Honestly, when I think back to preseason and to my expectations for this season, I never imagined that we would be this successful. I chose UMass, in part, for the opportunity to contribute to the rebuilding of a once great program. However, I knew (and get reminded before every home game by our public address announcer), that all those A-10 titles, NCAA appearances and All-Americans came in a long ago era – at least in women’s soccer terms. I knew we could get back there, but it might take some time.
I remember one day during preseason I was in the locker room with some spare time and sat down and read the thick packet of the pre-season expectations of the 2011 standings of the A-10 and the run-down of each team. I read the packet from front to back and what I got out of it was quite disheartening: According to this preview, my new UMass team didn’t have any chance of being a force in the conference let alone win a championship. It seemed to me that the authors believed that Dayton and Charlotte were the only teams worth mentioning. UMass had a small paragraph, half of it talking about the past success. I remember thinking that this would be a good time to begin a new tradition, one that would involve a lot more winning… every season! Maybe I’m biased, but I think that we have already begun to accomplish much of this. Losing hasn’t come often, or easily, to our team and we are now a legitimate contender for the League title.
When we came home from traveling we were greeted with a nice layer of snow covering the ground. We had all heard of the power outages across Massachusetts and the general state of alarm on campus. So it shouldn’t surprise that none of us were much concerned about getting through security but rather about verifying the rumors that school had been cancelled for Monday. When an email was finally sent confirming the day off, everyone was pretty ecstatic. A day off from classes and soccer was exactly what we needed to catch up on some sleep and especially schoolwork.
We leave tomorrow for Dayton and you can tell that everyone is really excited. However, I know that we aren’t content to have just made it there. Certainly it is an accomplishment (and eight A-10 teams are already finished and thinking about next year) but I believe that we have a real shot at being the last team standing. It would be nice to prove those pre-season “experts” wrong! I’m really lucky that I’ve had such a great freshman season and have the opportunity to already reach the A-10s. However, there will be plenty of time to reflect on accomplishments and failures when the season is over, and it isn’t over yet. We still control our own destiny and that is most important. I’m not quite ready to let it end, and I know the rest of this team isn’t either. So we are left with only one choice...win three games and keep it going!!!