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By Ali Schaefer, Junior Midfielder
Hello fellow Nittany Lions, Once again, I would like to thank you for your outstanding support. If I am not mistaken, Jeffrey Field accumulated the second largest crowd for a Big Ten Conference game ever this past Sunday. It is because of you that we were able to accomplish our goal of beating Michigan State and starting off the Big Ten season UNDEFEATED. Playing for a crowd is really motivating and the team will always try our best to impress when you come out and watch. Might I suggest to not just watch, but CHEER, YELL, BOO, APPLAUD, AGREE, DISAGREE, VOICE YOUR OPINION! Every emotion brought to our games instills passion in our performance and truly brings out the best in us. If we are going to win another championship, we need to do it together!
Recapping Sunday's victory against Michigan State, a team Penn State hasn't beaten [in the regular season] since 2007, generated an indescribable sense of accomplishment. As I mentioned before, our team isn't focusing too much on the big picture, but more so each immediate step toward that ultimate success. We knew we needed to come out with the mentality that losing on our home field was simply not an option. Together, we decided that each individual would sacrifice every ounce of effort to help complete the mission. It was an overall team effort, and every player, coach, and fan, brought their best.
Christine Nairn put away a penalty kick generated by a foul received from Maya Hayes. Krissy Tribbett came up with awe-inspiring saves and the back line couldn't have been more organized. Each and every attacker brought desire and focus for as long as their legs could muster. Every battle counted, every pass mattered, and every second that passed served as a moment for us to prove ourselves, not TO our Nittany Lion fans, but FOR you. We understand that this season is crucial in continuing the dynasty that those past have created. Past, Present, and Future, the tradition is to win.
Ali Schaefer #11
By Ali Schaefer, Junior Midfielder
First and foremost, on behalf of the entire women's soccer team, I would like to thank you for your constant support this season. The pre-season has already come to an end and I must say it has certainly been a journey. I don't think there is a soul in the world that would have predicted a start like ours this year, but the good news is the Big Ten Conference play has yet to begin.
The 2010 Penn State women's soccer team has definitely learned a great amount about our strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, and desires this past month. We have constantly been trying to put all the pieces together and generate success on the field. Every player has tirelessly assessed and reassessed the struggles and triumphs we have gained this pre-season attempting to produce a winning team.
Over the past week, following our loss to Dartmouth, the team really came together. We have greatly opened up the fields of communication amongst one another and dug deeper than we ever have before for a solution. I personally have never felt so confident as I will when walking on to Jeffrey Field Sunday with my fellow teammates.
We all had the great pleasure of participating in a team-building workshop today. The team really opened up and laid everything out for all to see. Because of each individual's courage to be vulnerable, engaged, and committed to one another, the team has the greatest unity we have ever experienced. We understand the need to fight not only for one another, but also with one another.
We have but one mission this Sunday and that is to beat Michigan State and snag our first win in the Big Ten conference for our beloved fans. The slate is clean, ladies and gentlemen. The past games were merely stepping stones to help propel us to a sweeter victory this season. We believe in ourselves, in our talent, and in our desire. I ask you also to believe with us. This Sunday, Jeffrey Field, 1 p.m. Come out and support your Penn State Nittany Lions because we are coming with vigor and we're ready to win. WE ARE... PENN STATE!
Yours truly, #11 Ali Schaefer
Hello Again Fans,
I am sad to say this is my final blog before I pass it the task on to Ali Schaefer. This time however there is a happier ending!
Wednesday night was our game against local rival Bucknell, but it was also Military Appreciation night. Everything turned out well as many students in the Military were there before the game to hand out posters and other giveaways. They stayed during the game and cheered us on throughout, and even got to play in a game of their own on Jeffery Field at halftime! However, my favorite part was the presentation of the colors! It always sends chills down my spine watching the flag as the national anthem plays and it was even more meaningful last night as we remembered all those who have served and are serving in the military for us today. So that was a great moment for our team last night, but the game was also a great moment for our team as well.
Coming into the game both Bucknell and us were riding five-game losing streaks, to which someone's had to end that night, and we were determined that it would be ours. The first half was pretty back and forth with us playing a little conservative at first but we were able to put one in and go into half with a 1-0 lead. However, we weren't ready to sit on our heels and let Bucknell back in the game, instead we went on the offensive and put four more goals in in the second half. The best part about it was that we had four different people score our goals. This was a great sign for our team as we feel that our offense is starting to click and will hopefully continue to mesh as we are very close to heading into Big Ten season. The defense was very solid as well with only allowing one goal on the night to end the game with a final score of 5-1.
Overall it was a solid performance and a huge monkey lifted off our back. Now that we remember what it feels like to win, we hope to continue to perform well and start another streak in the win column. We have one last game this Sunday at 1 p.m. against Dartmouth, then we start up our Big Ten conference games!
