Kickin' It With Kendyl

Sept. 24, 2008

When Lesle told our team last Tuesday after practice that we would be meeting at 4:15 Wednesday morning to catch our flight to Indiana, I thought it was some kind of sick joke.

Although waking up at 3:15 a.m. was a struggle for everyone, we could all agree that the morning was hardest on Chelsea Bumbaugh (who probably only made it to the bus on time because of her excellent racing skills, and the fact that most police cars weren't patrolling that early). We pretty much spent the whole day traveling and after finally arriving in Lafayette, Indiana (after what felt like forever) it went without saying that the last thing we wanted to do was go on a two-mile run with (assistant coach) Jim (Thomas).

After running through backyards, fields, and around a pond, we were all ready to shower, eat, and sleep. The next day was pretty much uneventful marked only by a light practice at the field and ending with an intense game of charades.

Friday came and we were all excited to get out and play. We came out a little slow at first but gradually found our rhythm. Purdue was a solid team, but after the initial pressure we were able to take control of the game and out-work them. The work paid off with only four minutes remaining when Melissa Beal (Mo) dribbled into the box, split two defenders and beat the keeper with a shot in the lower right corner. It's still hard to say who was more excited: Mo, who pulled out some sweet dance moves; the coaches, who were screaming for joy; or Kate Deines, who actually had to be subbed out because of her uncontrollable excitement. Amy Griffin's, 'That was the longest 4 minutes of my life!' summed up how the rest of the game went. With every person on and off the field fired up, we were able to hold off desperate Boilermakers and earn our seventh-straight win of the season.

We headed out to Champaign, Illinois right after our game, and arrived at our hotel exhausted and ready for bed. In the morning we went to the field and stretched out our tired legs with a good old fashioned game of soccer volleyball (my team would have made it to the championship square if it weren't for certain cheaters...Jane!) The weather was rainy so we caught an afternoon movie and ended the night with Amy's leg massages and Jim's ice baths.

As soon as we kicked off Sunday I knew that it was going to be a hard battle. We came out a little slow and Illinois was a strong team with skill and pace. Mentally, we weren't prepared and at halftime we found ourselves down, 3-0. Although Friday's game left us with heavy legs, we knew that we were a good enough team to battle through whatever tiredness we were feeling. We couldn't change the score, but we could change how we played the second half. So, when we came back onto the field we were determined to play better and 'win the half.' We created great opportunities up front and battled in the back, but at the end of 90 minutes it just wasn't our day.

Although we were upset with the loss, Lesle reminded us that we have a lot to be happy with and we can use this game as a learning tool to move forward. Our schedule only gets tougher and tougher and learning from our mistakes and fixing our weaknesses will only benefit us in the end!

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