Women's Soccer Blog #5 - Tara Telford

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Well here we are, already on the 5th Women's Soccer Blog, which leads me to wonder, where has all this time gone? Although time is technically a constant, I don't really believe that to be true. When you're up one goal in a game, time always decides to slow down and the last 5 minutes seems to drag on forever. When you're out on the field playing the game you love, time seems to speed up, and 90 minutes sometimes just flies by. The latter of the two is where I am at right now. I am currently a Junior in college, which means after this year I only have one year left of my degree, and my college soccer career. It feels like just yesterday that I was living in Rawl's Hall, and was a "youngster" on the Memphis soccer team. Not only is my time in college flying by, but my Junior season is as well. As of right now, we have played 74% of our regular season, with only five games left until conference tournament. Five games? Seriously? Once again, time decided to change its pace and make this season fly by. We've experienced so much this season, and despite adversity, we've made it this far. Through screaming SLU crowds, to altitude changes in Colorado, to "Bomb" celebrations (no pun intended) against LSU, this season has seen a rollercoaster of events. Over the past week, we've continued to hit our highs and our lows, and our rollercoaster ride has not yet ceased.

Fitness Tuesday was tough as usual, but as a team we all gutted it out and got through it. We ran full field 18-42's, which we have never run before, and I think a lot of us were surprised on how well we did. As a team, it helped us realize that when you put your mind to something, anything is possible. With high spirits after dominating the fitness portion of the session, we did variations of one vs. one, offence vs. defense. Like usual, it was an absolute battle. The passion that our team brings in those kinds of drills is indescribable. An outsider looking in would probably think that we all hate each other, but the reality is we only want to make one another better. No matter what goes on during practice, we still continue to be that tight knit group that we are. Later that night, most of our team went out to Mike Rose to support our men's team in their game against UCA. Just as our season has hit highs and lows, that game did too. Unfortunately, one of the Tiger's top players suffered a very serious, and needless to say, season-ending injury. Although hit with this obstacle in the beginning of the game, the Tigers used this as motivation, and ended up defeating UCA 2-1 in overtime.

During the rest of our practice week, we worked on different tactical things that were going to be useful for our upcoming games that weekend. Focusing a lot on through-balls, and crossing and finishing, just to name a couple. We all knew what to expect on the weekend and were all ready to go.

Friday night was filled with tons of positive energy. It started with our team dancing the "Waka Waka" on the field, to having the best warm-up we've had yet, to scoring two goals early in the game. We let up a little bit in the second half, but overall Friday was a success. Once again we came out victorious against ECU, and sent the Pirates sailing back to East Carolina. Sunday we received the same result, only it didn't seem as positive. Once again we scored two early goals, but after the second goal, the level of play dropped significantly. Although we still won, we were not content. As a team, we will never improve unless we play to our best each and every time we step onto the field. Even if less than our best is adequate, this will only hurt us in the end. Thankfully one of our downfalls of the season still resulted in 3 points, but we can all definitely use this game as not only a wake up call, but also a learning experience.

Coming off of the week, 10-3-1, we are now reaching that crucial part of the season. It's now do or die, sink or swim, succeed or fail. As time has decided to fast-forward the season up until now, we have no choice but to decide. Do we rise to the occasion, or do we plummet? We have a huge week ahead of us, and two crucial away games next weekend that can make or break our season. Time is running out and our chance to make things happen is getter slimmer. Collectively as a team, we are definitely up for the challenge. It is our time to peak. There is no time left for us to be average, we need to be great, and we need to do it now. As it sits, we control our own destiny. So here it is, in Coach's words, "I'm dangling the carrot out in front of you, now go get it."

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