Senior Morgan Wendlandt returns for her third season of providing an inside look at the Indiana State women's soccer program, as the senior from Fort Atkinson, Wis., will post throughout the year on her running soccer blog, Sycamore Snippets. Make sure to bookmark the page and check back for an up-close look at the 2011 Indiana State women's soccer season, as the Sycamores look to rise to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference! If you missed anything from Morgan's first or second season of blogging, it's never too late to catch up, so be sure to check it out with the links above!
Throughout many of my Snippets I have discussed the pain and exhaustion we soccer girls often feel from all our various actions. Pain from weights, from abs, from sprints, from fitness testing, from games... we do a lot, and throughout the season we just beg for the opportunity to sit down and do nothing. Well, I guess we should have been careful of what we wished for because now, there is nothing for us to do; our tournament lives are in the hands of various teams throughout the conference and all we can do is sit back and wait to see how things work out. Who knew that being forced into inaction could be so much more painful than our actions ever were?
Wednesday's game vs. Evansville was our Think Pink night for Breast Cancer Awareness. The weather was miserable, to say the least. It was freezing cold with rain being pelted down sideways by a ridiculous wind. Despite the conditions we had great support from a group of loyal fans in the stands who weathered the storm, some bare-chested, to propel us to a win.
The game prior to that versus Illinois State, I must mention, was our senior night. Now we all promised each other we weren't going to cry, which I think was a struggle for all of us at one point or another. The underclassmen went above and beyond with personalized gifts and scrapbooks for each of us complete with pictures and notes from each member of the team and staff. I think it proved that 30 years from now, we're not going to remember our record, or the teams we played, or the scores of games, but we will never forget the girls we shared our careers with. Our senior class has certainly been on a journey together, and I don't think we would want to take back a moment of it.
Now that I've gotten my sentimental streak out of the way... on Friday, we jumped on a plane to Omaha for our game vs. Creighton. Despite how much we love our bus trips, the airplane was a nice break from what would have been the longest road trip of our lives! We lost a tough 1-0 battle to Creighton after a hard fought 90 minutes. It was that loss that now put us in a mix of a few teams battling for a chance to make the conference tournament.
Danny Pfrank has been crunching the numbers for us and there are a ton of different possibilities that determine if we are going, where we are going, who we are playing, and more. We won't know until all the conference games have been played out on Thursday so we are just going to put in the work 'til then, and hope that we are given the opportunity to play-on another day. I think with the way the season has gone for us this year, we are due for the chips to fall our way for once. Let us hope so.
Everyone keep your fingers crossed while we keep our nose to the grindstone.
As I was sitting in the stands today at the ISU football game, which, by the way, ISU won 37-35, a few of the parents complimented me on my last snippet, which I took as a possible hinted reminder that I haven't written a new one in a while, although they are too polite to ever actually say that. I commented to them that it's so much more fun to write snippets after we win games than after we lose them, and I was searching for the silver lining, to which Mrs. Allbright replied, "Yeah, but after that game last night, that was different, the way you girls played out there! You guys played so hard!" (it might not be an exact quote, but it was along those lines). Then several of the other parents started chiming in on how well we played, and how cool and exciting some of the plays were, and how close we were so many times, and I realized, "BINGO, there is my silver lining." Yes we are on a bit of a slide, but anyone who watched, or even looked at the stats of Friday's game against Missouri State, knows that we are heading back uphill, just in time for the heart of conference play.
Last week was a light week as we adjusted our game plan for conference and recovered from the last few games. The extra free time gave some girls time to get some house cleaning done (and you mother's out there should be very proud of their dedication to doing the job well). Especially Kourtney Vassar... their apartment must have been immaculate. We also finally had time to make our sweet soccer video for the season, directed by our very own Tia Marie Perry. (I only add her middle name because I have decided that since she will obviously become famous after the world gets a look at this video, she should consider going with "Tia Marie" as her professional industry name... it has a nice ring to it.) Ya'll can check out at.... (Just go ahead and click the link now, don't feel bad deserting me, I know that videos trump articles every time these days. I'll just wait for you guys to come back and finish reading.)
Awesome, right? Anyway, most of this week was geared to preparing for the "Official Visit" weekend, as we welcomed both dogs and recruits to our stadium. Before people get offended I want to point out that by saying "dogs" I'm not commenting on the looks of our incoming recruits... we actually had dogs in the stadium for our second annual Bark in the Park game. Every cheer from the crowd was echoed by a few resounding barks from the furrier looking fans. I credit their encouragement for our outstanding energy in the second half.