It's been fun writing these past four blogs and I hope you have enjoyed them, but now it's time for Schaefer to continue on with our blog!
Hello again fans,
I know I told you in my last blog I would be back with the post game wrap up from this weekend. So, here it is:
Friday we played Washington to a 2-1 loss. The first half we got off a little slow in which Washington was able to capitalize on with their first goal coming around the 10 minute mark. They put another goal in a little later in the half as well to go up 2-0 at halftime. However, we weren't ready to lay down and take the defeat. We came out pressing for the some goals and created many chances in the second half. Unfortunately we could only put one away and the game ended, 2-1. We knew that with a little more focus and energy from the beginning this could have been a different game and decided that we weren't going to let the same thing happen on Sunday.
Saturday, however, was a break from all the traveling and got our minds off of Friday's game with a trip to the Nike Headquarters. There was only a handful of us who have actually been there so for most of us it was new and exciting to see the amazing campus.
One highlight was the Bo Jackson Sports and Wellness Center, which had amazing workout facilities at which Nike employees and athletes that are in town can go and work out at. In these facilities they have walls in which athletes that visit sign, and it was pretty cool seeing a lot of the USA Women's National Team player's signatures from the 1999 World Cup team like Michelle Akers and Kristine Lilly. However, the one thing that many people on our team liked the most was that there was a hot tub in the bathroom/locker room.
What you need to know about Nike Headquarters is that buildings are named after famous athletes/coaches such as Mia Hamm, and Bo Jackson. The coolest thing we found out was that Joe Paterno has a building named after him on the campus, it is the Joe Paterno Child Development Center!
After the tour our coaches then took us to the Nike Store to do some shopping, and if you know our team then you know we like to shop. We then got some down time to nap and study, and later we went to meet up with a Penn State Alumni group in the area to watch the Penn State vs. Alabama football game. After a pretty full day we finally headed back to the hotel to rest up for our big game versus the home team Portland on Sunday.
Sunday's game was very competitive from the beginning. We went up in the first half, 1-0, but Portland was awarded a PK late in the first half to go in tied at one. Yet, we came out strong and earned a PK ourselves and went up 2-1 early on in the second half. Portland then tied the game up and added two more go ahead goals to end the game 4-2, but only with a few unlucky bounces as we hit the post twice and had other quality opportunities to tie it up. Although we didn't get the win we learned a lot about our team and will continue to build on these performances this week.
We have a quick turnaround this week with a game against Bucknell on Wednesday. This is always an exciting game for us as our schools are so close in proximity to each other. We will have some video and practice on Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday, and try to get our legs to recover from a Monday's long travel day. The game versus Bucknell is at home at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, so I hope to see you there!
By Meghan Gill, Redshirt-Junior Midfielder
So, we have a big road trip ahead of us this week. We are going all the way to the West Coast to play the University of Washington and the University of Portland in the Nike Portland Invitational. In order to get ready for some big games and a long day of travel we had some really focused practices to help get us back on track so we can pick up a few "W's" this weekend.
Tuesday was the first day of the practice week for us as Mondays are our recovery day from the past weekend's games. So Tuesday was a very competitive practice, with lots of playing mostly small sided, like some 2-v-2, 3-v-3, and 4-v-4 but also some 11-v-11 thrown in with it. We also worked a lot on our finishing with four teams fighting for the most points at four different style-shooting drills. Overall it was a great practice as we were focused and determined that our luck is going to change this weekend.
Wednesday is our day for team video before practice. So, we looked over the past weekend's games vs. Yale and UConn and looked over what we did well on defense and in the attack and what we need to improve on defense and the attack. This is always helpful at getting our team ready for practice as everything is fresh in your mind at what you need to work on and you can implement it right away. After another solid practice we headed back to Rec Hall to get cleaned up and then left that night to head to Newark, N.J. in order to catch our early morning flight on Thursday to Portland!
To say the least, Thursday was a very long day for everyone. We were up around 6 a.m. in order to get to the airport in time to get our whole team checked in and breakfast before our flight took off at 8:30 a.m. The plane ride for the most part was uneventful, except that when we finally thought we were going to land and were only about 20 yards away from touching the ground our plane began to rise again. We were all very confused for the next 5 minutes as we didn't understand why we weren't landing, as we were only seconds away from touching down. Luckily, the crew of the plane came over the intercom to tell us that we were just turning around and landing from another direction. After unloading the plane and finding our bags we headed to lunch, and with a persuading text from half the team, Coach gave in and we headed to Chipotle for lunch. Luckily we had some down time before we had our pre-game practice that was mostly spent on getting our legs to recover from the long plane ride. After our practice we headed to the game field to check out their stadium, which was very nice and the grass surface looked ready for our games tomorrow!
