Sunday, October 19:
After a 12-hour bus ride, which seemed like 24, we arrived in Birmingham where we played against UAB. We battled out a win, 2-1, and although we didn't play our best it shows that we can win and scrap for it. So we moved to 2-0 in C-USA play and now were on a 4 game winning streak.
Next we came home! After traveling so much it was great to get back and play in front of our hometown crowd. We played Kentucky on a Wednesday night and Marshall a few days later on Saturday.
Throughout the Kentucky game we possessed the ball really well and were able to control the game pretty much throughout. We went ahead 1-0 after Joe made a nice run picking the ball off deep in Kentucky territory where he dribbled through and made a nice move, and got taken down in the box. I then converted the PK to make it 1-0. We then got a two-goal cushion after Diego played a very nice cross in that was knocked in on an own goal. Then we ended up giving a goal up making it 2-1 and that's how it would finish, moving us to 3-0 in CUSA.
The Saturday night game against Marshall was a great night to play soccer. And we played well once again and at the half it was tied 0-0. But not to long in the second half I played a ball from the back after I dribble forward to Big Skinny aka Austin and he headed the ball up and over the keeper into the side netting, making it 1-0. Then Pica, Jose Parada, scored a nice header off of a great cross from the right from Kyle Corrie. Later in the second half Austin scored another goal off a cross from the right by Kilian Poeschk, where he placed it over the keeper's hands.
The game yesterday against a good UCF team was a big one since we were 4-0 in C-USA and them being 3-1 in C-USA. We played well throughout the whole game and were able to keep possession for a good portion of the game. We moved it around nicely going side to side and getting the ball wide and whipping some great crosses in from both the left and right. Just before halftime Jeo sent a nice ball across, where who else but Big Skinny headed it in once again. The same happened in the second half except that Corey played the ball across to Pica from the left, ok so it wasn't the same but it had the same principles. Anyways we ended up winning the game 2-0 and moved to 5-0 in C-USA.
We have a huge home game coming up on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. against cross-town rival ORU who is playing well. We would love to see you at the game.
Tuesday, September 30:
Hello loyal bloggers,
Sorry it has been so long since the last post. We have been extremely busy with soccer and classes...if you haven't been keeping up with our games, we made a huge turn around last weekend and followed it up with a big win to start conference play.
Last weekend we had our Golden Hurricane Classic tournament which featured SMU, NIU, Hofstra, and of course us. We saw SMU fall to NIU in the first game of the tournament in overtime. After watching that performance we knew that we could not afford an off day. We dominated Hofstra 3-0, with a PK from Chris Taylor, a right-footed goal from Corey Albertson, and a BOMB from Diego Henriquez. Going into the game on Sunday we knew that we were going to face a very physical NIU team and the winner would be the winner of the Golden Hurricane Classic. Going into halftime it looked like it was going to be a tied game, but with just about 10 seconds left in the first half we had a break down and NIU scored to make it 1-0. This would deflate most teams, but it fired us up to come out fast for the next 45 minutes. It took about 30 minutes of nearly-missed chances before Austin Neil aka "Big Skinny" scored his first goal of the year! We went crazy and NIU fell apart. Big Skinny forced the game into over time but wasn't done yet, I don't know if he blacked out or what, but after scoring his first goal which came at the perfect time, Big Skinny scored the GW in overtime which led to a clearing of the bench and shirts flying off. The weekend was obviously a huge success and it was great to end our losing streak with two solid wins.
We had a light week of practice leading up to the match with a game of baseball where the upper classmen put on a show leaving the freshmen and sophomores in tears, better luck next time little ones. This week marked the start of conference and our first game was against our rivals, number six-ranked SMU. Most teams are scared to play top ranked teams, but we knew that we deserve to be ranked just as high so we went into Dallas expecting to win. We fell 1-0 three minutes in, off of a corner kick, but that was the last time SMU would get to celebrate. We responded very well to the early goal by scoring one of our own. Justin Chavez scored a great goal from a balled laid back by Joe Salem. That started a flurry of goals all from different players. Just before halftime Jeo scored off of long throw from Kyle Corrie that was apparently flicked on by Big Skinny but there is still some speculation as to how it landed on Jeo's foot before he scored from inside the 6. In the second half, Pica crossed a ball in the middle and the goalie bobbled it right to K-Fed's foot (Kyle Corrie) who calmly put it away. He doesn't miss from there, at least not twice in one game. Diego came so close to dropping another bomb, but was a little unlucky and the scoring finished with Zack smashing one into the far post with 2 minuets left leading everyone off the bench celebrating in the corner. Everyone did a great job these two weeks and helped put us back on track.