So now we prepare for the next weekend, which is a travel one, of course, with Drake on Friday and Loyola on Sunday. We are hoping to even up our conference record and boost up our nonconference record in one big road trip.
The tides are turning, the winds of change are blowing, things are looking up, throw in whatever cliché you want to use, but we're getting our butts back on track!
P.S. I don't know if anyone is counting, but I have poked fun at Gaspo more than a few times in my snippets over the years, so I would just like to say that Alison Rose Gasparovich is my hero and I've never been prouder to step on the field with a single player.
So it's been a while since my last Snippet but I knew that tides were turning in the Indiana State Soccer locker room, and I didn't want to jump the gun until they had completely shifted. After a rough start to the season we have turned ourselves around and are back on track. A lot of us, after the first few games, were disappointed with our play and all started to doubt the confidence that we had coming into this season, but if there is something we Sycamores do is fight to the finish!
After getting into a 1 and 4 hole following our tough Ball State overtime loss we took off in our rental cars (which have now been upgraded to giant SUV's, which Erika and Kate became pros at parking) to SIUE... well not really. We actually took off to St. Louis, about half an hour away from SIUE. We had a fun little team vacation on Saturday night having a PHENOMENAL dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory (complete with a bowl of ice cream!) and then we walked to the arch, many of us never having seen it close up, and took some pictures, which I'm sure will be floating around the Women's Soccer Facebook page soon. That next day we took it to SIUE, scoring early, and then Natalie Vaught scored her first college goal with just a few minutes remaining (which may have brought her some tears of joy, but she would kill me for saying it), which put us into a short overtime where we made quick work of our third goal to win the game. It was an emotional win that really stood up to our "never give up" attitudes. The win made the carpool ride home seem a lot shorter.
That next week took us into Kentucky to play Murray State. After what seemed like a forever long bus ride, we arrived in Murray for a quick training and a dinner (which included a bowl of ice cream, if you can see the trend forming here), and we made it back to the hotel just in time for the new Jersey Shore episode. The next day we took it Murray early scoring twice within a few minutes in the first half and then holding strong in the second half to preserve our first shutout of the season. We are now 3 and 4 on, what I like to call, "The Ice Cream Win Streak of 2011" and my taste buds are hoping it lasts a long, long time.
Saturday was our day off but we spent it as a team at the ISU Football Team's home opener where they battled out a close win against Butler. A lot of the girls got a good first look at our school spirit as the stands were almost completely packed with fans. It was a cool environment and a great win.
This next week and weekend is going to be CRAZY. We take off to Purdue on Wednesday, play that night, getting back to Terre Haute with just enough time to sleep in our own beds for a night, and then take off Thursday to Ohio University, play them on Friday, and then head straight to Miami of Ohio, play them on Sunday, and then come home on Sunday just in time for class on Monday! Oh, you gotta love travel seasons (and ice cream)!
While I was discussing our weekend with someone (who will not be named), they used the phrase "well, at least after coming out of preseason you guys broke even." After hearing that I thought about the term "break even"... I even looked up the definition. To break even is to have one's profits equal one's losses. Okay, so I guess coming out of the weekend with one win and one loss fits the bill, but I feel like there are a ton of other factors that need to be considered. I will take this time to present those facts to you all.
Exhibit A: We've had fun... as always. The last week of preseason leading into this weekend was filled with the usual craziness. We had a group talent show at Rick's Smokehouse which had musical appearances from the Spice Girls and Taylor Swift, a magic show, a preseason skit and a full blown circus. It was entertaining as always. Our first road trip to Fort Wayne was a blast as well, complete with a hallway party and a bus ride full of games and movies. I think having fun is something that always tips the scales for our team.
Exhibit B: We suffered a tough loss on Friday, yes, but what needs to be considered is how we bounced back. We got after it on practice Saturday and played our butts off on Sunday to get a win. It's not how you fall but how you respond, and I think our response said a lot.
Exhibit C: We protected our home field. We don't have a lot of home games this season so we made it a focus of ours to win every time we step on our turf. Mission accomplished.
Exhibit D: Momentum. With our win Sunday we have gained momentum going into this week of practice, which is really important considering it's our first week of classes as well. If girls thought fitness was exhausting... sitting through hours of lectures is equally exhausting in its own right. We have some valuable momentum that we can take into our weekend of home games coming up.
Exhibit E: We got the kinks out! The first few games are always nerve wracking and the first win is always the hardest to get. With the win Sunday we got the "monkey off our backs" (as coach would say), and a lot of our newer players got a chance to settle in, obviously with two freshmen scoring on Sunday!
