Weekly soccer diary details opening week

August 29, 2005 · MT Media Relations
Friday, August 26
Preseason has finally ended and now our 2005 season begins. We start on the road. Before leaving the Murphy Center Parking lot, the returning players race off the bus to say a final goodbye to Strength Coach, Darren Edgington, who will now be at Ole Miss. Darren deserves a great deal of credit for all of our previous successes as he turned us into some of the fittest and strongest players in Division I soccer.

After our goodbyes were said we returned to the bus and headed to Nashville to play David Lipscomb. We played about 25 minutes until we were told to take shelter due to lightening. The team waited around for what seemed forever and finally the coaches and refs made the decision to cancel and re-schedule for the very next morning. We piled on the bus and started towards Murfreesboro making a quick stop at Wendy's. After scaring the Wendy's staff with a bus load of soccer players, the returning players introduced the new players to our team rule "Last on the Bus" (the last player on the bus has to perform on the microphone). I'm sure the freshmen will quickly learn to make a mad dash to the bus as all twenty of us try to squeeze through one small door at the same time.

Saturday, August 27
7:45 a.m.

We load the bus at 7:45 am. We are all here- most of us already back to sleep- but of course we are missing one key person...Aston Rhoden. We can always count on Aston to be "fashionably" late. Once he arrived, we headed back to Nashville to play Lipscomb. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and maybe this time we will put them away early.

10 a.m.
Game time
We warmed up and prepared mentally for the game. Both (assistant coach)Beth Acreman and (head coach) Aston Rhoden made sure that we knew second chances did not come often, and we needed to take advantage of this opportunity. Three minutes in, freshman Kala Morgan put one in the back of the net. At half time it was 4-0, but he coaches were still not pleased, as we were not playing true MTSU soccer. Second half began and we started switching the ball through the center-mids. We came away with an 8-0 victory. Rebecca Rodriguez claims half of those goals. I'm not going to go into great detail on the game as our media guy, Tony Stinnett, does a great job reporting each of our games.

We got a second chance, and we were able to come away with our first win of the season; however, we've been warned that we must start playing the correct way from the very beginning.

So then it was off to the visiting team locker room to take showers, lunch on the bus, Aston's favorite movie (Mean Machine), and a long bus ride to Georgia.

6 p.m.
We arrived in Athens, GA and our first stop was Olive Garden. Yum- breadsticks, salad, a good meal and Rayburn got a birthday cake and a special birthday song! Upon returning to the bus, Co-Pilot Rodriguez announces a switch in rules "First on the bus it's Saturday." Upperclassmen just try to keep freshmen on their toes. On the ride to the hotel we had some fun entertainment on the microphone:

* Nenita Burgess sang us 2 songs.

* (Acreman) attempted a joke, but is interrupted from Kala who recovers from stage fright and races to the front of the bus to tell us a brain teaser about a microwave?!?

* (Acreman) continues with her joke-no one gets- so she gets booed off the mic. Good try Beth better preparation next time!

* Co-Pilot leads the Clap-o-meter to decide what Courtney Fortner will do to help redeem the freshmen class. She sang "Lean On Me" finally some one that can carry a pretty decent note as the rest of the team sings along with her.

* Claire Ward and Katy Rayburn do a duet that was not well liked by Coach Aston.

* While waiting on the next performance Acreman tries to recover by reciting a poem about a cold that she learned in the first grade.

* Co-pilot calls for the Air Marshall, Rachel Holmes, to escort sophomore Holly Grogan to the front to represent her class. Holly attempts to hit some high notes as she sings England's National Anthem.

* Sara Wohlhueter reports to the front with a rap- thanks Fresh Prince- sadly we all know the words!

* Then the all dreaded "We need a change up- country music"- and who else but me. I get called up to the front for my first ever debut on the mic. My song of choice "Redneck Woman". So road trip one of my senior year, I face my fears by singing a song and actually received an applause!

* (Freshman) Jordan LeFan then shares with us her awful roommate experience in Womack Lane.

We arrive at the hotel where we are given our keys and roommates for the night. Adam distributes scouting reports on UGA. Lights out at 10:30

Sunday 7 a.m.
We go eat breakfast at IHOP. The bus driver catches on quick and clocks Aston at 5 minutes early. This time we wait on Adam- I guess Aston has rubbed off on him! At breakfast, Ingrid Christensen (Norway)is disgusted with the food Americans eat for breakfast. IHOP makes record time serving us... less than 1 hour. Good job IHOP. Then it's back to our room to rest a little.

9:45 p.m.
Team captains Sara Wohlhueter and Claire call a team meeting. They put emphasis on how important this game is today. We must get pumped up.

10 a.m.
We load our bags on the bus.

10:15 a.m.
We meet with Aston in the hotel meeting room to discuss the game. Aston uses his magnetic soccer field to show how UGA will play and how we adjust to beat them. Glad to see he finally represents us with blue magnets! But where did the soccer ball go... Claire? Rebecca?

Game Time

We arrive at Georgia's Stadium about 1-½ hours before the game, so we sit in the visiting team locker room until warm-up time. Practically every player has either a CD player or an ipod blaring with her own personal game preparation music. For example, Wardie and Kala listen to cheesy love songs... whatever works. As I look around the room I can see pure focus in each of my teammates' eyes.

We walk out into the heat, admire UGA's impressive facility, and begin our warm-up. As the game starts you can see all of our hard work from preseason shinning through. Never in my four years here have I seen our team gel together so quickly. Fellow senior Danielle Perreault had some awesome saves keeping the score at zero. Unfortunately 40 minutes in UGA scored their first goal. At halftime the score was 2-0. It was wonderful to see such a quality effort from all team members.

At halftime we returned to the locker room, and then we went back out for another 45 minutes of soccer. Our team played the last half with a tremendous amount of passion - for each other and for our sport. Final score, 2-0. Aston and Beth were pleased with our effort individually and as a team. Everyone gave it their all, and although we won't be content with a loss, from this game we can be encouraged that this will be our best season ever. Early in the season we won't stop here instead continue to improve.

Once again we shower and get back on the bus hungry and tired. Beth has informed the bus driver that we need food ASAP.

For the freshmen it is beginning to sink in that the first day of class starts tomorrow, and they are getting anxious and nervous. As for we seniors, we are ready to begin our last fall semester at MTSU. On the ride back, the driver stops to get fuel. Co-pilot Rodriguez helps clean bugs off the windshield. Aston confuses the "Air Marshall" with the um... "hair master"? And he is especially confused with the "funny for me" movie Perreault picked for us to watch. He sternly warns all freshmen in Womack to stay clear of late night movies with Perreault - DO NOT GO! WOO WOO FUN POLICE! FUN POLICE!

And the movie resumes... Just a reminder to the team: don't forget the tripod.

So our first road trip of the season comes to an end and we look forward to our day off on Monday! We get back to practice on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. with our preseason quote in mind: work hard, suffer now, and live our lives as champions...

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