I wanna give a shout out to Big Skinny for coming off the bench and making a big difference in both games and receiving C-USA's co-offensive player of the week, and being named to Soccer America's National team of the week. And also to Jeo for receiving this weeks C-USA offensive player of the week and being named to the Soccer America team. And to the Defense, with Tyrel Lacey in the net and Chris Taylor and Justin Chavez led by center back Daniel Dittus, all of whom have done a tremendous job with the absence of Chris Clements who we are hoping to get back into action soon.
We turned a 3 game losing streak into a 3 game winning streak (3-0 Hofstra, 2-1 NIU, 4-1 #6 SMU), a great performance from all parts of the team.
Until next time,
Thursday, September 18
This week's tournament was down at SMU. We went down without starters Frito, Clements, Sally (Joe Salem), and were without Ashley McInnes because of a red card in the Ohio State game the weekend before. We played Oakland Friday night and George Mason Saturday night.
The game against Oakland we started off decently, but couldn't maintain it and we were deflated after we gave up a goal. We never could get back into the game and we were just beat all over the field. We couldn't win the first or second ball, and we also couldn't really get the ball up the field. The game ended 1-0.
The George Mason game we played much better as a team and created some good chances all throughout the game, until we got countered and were scored on, making it 1-0. Going into the 2nd half we had a bunch of the possession, but couldn't get in behind the George Mason defense. They played well defensively and we could not get over the goal-scoring drought, and ended up dropping this game 1-0. The good news though is that we had plenty of chances to win the game, and we all fought till the end still trying to win the game no matter how much time was left.
Hope to see you all this weekend at our tournament, Friday playing Hofstra and Sunday playing Northern Illinois.
See you there,
Tuesday, September 9:
So another trip up to the Northeast is complete, this time to Penn State where we played on a great field with great facilities, also at a place where like 200,000 people come to see the Nittany Lions for football.
We played Penn State and Ohio State. The first game we started off and were able to pull a goal ahead with about 25 minutes left in the 1st half. It was off of a free kick cross from Ashley to a chillin Jeo at the back post where he headed the ball down all the way into the net at the back post. Not long after the start of the 2nd half we scored off of a nice combination on the right side where Justin Chavez put a nice through ball to Zach who chased it down and whipped it across to a sliding Frito to knock it in at the near post. Then with two minutes left in the game we had a lapse of concentration at the back and gave up a penalty making it 2-1. We later held on to win a tight game. As a whole though we have areas that need work and we will be hitting on those this week in practice.
Even though we did not play our best it shows something about the willingness of this team to work hard when things are not going for us and grinding out a win against a very good Penn State team.
On Sunday we played Ohio State where we started very, very slowly, and were 2nd to most balls. We were not able to get things really flowing and gave up a goal within the first seven or eight minutes. Before the end of the half we gave up another on a penalty and never could recover from the early hole.
We definitely have things to work on this week and are needing to make sure that we are prepared for the big tournament that we have this weekend in Dallas, at SMU.
Keep reading to stay tuned to TU Men's Soccer and I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ALL at our home tournament the 17th and 19th of September.
Tuesday, September 2:
Long time no blog,
This is the first week of the regular season! Everyone was buzzing around the field hyped up to get the season started with a home game against Georgia Southern on Friday and an away game against #2 UConn. Clarke even showed his enthusiasm by wearing some very sparkly sunglasses that he might have stolen from Elton John's collection.
Our first game was against Georgia Southern and we got the result we were looking for, but went about getting it the hardest way possible. We didn't play the prettiest soccer and because of that we kept them in the game for much longer than we wanted to, but just before halftime two new players stepped up to give us the lead. Jonson (Jonathon Medcalf) played a ball to Blaine who was able to dribble up to about the 18 and smash the ball into the far side netting. We had plenty of other chances to put the game away, but were just a little bit off on all of them until the 88th minute when Corey slipped the ball across the face of the goal for Zach to calmly put it into the back of the net. After the game everyone was excited about the win, but then Tom brought us back down and told us that although we came out with a win, performances like that are not going to let us accomplish our goals, but all and all we played with heart and it's a good sign to be able to win when you don't play your best.
The second game was one that I have been looking forward to for a long time now. Playing at the #2-ranked team in the country's home field is a great test for us. I couldn't have been more excited to play. We started the game in front of over 3,000 screaming fans. To all of the fans that come to our games, we are calling you out to try to match their intensity this year. They were so loud I had to scream to talk to the players right next to me. We would love for our fans to be that loud, it's intimidating for the visiting team. I can't even begin to tell you the things that they were saying to Tyrel. We started off strong creating good chances with high pressure all over the field. About 10 minutes into the match the goalie was out of position and Blaine hit the post from a very tight angle. Then in the 15th minute, Ash played a ball to Blaine who slipped it to me and I tucked it away to give us the 1-0 lead. The crowed fell completely silent. The entire first half, our defense didn't let last years' Player of the Year, O'Brian White, hardly touch the ball. We went into halftime very confident, but knew that the second half was going to be a battle. There probably isn't a better word to describe the second half than battle, and I can't even describe how loud the crowd was for the entire second half. They looked like the Duke basketball student section jumping up and down screaming at the top of their lungs. We maintained the lead until the 88th minute when White scored a goal to tie it up and lead us into overtime. Overtime was more of the same, a twenty-minute battle that left us tied at the end.
