100+ Degree heat... No Problem for the Lions!

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This past weekend the Lions hooked the Longhorns and won their first game 3-1 at the University of Texas! They continued to shine on Sunday when they beat Texas State 1-0. The goal scorers of the weekend were Tawni Martino, Brittney Sanford, Darien Pyka and freshman Brianne Medved. Even though these girls put the goals away it was an entire team effort. I talked to the three Lion captains: Jaide Garcia, Brittney Sanford and Rachel Fell to see what they had to say about the winning weekend!

Gabby: How was starting off the season beating a top ranked opponent? (Texas was ranked #18 going into the game on Friday).

Jaide:  Starting off with a big win is exactly what our team needed to get our season going. We have worked really hard this month and the two wins solidified our confidence for the games ahead. We really proved our potential this weekend so now we just have to focus on capitalizing on it. We are determined to make the NCAA tournament this year and we are off to the best possible start!

Gabby: How is the team chemistry after the road trip to Texas?

Jaide: The team chemistry has been great this season and this trip made it better. We are missing  Whitney but she has kept in great touch with us via texting. The games brought the team together because all 23 players were needed to keep the energy up to get our wins. We learned how to rely on each other this weekend and were able to show the 8 new members what being a lion is all about!

Gabby: How important was not only beating the Longhorns, but beating Texas State for the weekend sweep on the road?

Rachel: Bringing home two wins this weekend is massive for us. With no pre season games to prepare us we went into this weekend inexperienced compared to both teams. We have very few away games so to capitalize on these is a great way for us to get ahead.

Gabby: What was your favorite part of the trip?

Rachel: My favorite part of the trip was the experience we had at the University of Texas. We were lucky enough to have been given a tour of their football stadium and behind their facilities. For me, who has never seen the football side of college athletics, it was a great experience.,,one that many do not get to see. From the huge stadium to the marble flooring and Heisman Trophy collection, it didn't take long to feel the high end of college football. Then later that day we played a hard fought game that all 23 players came together for a historic win. It was a great day in all.

Gabby: Brittney, What were your feelings going into the penalty kick knowing that if you scored, your team would take the lead against the University of Texas? Did you have a specific approach?

Brittney: My feelings stepping into take the PK was a mixture of nervousness as well as confidence. I believe that PKs are just as much mental as they are skillful. I couldn't think about the repercussions of this penalty kick if I missed. Instead, I went into the PK knowing that I was going to make it. I stared at the keepers eyes while running toward the goal and I struck the ball as hard as I could to the left side of the net. I will never forget it.

Gabby:  Do you have any funny stories from the trip?

Brittney: A few of our teammates thought it would be funny to steal Ojo, Whitney Sharpe's stuffed bear. Whitney was unable to attend the trip because of transfer rules with the NCAA. We were going to miss Whitney and we needed someone to take her place. We ended up treating Ojo like a part of the team. We documented his trip with us. He did things like eat pizza, pick up baggage, hydrate etc. We ended up taking several comedic pictures which gave us all a good laugh...except for whit of course! Sorry we aren't sorry whit! (pictures of Ojo below)

Sounds like an amazing weekend filled with great team chemistry, great soccer and a 2-0-0 record! I don't know if you are as superstitious as I am, but it seems to me that Ojo needs to make an appearance at every home game, get his own plane ticket and own seat on the bus for every road trip!

Hopefully we will see YOU and Ojo at the Lions first home game this Friday at 4pm vs. Long Island University!


Gabby Parisella Class of 2011

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