Exhibit F: We raised 1,689 pounds of food for our local food bank with our canned food drive! Our fans, administration, and teammates helped to donate food and money to help feed the hungry in Terre Haute! The food drive is just the first of many community events we have planned for the season!
Exhibit G: The next weekend is the annual "Parents and Alumni Weekend" with a ton of festivities including the always anticipated golf outing, a super tailgate, group lunch and more. This not only means extra excitement but it means extra fans in the stands, which always helps!
So, ladies and gentleman of the jury, I rest my case. I think the evidence is overwhelming. We did not simply "break even" as was suggested earlier. We came out far, far ahead! (And coming out ahead is something that we expect to be doing a lot of this season).
I hope to see all of you this weekend to enjoy to weekend!
We are one exhibition game into the season and we are already setting records. Wednesday's 2-1 win against Eastern Illinois is the first exhibition game win in school history. I believe that has been confirmed by Danny Pfrank, our stats man (Editor's Note: first exhibition win over a Division I team in school history). It was an exciting win, but it also pointed out a lot of facets of our game that still need to be ironed out. It's those things, not the win, that we have spent the last few days focusing on as we prepare for our second and final preseason game against Morehead State at home on Sunday.
As promised, all the preseason interviews have been completed! The lucky subjects were selected from each class. The selections were based on whether the person had any idea what a Sycamore Snippet was or not. I felt that the girls that gave me funny looks when I said "snippet" wouldn't understand the gravity of this process. The freshmen that passed inspection were AJ Rodas and Marisa Windisch, the sophomore was Shelby Troyer, Taylor Hancock pulled through for the juniors and Seyma Erenli took on the job for the seniors. Most of the girls used their "ask the audience" lifeline for their questions so they are somewhat group answers.
What has been your favorite part of preseason so far?
Marisa: How the team has come together and supported each other.
Shelby: Chocolate milk and all the FOOOOODDDDD!!! [yeah... that's how she said it]
Tay: Feeling like I was on the swim team [because of our pool workouts]
Seyma: Seeing people come out of their shells in their delirious states of exhaustion.
What has been your least favorite part of preseason?
AJ: Getting on the line
Marisa: Hurting in places I didn't know could hurt.
Shelby: Not having enough energy to shave my legs.
Tay: Feeling like I was on the track team [because of all the running]
Seyma: Having to run in the blazing HEATTTTT!
Freshmen, what surprised you the most about your time here so far? (Returners...What is different about this year than about years past?)
AJ: I didn't know it was physically possible to be this tired.
Marisa: We didn't feel like newbies or freshmen, but have been taken in as part of the family.
Shelby: The bar has been raised and we have higher expectations for ourselves.
Tay: We don't have to eat in the on-campus cafeterias J
Seyma: We've bonding closer together as a team a lot quicker and we are more focused than years past.
What are you most looking forward to this season?
AJ: WINNING CONFERENCE!!
Marisa: All of the road trips and the fun new experiences that college soccer will bring.
Shelby: Turning heads and making people take notice of our program. Being the one to fear in the conference.
Tay: EVERYTHING!!! I'm just excited to see where we are going to go! [she means figuratively, not literally].
Seyma: Being able to play with the other seniors that I have grown through this program with and being successful working toward the same goal.
What is one word you would use to describe our team and program?
Marisa: Unpredictable [in a good way]
Seyma: Fun [throughout pretty much everything]
So there you have it... another interview special all wrapped up. Hopefully I can end my next snippet with, "So there you have it... another exhibition win all wrapped up" after our game vs. Morehead State. Kickoff is at 1 pm on Sunday so grab all your friends and come fill the stands!
So we are a week into the preseason, and we all feel like our bodies have aged 40 years. People's joints creak and crack, muscles stick out of legs where they aren't supposed to, we grunt when we sit down or get up... our locker room has become somewhat of an elderly home.
The first few days of trainings were rough as the fitness level wasn't where the coaches had hoped coming in so we spent the first two days without cleats or soccer balls, simply our running shoes, which, I would like to point out, is a nightmare for athletes. But we survived, and I think we can all agree that we bonded together as a team because of it and fought through together. The days that followed were demanding both mentally and physically. We spent a lot of time working on our tactical movements, as well as our physical movements. Everyone will admit that our defensive concepts aren't easy to master, but they aren't easy to beat either so it's worth the effort to perfect it.
The whole point of these snippets is to give you guys an inside look at our team and our program so I asked the girls and the coaches for help in opening up a window to our world for you. The girls were given the phrase "You know you're an ISU soccer player when..." and asked to finish the sentence. We had some pretty creative answers...
