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Tulsa Men's Soccer Team Upsets 24th-Ranked SMU, 1-0

Tulsa Men's Soccer Team Hosts 24th-Ranked SMU on Wednesday

Tulsa Men's Soccer Team Tames the Tigers, 2-0

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So I set aside two hours and went to town describing the last week and our trip to Wisconsin. I pushed send and the computer informed me I had been logged off. What it meant to say is that it logged me off and lost my e-mail and I would need to sit down and do it again. No I didn't save it first so no smart remarks, Alexis, and you too dad. Alright, I know too many sarcastic people, so no remarks from anyone are necessary. Here we go again. If only I would set aside this much time for homework.

Sept. 7
Three-day weekends are absolutely splendid. It's late Sunday night and I suddenly remembered that there's no class on Monday. What a boost, especially after a road trip. It also makes school a little more difficult. We missed part of Thursday, all of Friday, no class Monday, and we leave for another trip this Friday. It leaves a lot to be done in the short time we're at home and makes doing work on the road an essential, or makes it really easy to get behind.

The first practice following opening weekend shows everyone what the regular season is all about. We started off at a snail's pace. Not only did we look sluggish, but the ball movement was noticeably slow as well. This picked up as we worked along. We did the same drill we did last week with two teams playing to a target. Communication was still a big focus along with seeing the field and countering when given the opportunity. The conditioning at the end of practice was a little different, as the coaches picked guys out as we went along that had played a lot of minutes the previous weekend. It was nice to see the guys that were done cheering on those who had yet to finish.

We did have one casualty on the day. Brian McCurdy received a ball on the move and was looking up field when he suddenly fell to the ground. Everyone stopped and let the ball run off on its own. No one knew what was going on and he had fallen so randomly without anyone around. It was none other than the turf monster who had claimed another victim. His ankle quickly swelled to twice its normal size, but for a kid whose shoulder used to dislocate every time he sneezed, this is nothing.

Sept. 8
Today was my friend Craig's birthday. We've been friends for longer than I can remember and he's quite the sports enthusiast. As OU fans would say, he goes to the other TU, in Austin. He will most definitely have something to say about that. I sent him a present along with a team poster and media guide. As I was packing it up, I took a look at the two and realized the sun and the wind were not too friendly the day we took the pictures. Then I realized it was just me. Good job squinty kid with horns.

I also made a trip to Hanger today to have a pair of orthotics made for my shoes. I knew my feet weren't normal, but I really had no idea how bad they were until I saw a mold of them. They're hideous. I have no arch, the smallest toe tries to hide under the second one, and my feet somehow look as wide as they are long. I might as well get an extra muscle or something and add cankles to the equation. I should have been a swimmer.

Cary (Wicker) and I rode to practice together today and we couldn't figure out how we can already be behind in school after not even a month. At practice, we split up into offense and defense. We worked on moving the ball around the back and finding different ways to get the ball out and up the field. It was a pretty good session, but it seemed like it lasted forever. The other group probably did some sort of shooting drill that made the goalies wish they had been sick that day. We finished off with a scrimmage that had a good tempo and saw some good combinations. Ending like that always makes the practice feel productive.

Tonight will mix in with tomorrow. I have a project due tomorrow. It's not supposed to be very hard, but it's supposed to take some time. The fact that I don't have any facts myself to back either one of these up is not a good sign. I should probably get started.

Sept. 9
I went to bed around 6:00 a.m. this morning. I struggled to stay awake through the classes but hey, the project has been turned in and the stress level can come back down from critical. I remember one drill from practice today. There are zones on each end of the field where the defenders and forwards must stay. The zone in the middle is for the midfielders, but they may join in once they get the ball to their frontrunners. There are zones on each side of the field for wingers who can be passed to offensively to whip a ball into the box. Basically the defenders and goalkeepers get ready to get shelled. I think at one point we deflected balls away from our goal three or four times, just to have it stuffed right back down our throat. Right at the end, Kevin White got in the way of a shot and I've never heard a ball and skin combine to make such a loud smack. He noticed a perfect impression of the ball at the end of practice. I think the stitches may have drawn blood. Wear it proudly Kevin.

Jenks and Union, two powerhouse area high schools in our area, played their football game at Skelly Stadium tonight. I guess we're never home for TU games, but these fans were so loud that we heard them in our apartment on the other side of campus. We had the game on one of our televisions and would just go check every time the crowd got especially raucous.

I never like to sleep a lot the night before a flight. We were set to go to Wisconsin the next day for the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther Invitational. Supposedly it's the oldest tournament in college soccer. We were set to play the host Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Anyway, I looked out my window around midnight and the lights on our game field were still on from the girl's practice that night. I went over to the locker room to get my shinguards and Paul (Davalos) was out there kicking the ball around. Naturally I had to throw on some cleats and join in for an hour or so.

