The first game of the season is filled with nerves, tension and most of all excitement. On Sunday, we played the No. 2 team in the nation - Syracuse. The final score was 18-6, but just knowing the score doesn’t tell you the whole story. It leaves out the hard work and heart that was on the field. The score doesn’t tell you that we never gave up or that we left it all on the field.
That morning we were excited, the 10-minute bus ride from the hotel to the Carrier Dome seemed to drag on forever. When we arrived we had to enter through an airtight door and were ushered to our locker room. The positive energy was getting us all fired up and we couldn’t wait to play. We soon took the turf for a pregame shoot around; as we walked through the entrance to the field our eyes got wide. For many of us, it was our first time not only to play at the Dome but to even be inside. Staring up at the 49,000-seat stadium and knowing the place was packed for the basketball game the night before was pretty amazing and an experience we won’t soon forget.
The first six minutes the score remained at 0-0; our defense was making some pretty incredible stops, but we struggled in our transition game. We knew going into the game this would be an area of difficulty and it just wasn’t clicking. Syracuse fell into a rhythm and we fell out of ours ending the half with a score of 13-2.
At halftime we were able to regroup. We realized what wasn’t going right and we made adjustments accordingly. Our transitions made a complete 180, we were able to find the holes in Syracuse’s ride and execute our clears effectively. Our offense was connecting with one another and finding successful looks that led to more shots on goal. We played as a team second half and you could see a difference, on the field and in the score. The second half score was 5-4 leaving the final at 18-6.
Our motto for the year is “RAISE IT” you can find it printed on the back of our practice shirts, written in the margins of our scouting reports, but most of all you can see it in our practices and in our games. We are continually holding each other accountable to “raise it.” Raise our expectations, raise the intensity, and raise our level of play.
Walking away from a game like Syracuse is a blessing in disguise. Playing a ranked team exploits our weakness and allows us to pinpoint the areas where we need the most work. If you were to ask any of my teammates they’d tell you we are a better team now than the team that took the field on Sunday and we will be an even better team in a week from now. We are excited to keep working hard and raising the bar.
We are given another opportunity to “raise it” on Wednesday when we will take on the No. 1 ranked team, North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Just keep re’LAXING
“If you don’t clearly communicate your vision of the road ahead no one will want to travel with you” –The Energy Bus; quote chosen by MAAC Offensive Player of the Week Meghan Cuddy