As much as we have been consumed with soccer these last few weeks, there have also been some great team events. When the Special Olympics came to UMass late last week we played a special role in the opening ceremonies. Along with the football team and ice hockey team, we helped to run out the torch and met all the athletes. The experience was heart warming and gratifying for all the UMass athletes, but particularly special for me. My brother participates in the Special Olympics so the experience really hit home. He is a huge supporter of the team and I so to get a chance to support the Special Olympics and the program he plays for was something I'll never forget. Just to see how excited all the athletes were to meet and dance with us was amazing. As I am reminded everyday with having my brother in my life, the athletes in the Special Olympics are the true role models and inspiration. Events like these remind me that it is a privilege and great blessing that I am able to play soccer for UMass everyday.
Another great team day last week was our trip to Six Flags followed by a cookout at Coach Matz's house. While those of us who like roller coasters went one way, the rest of the girls enjoyed a relaxing day at the water park attempting to fix their developing soccer tans. I fell into the roller coaster loving group, mostly because my Irish skin will only burn during a day in the sun. A dinner at Coach Matz's house preceded and as tradition, the junior class cooked everyone dinner. Although the burgers and chicken were good, I think it's safe to say we don't have many chefs on the squad. Next year it's my class's turn and based on my cooking, I don't think the expectation should be too high.
We left the BC game with a lot to work on if we wanted to even dream about competing with UCLA. We had a week of practice to do it and everyone worked extremely hard at every session to do so. It seemed like things were starting to come together and practices improved day by day. With a good week of practice under our belts, everyone was confident that we could compete with UCLA and even beat them. The Alumni weekend kicked off with our Golf Tournament Fundraiser on Friday and on Saturday all the alums were back on campus. It was great to reconnect with all of the girls again and to know that we had their support in the game. A top 10 team has not come to UMass to play in a long time and it could be the last and only chance we have in our 4 years so there was no denying just how big the game was.