Towson on Friday is a must win game. We can't afford to go into the Stanford game having lost to Towson. Playing Stanford on our home field is an opportunity I never thought I'd get coming in as a freshman. We have nothing to lose and it's our chance to find out how good we really are. This week at practice it's hard to focus on Towson because we are all so excited to play against Stanford. Unfortunately we have been unlucky with a few injuries making me now one of our taller players... I'm 5'4 and ¾'s. This week we worked on playing the ball out of the back and connecting with the defensive center mids. It is important that they are able to receive the ball from the defenders, turn, and connect with our attacking targets. If we want to give Stanford a game we need to come out flying and play at the pace that they play at. If we can't keep up it will be like the Maryland preseason exhibition match all over again. So each practice was geared toward speed of play, one and two touch games in tight spaces, forcing us to play quick little combinations. We had four sharp practices this week and we're confident going into our games this weekend.
Towson: We came out strong against Towson. Our front four attacking players were unstoppable. This week of speed of play practices prepared us well. We combined well and Towson didn't have an answer for us. We won 4-1 and from the minute that game ended we were focusing on Stanford.
The moment the whistle blew I calmed down a bit, but I knew I wouldn't feel comfortable until I took my first touch. The first few times I got the ball I was too nervous to dribble at the Stanford defenders, instead I just focused on connecting passes... my first mistake. Once or twice I started dribbling and didn't have the confidence to take the defender on and I wound up dishing it off too early. Before we knew it they scored the first goal after intercepting an under hit square ball played in the middle of the field. Finally I realized I needed to step it up and that these girls were giving me space and time; I could dribble at them, beat them, and then slip balls through. Dave and my assistant coach, Mike (Calabretta), screaming it at me also helped me realize that... In the second half, I was pushed back to defensive center mid and decided to go at these girls. I love playing in the middle of the field... I really hate the boundary of the sideline ... it's like another defender always on your left shoulder. I'm very comfortable in the middle and I was able to split players through the midfield and join the attack. We played much better in the second half and even had Stanford on their toes quite a bit. We scored one goal, Sam Baker hit one in off a free kick and we went wild... we didn't care that it was 3-1 with about nine minutes left, we scored a goal on Stanford and it was awesome. After the game we were exhausted, I love the feeling of being on the field for the full 90 minutes knowing that you left everything on the field. As a senior, knowing that that was the last time I'd face a team like Stanford in my college career, I needed that feeling.