Sept. 10
I woke up around 6:00 a.m. this morning so we could leave for the airport by 6:30. Coach McIntosh and his wife, Denise, have family in Wisconsin so they brought their son, Ian, along for the flight. I was asleep before we took off and woke up two hours later when the landing gear came down. Good nap. We had some time in the Chicago airport, so we ate lunch at 10:30 a.m.! Nothing like some Panda Express Chinese food when McDonald's is still serving breakfast. The flight to Milwaukee was only 22 minutes, so we were landing as soon as we took off. We got in and checked into the hotel. Milwaukee looks like a pretty cool city but we didn't have much time to check it out. We went field searching and found one by the side of the road with two small goals. Those goals turned out to be metal fence welded on to the frames. You had to judge the ground like a putting green. Nice. We only needed it to knock the ball around and get rid of some of the stiffness from sitting all day.

The tournament banquet was at our hotel that night. All the teams came in and had dinner together. They introduced the coaches and there was some serious talk about the possibility of Coach McIntosh being the tallest coach there. That never happens. As usual, the waitress had the "hots" for Coach Clarke and all his charm. The meal itself was less than delicious. It was a plate of pasta, smothered in Alfredo sauce and an amazing amount of vegetables. I'm not particularly a big veggie fan, but I force them down from time to time. I ate more vegetables in one sitting than I've had the previous month, and there was still a plate full staring up at me. Needless to say, none of the guys were really full afterward. We walked a couple of blocks and found a Greek place. Now we went to get a real meal, but we ended up just getting desserts. Hey, they were good. A few guys did try the Gyros, pronounced "guy-ross" in England according to Joe (Wear).

With the amount of sleep I had the previous two nights, I had no problem passing out early tonight.

Sept. 11
We didn't have to be up until 10:00 a.m. this morning, so I woke up a couple of hours early to try to get some reading in. Once everyone was downstairs we walked over to a bed and breakfast. Just about everyone got either pancakes or French toast, both of which came in huge portions. I couldn't finish mine, so of course Dominic (Cervi) helped me out as soon as he had erased his from his plate. Entertainment from the meal was provided by one of the tenants who happened to be an opera singer warming up for the day.

It was very strange to be playing on September 11. I remember when it happened freshman year. It was your first time away from home and the only place you wanted to be was at home with your family. It really made me step back and realize soccer wasn't the only thing going on, and we were fortunate for that opportunity in the first place. It seems to have slowly faded away from everyone's immediate memory, but the memory of that day can come back so quickly in vivid detail. As we stood for a moment of silence and they played the national anthem, I felt very small and insignificant compared to the soldiers I had seen on Sportscenter that week.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee's fans were very spirited. They had a strong turnout, including a large student fan-base, which is always nice. I definitely got the Hanes underwear call as I was announced in pregame. Good one guys. Never heard that one before. The rest of it probably isn't appropriate to repeat here, but you have admire fans with that kind of dedication. We got off to a great start. Ryan (Pore) put in a free kick early in the game that put a hush over the crowd. We scored another one pretty quick to give us a 2-0 lead. We conceded one but came back to score another to take a 3-1 lead into halftime. We defended a lot in the second half and didn't play our game for much of the time. We struggled to control play and move the ball into the final third. The team stuck together and kept the Panthers out while one more goal was added late on a counter. A 4-1 win over a 2003 NCAA Tournament team at their place felt good.

After the game a group of the guys hit the ice bath in the form of Lake Michigan. Then we went to dinner and (Eric) Burkhalter took a glass of water straight to the crotch from the waitress. He got his table a free appetizer, so way to take one for the team buddy. Scott (Kincaid) had the waitresses sing Happy Birthday to Paul for him hitting the big 21 on Sunday and bring him out a sundae. Coach Clarke proceeded to eat most of the sundae.

Oh hey, Notre Dame came back this week and beat Michigan! I guess the Irish still have some fight in them after all. Dr. Carr cannot be pleased. Hopefully Ryan will rub that in a bit. And by the way, the Pores' were out in full force this weekend with tailgating supplies as well as buckeyes, cookies and the yellow Tulsa flag you can spot anywhere.

Sept. 12
I've never played two games in two days since I've been at school, and my legs reminded me of this early and often during the game. It was not one of the performance I personally, or the team as a whole, will want to remember. I don't really want to go into a lot of detail, but we lost to Wisconsin, 3-2. We gave them three goals. I love our team and the passion our guys show because we fought back to tie it up before having the third goal with less than a minute to play called back. The referee was standing five yards away from the play and had already signaled for the goal before he let his linesman reverse the call. When you lose, you like to know that you lost to a team that really outplayed you on that day. I don't think any of us left with that feeling so the frustration was obvious.

We still ended up winning the tournament because all four teams went 1-1 and we came out on top with goals scored. Ryan was named the MVP and Todd (Goddard) and Lawson (Vaughn) each earned spots on the All-tournament team.

SMU and Creighton both beat top 10 teams this weekend so they'll move up in the polls while our loss to Wisconsin will most likely have us drop completely out. We know what we did well this weekend and we know what we need to work on. This coming weekend is exciting because we'll get to play our first game at home and against our "cross-town rival" ORU.

Coach McIntosh talked to Drew (Williamson) the other day. I guess he keeps improving. His short-term memory is nearly back to normal and all his progress is pretty remarkable. It's so good to hear that he's doing this well. The plan for now is for him to come up for our tournament in two weeks. I hope it would be good for him to see all the guys, because I know we can't wait to see him again.