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... sleeping has never been so painful.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... you walk to class in the same clothes you slept in the night before.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... you don't know what day it is.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... you can't feel your legs.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... you don't put on makeup during the week.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... your second profession becomes making ice bags.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... you decide showering takes too much effort.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... the words "get on the line" are in your nightmares.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... you have a spring break body all year long.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... you have 29 best friends.
- You know you're an ISU soccer player when... your teammates feel like family.
The coaches were given the phrase "You know you're an ISU soccer COACH when..."
- You know you're an ISU soccer COACH when... all you hear from the locker room is scream-singing.
- You know you're an ISU soccer COACH when... every team function brings laughter.
- You know you're an ISU soccer COACH when... you are constantly inspired by the work rate, passion and dedication to the team.
(We were smart enough to ask the coaches this question after a particularly good training session.)
We are two days our from our first exhibition game at Eastern Illinois and we are getting excited! After simply playing each other all week long we are looking forward to seeing how we stack up against someone else!
The next snippet will be an "Interview Special" with a few of the girls from different class levels, which is always entertaining for everyone so keep checking back!!!
So I went to bed one night with a whole summer in front of me, and then, I swear, I wake up the next morning and its OVER!! Funny how that works huh? Tomorrow is our first official day of training for preseason and I feel like I need to hit the rewind button and back up a few weeks! Unfortunately life doesn't allow that, but since I pretty much make the rules in "Sycamore Snippet World," I'm going to go ahead and do that so I can back up and fill everyone in on what has been happening!!!
A large group of us have been training here in Terre Haute all summer. We were pretty much living the life... training, napping, swimming, tanning, hanging out with friends, and, for some of us.. working. I the best way to describe our summer we would summarize the 5 favorite, and 5 least favorite things about the summer! In order to protect the anonymity of my sources, many are listed without the names of the submitters.
Riding bikes in our bike gang
Playing soccer against the football team
Seeing Coach Seliger every morning
(Ali Ardi specifically said "living with Taylor Hancock" was her favorite part)
Waking up early everyday
Getting sunburnt from laying out by the pool
Stadium stairs... running a lot of them.
Finishing entire seasons of TV shows or beating the entire Call Of Duty (Katie) game and having to think of something else to do.
Having the pressure of looking incredibly awesome in our cutoffs at workouts every day..
(Taylor Hancock specifically said "living with Ali Ardi" was her least favorite part)
We took a brief reprieve from our difficult lives to celebrate the fourth of July and then we returned to what we like to consider.. "Holy cow.. there are so many people at this camp.." week. Our returning players helped the coaching staff hold and organize a camp for high school teams and other high school soccer players. We all had a list of tasks to complete and places to be. Some jobs were a little less desirable than others. For example: Ali Ardiaolo got bus duty, which meant she rode the bus around ALLLLL day EVVVVERRRRYYY day to make sure everyone was getting picked up and dropped off where they were supposed to. Next time you guys see Ali you have to give her a pat on the back for surviving that week!! We had a TON of girls going a TON of different directions, but I think we did well and everyone had a good time, despite the heat and the busy schedule.
After that week we had even more teammates here as many of the incoming freshman stayed in town to train with us from that point forward into our "pre-preseason bonding week". Bonding week is our little week of fun to hang out and get to know each other before the terror of preseason sets in. I was out of town for part of it but I made sure to get every detail from Taylor Hancock on the craziness when I returned. The week contains wayyyy too much to tell it all here, and there also is some sacredness to the activities that cannot be shared with outsiders, but I will outline some of the events that you guys all have security clearance for..
Dinner at the Hancock's -- walking tacos, fruit pizza (amazing), and Abbey Anderson's amazing talent of catching food thrown at ridiculous heights in her mouth..
Class dinners -- each night a different class cooks dinner, freshman made Tacos, sophomores made breakfast foods, juniors made pasta, and the seniors cooked up some pulled pork!
Scary movie night -- we have some screamers on this team.
Hydration Olympics -- we dress up in crazy outfits and play games that involve drinking Gatorade and water. Supposedly Ali Gaspo and Katie Geyman won for best outfits, I'm scared to know what they were...
Field campus -- A trip to ISU's field campus in Brazil to take part in a ton of different team building activities. Apparently one of the team building tasks was especially difficult as the record time was 8 minutes and our team took just under an hour to complete, but that's what bonding week is for: getting all the kinks out!!!
AND MUCHHH MOREE
So now we arrive at preseason. We have made our team-wide Sam's Club run to get mass quantities of breakfast food. We have been handed all our new gear, which is awesome again this year! We have been through our meetings and received the schedules of our lives for the next few weeks. And now we have reached the eve of the big day... details to come!!!
Wish us luck and pray for our survival..!!!