Following practice we went to dinner where we all loaded up on our carbs and hydrated with lots of juice and water in order to recover from the long plane ride and prepare our bodies for tomorrow afternoon's game vs. Washington. Then it was back to the hotel for a much-needed sleep that everyone was more than ready for.
So, it's been a good week of practice and a good day of travel with the legs recovering pretty well. Everyone is excited to get some great games in this weekend and get our season back on the upswing. Enough talking about it, tomorrow we get to make it happen and I will report back with the details after this weekend. WE ARE...PENN STATE!!!
Well to sum up this past weekend, we can say it was a rough one. We had some tough games, but luckily we had a much needed break from the hotel with a trip to former teammate Alyssa Naeher's house. This biggest thing we can take away from this weekend is that we are coming back with a better understanding of where we are as a team and some ideas to get us to where we want to be as a team.
Thursday officially started our weekend to Connecticut with practice at 3 p.m. then immediately after getting cleaned up getting on the bus with Subway sandwiches and cookies for dinner! Our team can never get enough sweets and devoured those cookie platters in a mater of minutes. The ride wasn't too bad on the way down with time flying by as we watched movie after movie. The selection varied from comedy (Baby Momma), romance (How to Deal), action/scary (Taken), and even some animation thrown in there (Monsters Inc.). We made it in pretty late, got checked in and got rested up for our big game on Friday against Yale.
Friday morning we got to sleep in a bit with everyone just needing to eat breakfast before 10. We then headed out to Yale's game field for a kick around and get used to the field as Yale's field is turf, and we are so used to playing on our amazing grass fields. Unlike the prediction that Hurricane Earl was going to hit, the weather was warm and humid, and we were able to get a good sweat going and the legs loosened up for the night's game. After kick around we had plenty of free time to ourselves in which most people took naps, watched movies, and even the most studious players got some homework done. Next up was our pre-game meal at this wonderful Italian restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut where everyone carbo loaded on pasta and bread. Then it was off to the field because it was game time! The game was a tough one, the turf was definitely new to us and you could tell and with a few unlucky bounces Yale was able to score on a breakaway in the second half, which would be the only goal of the game. Definitely not the result we were looking for, but it's just another bump in the road that we have to overcome to create our destiny on this long journey of our season.
Saturday was a more relaxing day for the team, with those players playing more than 45 minutes in the game on Friday staying back at the hotel for a pool regeneration, and those that played less than 45 minutes heading out to the field for some technical work. The technical work included passing patterns, and lots of crossing and finishing drills. After the short technical session we all checked out of the hotel and headed to the Naehers' house for a nice relaxing day.
The day was filled with many naps, lots of homework, and watching our Nittany Lions beat Youngstown State! Everyone's favorite part of course was the food. The much needed home cooked meal was just what the team needed, along with trying some authentic Chinese food cooked by the Naehers' foreign exchange students! The food was amazing and the time to get away and hang out with our team and the many parents that traveled was a nice break from the normal everyday hussle and bussle. The day at the Naeher's of course would not be finished without the famous Mr. Naeher's milkshakes! The only way to describe them is awesome!!! To see some of the activities, check out our facebook page that is loaded with pictures from the trip! After that trip we were fully filled and finally headed out to Storrs to get ready to take on UConn on Sunday. The past three years we have gone to this one restaurant for pre-game that everyone seems to love, called Rein's NY Style Deli. It has a great variety of food with many pre-game choices being omelets, French toast, and some NY bagels! After fueling up for the game at 1 p.m., we went back to the hotel, packed up and headed out to the field to try and change our luck with the game against UConn. It was a great day to play, sunny and warm, and we started the game off with a bang! Christine scored with a great shot to the upper 90 only 1:03 into the game. From then on it went back and forth with both teams getting quality chances on goal with a few hitting the post. Eventually UConn was able to even the score up 1-1 at halftime. Coming out of half UConn was able to capitalize first on their home field, but Haley Brock was able to score on a through ball that left her 1-on-1 with the 'keeper to tie the game up 2-2. The score stayed that way through regulation and so we headed to overtime for our third time on the year. Unfortunately, this time we didn't come out on top and lost a hard fought match, 3-2.
So, this weekend hasn't been our best on the field, but to quote the great Vince Lombardi, "'It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." We have both many positives to build upon from this weekend and some negatives that we plan on changing for the rest of the season. But with this weekend we are taking away many lessons and plan to come out to work starting this Tuesday in preparation for another weekend full of games.
After our first tough weekend, Monday was our day off giving us a chance to get our legs back and rest before our preparation for the game vs. UVA on Friday. It also gave the freshman chance to get lost around campus on our first day back at school without the worry of missing practice.
