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Women's Soccer Blog #2 - Lizzy Simonin

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My third preseason is coming to an end! I don't know whether to be excited or sad. Preseason is all about team time and bonding with my teammates. My teammates have become my family away from home and I love being around them. I am always so anxious to get back to Memphis from summer break because I miss the girls so much. Now that preseason is ending, we will be able to get into a routine which includes school (which always comes first), soccer practices, weights, study hall, friends outside of soccer, homework, and games on Fridays and Sundays! All the hard work and pain we put ourselves through preseason will help us in the end as we look to become conference champions the fourth time in a row.

This year we started off on the right foot. We made our way to St. Louis, Mo., to play against SLU. At first we got into a lightning delay, but that didn't slow us down as we scored first to start the season. After the 2nd half started, a herd of 2200 SLU fans came rushing into the stands. I think I can speak for our team, but that was the biggest crowd any of us have played against. It was overwhelming at first, but we ended up getting the big 'W'. We then turned around and beat Samford for our first home game of the season. It was important for our team to get those two wins at the beginning of the season because every game counts.

We have had some fun during preseason, besides being on the soccer field all day. We had two cook-offs at Coach Jodi's house. The freshmen teamed up with the juniors, and the sophomores teamed up with the seniors. I must say we are all good cooks. The 'ju-men' made a home-style dinner, which consisted of meatloaf, chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, corn bread, and plenty of desserts. The 'se-mores' made a Mexican style dinner, consisting of fajitas, quesadillas, queso dip, salsa, and rice. I am still bitter about the 'se-mores' winning, but it was well deserved. Coach also took us out for dinner and a movie one night. Coach Johnny took us to the Pink Palace museum, which was interesting to see. We watched an IMAX movie on dolphins and whales. Just the other day, we spent time with the men's team as we went putt-putting and go-carting. It's always fun getting out of the hotel for a day and hanging out with the guys.

This year is different for me, personally, because I am in a different position on the field. My first two seasons here at Memphis I played outside forward. I love being able to take defenders on and have all the freedom in the world. But, I am now playing the role of a defender. Two of our big name defenders are out for the season, and I know no one can replace Kelsey Bakker or Brittany Hance. There's so much more to being a defender than not letting the opponents score; there is also the communication and leadership role. There is this drill we do in practice where it's the offense vs. defense. This is the time when the defense really comes together as a unit because we don't want the forwards and midfielders to beat us. You see people sacrifice their whole body to stop a shot, and you hear everyone yelling at you to not let the offense score. I believe the defense have won every time.

Being a student-athlete is different compared to a student. You must take into account how much time and energy we spend out there on the soccer field or in the weight room. We are very fortunate to have academic counselors and tutors help us with our school work in CAAS. They make sure we are being responsible and doing our work, because yes school comes first. I didn't think I would ever say this, but I don't like missing college classes due to travel. When we have away games on Friday we usually leave on that Thursday before, and therefore miss classes. Being a student-athlete is stressful at times, and it serves as a job, but I love every minute of it. I get to be with my teammates all the time. Other athletes and students know who we are because they have seen that we are conference champions. And, I love the sport. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

GO TIGERS!

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