So if you got lost in my tangent here is the recap. We beat Georgia Southern at home 2-0, and tied #2 UConn away 1-1. It was a successful weekend that moved us up to 18th in the NSCAA polls and 16th on College Soccer News...and Clarke wore some very questionable sunglasses.
Sunday, August 24:
After a nice seven-hour bus ride up to St. Louis in Kinkaid's brand new bus, we were on the practice field ready to prepare for a very good Indiana team. The preparations consisted of more organizational instruction from the back through the midfield all the way up to the forwards, all focusing on one thing, defending as a unit and being able to press the ball.
It was a humid night in St. Louis where, our first game of the season began. The rain was coming down to start the game and the field was that thick midwestern fescue grass, and a lot of our players were slipping. We fell behind 3-0 in the first 20 minutes of the game, and came back in the first half to pull one back to make it 3-1 thanks to a goal from junior Jose Parada, a.k.a. Pica. After a scoreless second half, the final was 3-1. As a whole it was not our best effort, but playing such a good exhibition game definitely gave us the things that we need to work on in the next days' practice, which we could then test out against Illinois-Chicago, another very good team.
This game was for sure a much better game than the one two days prior. We put several combinations together and in the second half, freshman Corey Albertson finished off a nice cross from Jonathon Medcalf, with a half volley. The midfield played very well and as a team we defended much better than the game before.
We are looking forward to this weeks' practices to prepare for Georgia Southern on Friday night. Hope to see all of you readers out there in the stands and we definitely want to hear ya!
Monday, August 18:
Thanks to yesterday's scrimmage, today was a pretty relaxing day. Our morning session was moved back to 9:00 am and was more of a jog and stretch. We had weights again at 1:30 pm. The freshmen learned how to hang clean which was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. If you are ever in a bad mood you should ask Tanner or Diego to hang clean for you.
After that we had to go to the bookstore to pick up our books that we are going to read every page of. Michael Stevenson was there but I must admit I was a bit disappointed to see that his mullet was not with him anymore.
We had the team picture on the game field at 3:30 p.m. and then had a little meeting where Tom told us that we had the afternoon off. I'm not really sure what he said after that because I was so excited to go home and sleep the rest of the day away.
We leave for St. Louis tomorrow where we play #4 ranked Indiana and #16 ranked Illinois-Chicago. The best part about road trips is obviously the food, but also we plan on learning a little more about the freshmen, hopefully they know how to sing!
Sunday, August 17:
This morning we had off, which was a great rest for all of us to be ready for the inter-squad scrimmage tonight.
Ash and Joe picked the squads, with Joe getting first draft picks for the forwards and defenders, and Ash with midfielders and goalkeepers. Ash's Grinchester United and Joe's Salem All-Stars Subs were set to square off. Grinchester United pulled ahead 1-0 in the first half later to see Salem's team to come back and score three goals on us in the second half to win the game 3-1.
The game showcased a lot of good work with nice combinations and good playmaking abilities coming from all areas of the field.
Saturday, August 16:
This morning we got to sleep in until 10:30, when the women's team was done practicing. The morning session consisted of very competitive short 6v6 games. It was good to get a lot of action for everyone, and a lot of players looked very sharp. We ended practice with some sprints, and as much as we hate running, we know that we need to be in great shape to start our season.
In between practices Joe and Ash went up to Tom's office to select teams for tomorrow's scrimmage. Joe obviously picked the better team because I am on it, and he managed to not get stuck with Cookie (Graduate Assistant Coach Justin Cook).
At the second session today we were honored with two guest appearances. I got a text last night from Dominic Cervi saying that I better be ready to get embarrassed because he was going be at practice. It was good seeing him. I have been talking to him every now and then, but he just got back from the Olympics and I miss seeing that big goofy giraffe. The second guest appearance was Todd Goddard, our leading goal scorer from last year. It had been too long since I had seen him too, hopefully they will stop by more often.
After a short walk-thru for tomorrows scrimmage against ourselves, most of the guys walked over to watch the women's game. They look really good and I think that they will do very well this year. We plan on being at all of their games that we can cheering for them, especially when they play conference-rival SMU.