Tuesday- Back to the training field. With any Tuesday practice the intensity was very high, a lot of hard work, running and competition to prepare us for the game ahead. Our coaches always remind us that in order to compete with the best we must have competitive mindsets. With 3-v-3 and 4-v-4 small-sided games, it's hard not to bring out the hard-working, competitive nature. Obviously there was a slight FID in there (Fitness in Disguise) that the coaches don't think we noticed but the team embraced it and it ended up being a good first day back at practice.
Wednesday- A few ice baths and lost freshman later, it was time for practice again. The intensity was still high...for the defenders and midfielders as usual...and occasionally for forwards club. As we usually do, we split up in positions and worked on a number of things that we expect to see in the game or things that we noticed we need to work on. That's the beauty of it being so early on in the season, we still have chance to pick up on things and work on them to make the team better. We are always improving and will continue to throughout the season. A good championship practice to take us into the pre-game.
Thursday (pre-game)- We started off nice and early at 3 p.m. with team video and the scouting report from Michael, who never fails to get the team excited for the upcoming game. We know UVA is a good team and what we can expect but the scout really helps us focus on our own individual jobs. After beating the world record for how many people we can fit into a van, we headed to the fields for pre-game. We started off with the legendary heading game that seems to bring out the best in us, diving headers and saves that Alyssa Naeher herself would be proud of. We then played 11-v-11 with constant set pieces added in there, something that our team takes especially serious, games are constantly won and lost on set pieces which is why we put emphasis on this time. A short but sweet practice and a good way to go into the game tomorrow vs. Virginia.
Our team seems very prepared; we know how hard this is going to be both physically and emotionally, but we're ready. First home game on Jeffery, it's finally here. We're hoping to beat the largest crowd at women's soccer game, which is very exciting. The girls have done a good job at promoting as well as all the PSWS family. The crowd (and Nittany Nation) will no doubt give the team an extra boost for the game and we will be sure to come out fired and ready to beat the Cavaliers.
Game today: 7:30pm.
We are...Penn State!
GAME DAY - Friday, Aug 20 at West Virginia
There was a sense of excitement as the team got onto the bus. Practice has been great all week leading up to the kickoff of the 2010 season. The end of preseason was amongst us and everyone was ready for the season opener against the Mountaineers. We knew that West Virginia is always a tough opponent, but we were ready for the challenge.
We arrived with plenty of time to kill so our athletic trainer, Andra, ran us through a quick jog and stretch to stretch out our muscles from the three and half hour bus ride. It was a very hot day so any extra preparation was beneficial to the team.
As the team began to get ready for the game, the excitement began to build. The atmosphere in the locker room was very positive from both the players and the coaching staff. Coach Walsh was especially excited for the game, because her pre-game speech was a memorable one.
There was a bit of relief as the team finally began warming up. We have been practicing for two weeks and it was a great feeling to finally play a different team. The rivalry between the two schools has been increasing over the past couple of years, especially in women's soccer.
Warm ups were finished, and it was time to start the game. The team came out very strong and confident. We were connecting passes and keeping the ball well. The players were responding well to the new formation.
Dani Toney scored in the early minutes of the game with a signature run into the box. We were on top for about 10 minutes, but West Virginia was able to capitalize on a mix up to put the score at 1-1 going into the second half. At halftime the team was upbeat and knew what we each had to do in order to come away with the win.
We had a good amount of chances to score, but the WVU goalie was able to keep them in the game. After 90 minutes of hard work the score was still tied 1-1, we were headed into overtime. With 49 seconds left in the first overtime, Tani Costa, who had been very effective coming off the bench, scored with a great individual effort. The whole team and staff were ecstatic and jumped into a dog pile. It was a great feeling to show great determination and finally beat the Mountaineers.
It was a happy ride back to State College.
Saturday was a light recovery day for the majority of players. We managed to get in a yoga session, Kirk, our strength and conditioning coach even graced us with his presence and showed us what we have to work towards in order to reach our flexibility goals.
Sunday was our Blue and White scrimmage, with the teams split evenly. Michael took the mighty blue team while Ann was stuck with the white. It was only a scrimmage yet there was a lot on the line as neither team wanted to lose. Both teams started off strong yet white team took the early lead. Although blue team was fighting they continued to dominate into the early into the second half. Lexi scored a great header into the bottom corner...of the own net, to make the final score 3-1 to the white. The blue team managed to redeem themselves in penalty kicks after the game yet white team came out on top.
The weekend was a great end to pre season and the exciting start to the 2010 fall season. There were a lot of positives to take from the games and confidence to build from. The team is excited to get into training again ready for the game against UVA, which for obvious reasons is a game that we are all waiting for.
PSU is looking to create the best atmosphere ever at Jeffrey Field on Friday. The goal is 4,500 fans for the opening night game and PSU is looking for your support!.
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