October 11, 2005
As our lovely Ms. Alyssa Pembroke briefly mentioned in the last class session, I missed the previous soccerology diary due to previous engagements. After a long intermission due to my hectic schedule (school projects and tests mainly), with Fall Break upon us I am happily able to teach more Soccer 101. I hope everyone has kept ahead of the readings and have gotten much needed R&R because there will be no more holidays. We are already behind schedule, so I am going to start off with last weekend's reading which chapter includes our games against UAB and Memphis, and then finish off with our most recent trip to West Virginia and Kentucky.
We just came off of a successful home game stint against UAB and Memphis collecting two W's and heading the conference in points. The Memphis game was a real nail-biter. I'm not going to go into grave detail about that game since we have a lot more material to cover, but those of you who attended the WHOLE game were probably glad to have stayed. Those of you who didn't stay, you should now know better.
The practices leading up to this road trip were mainly compromised of crossing and finishing. The trip to Huntington, West Virginia was eventful from the start. We left the SMU campus at 7 a.m. for Columbus, Ohio...then we drove via bus to Huntington which took about 3-6 hours. I don't really know how long it took because I was dozing off while trying to watch my favorite movie, "Gladiator." The weather in West Virginia was brisk and quite a change to our Dallas heat. It rained constantly throughout the day with mist-like drops, accompanied by a sprinkle and at times a drizzle. I don't know the correct terminology, but you get the idea...it was wet. We played Marshall in a wet environment, the ball skipped quickly along the grass and players were slipping everywhere. We opened the scoring off a successfully converted penalty kick by Mynor Gonzo after some smart combinations in the penalty box between Jeff and Kellan, who was later taken down. But it was a rough first half since we couldn't really get into a rhythm due to the field conditions. The scoreline at the end of the first half remained 1-0. In the second half, we regained composure and "Fez" Paulo scored another goal, which was skillfully placed into the right-hand corner of the goal. Then the floodgates opened, and we scored two more before the game ended with Kellan and Bruno scoring a goal each.
Kellan was the "MOM," receiving Man of the Match awards for his efforts that night.
To say the least there wasn't much to do in Huntington. It seemed that the most popular hang-out spot on a Saturday night was a mall-like setting near our hotel. Adjacent to our hotel was the Town Centre where concerts were being showcased. A pop/jazz band was playing melodious tunes to the town's onlookers, and our freshman class - Bruno, Paulo, Jeff, Rich, Danny, Ryan - being the creative and adventurous spirits that they are, decided to dance for the crowd. The crowd rejoiced, throwing their hands up and participating in the festivities. Another piece of interest was the Ohio River, according to Steve Sandbox, which ran parallel to our hotel. It was very relaxing...the whole environment was scenic; the rolling hills in the background and the plethora of birds of all sorts- pigeons, ducks, mallards, swans.
On Saturday, we spent the entire day driving to Kentucky because of some peculiar setbacks. Our bus did not start because of some sort of pressure system malfunction, so we had to stay in the lobby of the hotel for a couple of hours. Some used the time to read the paper, others played weird games that Coach Higgins made up, and Tim played the piano for everyone. As we finally boarded the bus and left for Kentucky, another strange incident happened along the way. The bus driver tried to swerve out of the way, but unfortunately collided what Kellan acclaimed to be "poop in a box." Whatever it was, it caused significant front light damage and produced cries from our startled freshmen. The hotel we stayed at was luxurious, but it resembled the structure of an old Southern mansion. The interior was eerie and reminded me of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. According to the laundry man working there, there were stories of a 9-year-old female ghost that wandered the halls of the third floor of the hotel. Ooooo! Scary! But thankfully no one from our team saw anything. That day after we arrived in Kentucky we had a light training and a little friendly competition...the team's favorite game, "horseshoes." Chase "SeaWay" and I were teammates, and after many "close" matches with Kellan, Scott, Danny, Rich, Duke, Mynor, Bruno, and Jeff we were given the title.
The game against Kentucky was a battle. Surprisingly, we found ourselves 1-0 down after just two minutes of play. Yet, everyone knew that this was our game, and we continued to thunder them with shots. Kentucky played aggressively and maybe too much when one of their players intentionally tried to hurt Jay. The player was ejected, and Kentucky was forced to play a man down the rest of the game. We continued to attack and attack relentlessly trying to find that equalizer when we finally found it in Jay's freekick. From roughly 24 yards out, Jay's freekick cleared the wall and dipped into the lower left-hand side of the goal. The game remained 1-1 for the entire game until... With one minute left on the clock, we had a four on one break, a counterattack, led by Dario. Initially, he tried to slip it across the net, but when it was cleared he got the ball back and zipped in a curling cross in the air. As the announcer counted down the seconds on the field: 10...9...8...7...6...5...4... the cross found someone who flew across the net and headed it past a 6'4" defender and goalie. Later on as I saw this person run full sprint and dodge all of us trying to catch him, did I realize it was that crazy Hawaiian, Duke.
We are 4-0 and sitting atop our conference. Next weekend is our senior game which I cannot believe it's already here. Time has gone by so quickly. It's now our time for our senior class: Duke, Kellan, Mike, and I to possibly play our last game at home. Come out and support the SMU men's soccer team as we face C-USA opponent, UCF (Central Florida) Friday night and then FIU (Florida International) on Sunday.
Class is dismissed,