Player Perspectives: By Alina Garciamendez
Oct. 19, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - After winning our first two Pac-10 games up in Oregon, our coaches immediately had us think about the coming up weekend with opponents USC and UCLA. On Tuesday, the sky gave us a little surprise because it rained the entire day, but Mother Nature did not stop us from having an intense Tuesday practice. As much as we enjoyed playing soccer in the rain, we all knew that this practice was critical in our preparation for the game on Friday. On Thursday's practice, our coaches made it clear to us that from that point on we must focus on our first opponent USC. We were then ready to play our first Pac-10 game at home.
Throughout that week, our whole team tried to publicize the game either by bombarding our dorm/friends/families with numerous emails, inviting people via Facebook, or by putting up flyers everywhere and anywhere we thought was necessary. All this paid off as we had a huge turnout, which gave us a tremendous amount of confidence and a greater incentive to crush USC.
Beating USC 4-0, with the four goals in the second half, we were ready to focus on our next opponent. With the help of our coaches, we began mentally preparing for our hardest opponent yet. Because the importance of winning this game had been stressed a great amount, there were definitely some nerves especially among the freshmen. As Sunday approached, we knew this game would be our toughest and would most likely determine how we would place in our conference.
Nonetheless, our home crowd was fantastic and rowdier than Friday's game, which always gives us a boost of confidence. As the first half finished, scoreless, we knew that second half was our time. We knew what was at stake, and we knew what we had to do, so we took care of business. With less than 20 minutes remaining, we put in two goals. With the crowd and score on our side, we didn't give up. We beat UCLA 2-0. This game tested our team as a whole, from the forwards creating opportunities to score, to the midfielders winning air balls and distributing the ball, to the defense communicating and staying organized, to Kira who made essential saves for our team. This game was a collaborative effort, and we pulled through.