing.
Sunday morning we loaded up on the buses once again to head to Princeton. We stopped along the way to get some tasty bagels to fuel our bodies for the game. We knew going into the game against Princeton it was going to be a challenge, we just had to play to our best potential. This game prepared us for the games in the A-10's. We arrived back to campus and are waiting for another week of soccer madness to begin.
October 7 - Carly Salter & Kaitlyn Grimes
Our week started off with a day off which was really nice after a week that just seemed like endless games. That day seemed to fly by and before we knew it, it was Tuesday. Our alarms went off and we arrived at the Field House at 6:20 to get ready and then lift. Throughout the whole lifting everyone was thinking about whether we were going to go do 800's or not. When we got down to the field we were surprised that they didn't tell us to put our sneakers on. Thank gosh! Our coaches told us our practices this week will be shooting and attacking. It was fun. We ran 120's both days which weren't that bad but anything is better than 800's. Our practices from Tuesday to Thursday was all about shooting and being in an attacking mindset. Then our game came on Friday against Charlotte at home. We lost 4-0 but it really was not a 4-0 game which was really frustrating. The scored the 3 goals in the first half but in the second half they didn't score until the last 20 seconds. We played awesome in the second half and it was comforting to know that if we play like we did in the second half for the total 90 minutes we can hang with the ranked teams like Charlotte. Saturday was just a light practice; we just jogged for a little and worked more on shooting and set plays. The rest of the day was on the players to do whatever it was to prepare themselves for the game on Sunday for St. Louis. We started off Sunday with a brunch at Campion, and then we had to play our game against Saint Louis. It ended up in a 3-2 loss which was really disappointing because we played really well.
October 17 - Meagan Cronin & Raeann Groves
After our two losses to Charlotte and St. Louis we knew last weeks practice was not going to be easy. Despite the fact that it was absolutely freezing at 6am and still dark out on Tuesday morning, everyone came to practice mentally prepared to work hard and challenge one another in practice. The coaches were happy to see that in all the 1 v 1 and shooting drills we did everyone's competitive nature was coming out and we were really pushing each other both physical and mentally to be better players. After a weeks worth of hard work and mental and physical preparation both on and off the felid we were ready to take it to La Salle on Friday night. We definitely let them know we were a force to be reckoned with. For the first time in awhile it seemed that we truly believed in ourselves, from sidelines to on the field we were ready to win. After battling hard for a physically tough 90 minutes the 5-2 score did not reflect the actual game. In the second half Shannon had a sick goal to tie the score 2-2. We knew we had worked harder than them and all we needed was a last final push to win the game. With this in mind we pushed players forward to add to the attack, consequently losing players on the defense. Unfortunately, within the last ten minutes La Salle broke through and scored 3 more quick goals. Although it was another loss for us in a game that we believed we could have won, we worked hard until the final whistle blew. Most importantly, our attitudes did not reflect that of a loser's on Saturday morning's practice where we came ready to work hard. Everyone was in good spirits and had a great time playing a shooting drill that entailed Phili to vs. "Flu" (all non Philadelphians). Sorry to say, the natives put the Flu to shame in power finesse game not once, not twice but three times! Sunday morning we headed up to New York to play Fordham with a lot riding on the game. We knew we needed this win to make it into the tournament. The huge winds in the first half did not make it easy for us to clear the ball out of our back line and put it in the back of the net. The score was 2-0 Fordham and after another hard loss the coaches decided what we needed was some downtime to rest and recover to prepare ourselves for the next 5 games, so they gave us Monday AND Tuesday off, which means no 7am practice this week! One would think when they look at our record that we are ready to give up but its just the opposite from here on out were are only looking up and are very excited to have a game go OUR way in hopes of hearing that "Hawk" song on this coming Friday night.
November 4 - Carly Salter and Kaitlyn Grimes
After a tough weekend on the road, we rested up on Monday and Tuesday. It was our final week of practice and last game on Saturday; the season sure flew by! It was senior practice on Wednesday which consisted of all four seniors' favorite games or drills so all in all it was an extremely fun practice. Thursday we got back down to business with an intense 4v4 tournament amongst ourselves, leaving Friday as our last pre-game practice. Saturday was Senior Day. The team gathered in the Hall of Fame room early in the afternoon to do skits, games, and watch a slideshow all made for the seniors. It sure was a great time full of jokes and laughs. Before the game the seniors were also announced and walked out to the field with their parents to be congratulated. Then it was GAME TIME. After 110 minutes of play, the game ended with us tying Temple 0-0. Everyone played their hearts out and it was an exciting game to not only be apart of but for those in the stands watching as well. Waking up Sunday realizing that our freshman fall season is already over and that we will no longer be playing with those four amazing seniors was definitely a little sad. Although we are all excited for the two weeks off, we can't wait for the winter training and spring season to start up. Love and miss you seniors!