Friday, August 15:
So another warm day on the soccer field is in the bag. We had a nice practice this morning at an agonizing 8:30 in the morning, way too early. Beside that point the practice was organizational. We did a lot of defending together as a group in an 11v10 exercise, and ended with no running (and thinking we would do a lot this afternoon).
In between practices we had a workout at 1:30 p.m., where we tested verticals. I think Ashley McInnes actually was able to get his vertical recorded, the coaches didn't even have to lower it for him. Later we did testing on front squats, adding to the already existing soreness.
We picked up our game cleats and everyone seems to enjoy them besides Jeo and John because theirs haven't "come in" yet.
Again we had practice at 4:00 p.m. where we anticipated running after drills. We again did organizational defending for the backs, while the others got to do some shooting. John and Andy were the unlucky ones in this drill because they were being shot at for a straight 45 minutes. Later we all came together to play an 8v8 game with two neutral players. And the surprise of the day, NO RUNNING after practice!
Thursday, August 14:
Today we had a pretty good training session at 8:30 in the morning. You could tell that most of the guys hadn't been up that early all summer, but everyone felt back at home when we started practice with "windows"...Tom and Collin's favorite drill ever! We all stand in a huge circle and about eight guys in the middle run around while we pass it to them. The morning session was short and sharp.
At 1:00 p.m. we had media day...a few of us and some of the women's team went to talk to some of the local media and kick the ball around with them. We had a game of soccer tennis going on and a game of posts. It started off guys against girls with JB from the Channel 6 news on our team, and he led off by hitting the cameraman. Even Bubba came out and almost showed us up with his skills. This was all fun, but the highlight of the day, and I promised Stephanie that I would not leave this out because she was there to witness it, was when Chris Taylor was trying to show off for the cameras and fell flat on his face. He says Justin tripped him, but I don't know how true that is. Becca must have felt sorry for him because about two minuets later she was on the ground, but she was all by herself so a sniper must have gotten her.
Our second practice of the day had a little more emphasis on crossing and finishing. There were a lot of good goals and the energy was high. We ended practice with some fitness. Most of the guys are pretty tired so it was off to the cold tubs and then to watch the Olympics.
Wednesday, August 13:
Today was a great day to get finished, no more pure fitness tests. The Beep Test went really well as everyone rallied together to keep everyone going, passing level, after level, after level.
Later on that day we had practice and of course the clouds disappeared, and the dreadful sun was beating down on us.
The best part of the practice was when we saw our equipment managers driving their gator up, meaning the soccer balls were being brought out for practice! The warm up was all dynamic stretching, moving right into a bunch of skills work, followed by a 7v7 competition exercise with the keepers. It felt good to get the team organized and just get out there and move the ball around and work some combinations.
Tuesday, August 12:
Today is my turn to fill all of you in on our preseason. My name is Eric DeFreitas, and I am a senior. I think Tom picked me to do this because of my superior writing abilities...or maybe just because he knew that Chris Clements would be too busy playing video games to do it.
Day Two of our preseason is the most dreaded day of the year. We started today with a weight test to make sure that everyone was lifting over the summer. Some people might worry about this, but this was the last thing on everyone's mind. All that we could talk about was the Cooper Test, a track workout that causes some of us to lose sleep over the summer just thinking about it. As much as we hate it, we have quite a few guys that are very good at it. Jeo made a joke out of it by running the two miles in just over 11 minutes, too bad he didn't make the same impression in the weight room (just kidding Jeo).
There were a lot of other impressive times, and it was good to see that some of the freshmen came in and performed well also. Now that the Cooper is behind us, we can all breath a sigh of relief and finally get to play some soccer.
Now it's time to get some sleep so I can prepare for the Beep Test tomorrow. Maybe two of us can combine our scores tomorrow to come close to the infamous Jamie Dabney Beep Test score.
Monday, August 11:
Hey Soccer Fans,
The meetings today were great! We got to see all of the returners from last season and meet the newcomers to the team. Hearing all of the soccer accomplishments this summer, assures me that this season is something special. We have Joe Salem back who played PDL Soccer this summer in Des Moines, Iowa, where he earned first-team all-conference honors. Eric DeFreitas and Ashley McInnes both trained at very high levels in Scotland, and finally Zach Nulisch and I (Chris Taylor) played U-19 club soccer for our final year for Solar 89' from Dallas, Texas and we won the US Youth Soccer National Championship.
You could tell the whole team worked hard this summer to be in tip-top shape so we can be ready for the dreadful Cooper and Beep tests. We are definitely ready to get those fitness tests out of the way!
We look forward to starting practices and are excited about the goals that we have, repeating as Conference USA regular season and tournament champions.
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