By Aaron Garfinkel
Today marked the ninth day of our travels in the country of Costa Rica. Our day started bright and early with a 6:30am breakfast filled with delicious fruits, eggs, kielbasa, and pancakes. By 7:00am, we embarked on our Safari adventure down the Penas Blancas River. As we floated down the river, we came into contact with different animals including birds, iguanas, and howler monkeys. The howler monkeys were by far everyone's favorite. A family of about 15 monkeys was located in trees that were about thirty feet above us so we had an awesome view of them. At the end of the safari, we enjoyed a mid-morning snack at a local home located on the river. We were served homemade juice, baked bananas, and wonderful potato bread. This was our first true experience with homemade Costa Rican food and it did not disappoint. After finishing our snack, we headed back towards our hotel for the rest of the afternoon in order to prepare for our third match later that night.
After a relaxing afternoon, we headed to the city of San Carlos to play the first division side. As we entered the stadium, it began pouring rain with thunder and lightning looming off in the distance. As a soccer player, the opportunity to play in a setting such as this is a dream come true. While we enjoyed the pregame warm-up, we knew that our opponent was going to pose the toughest challenge that we have seen thus far. While our assumptions about the team from San Carlos were correct, we wasted no time in facing the challenge. The opening whistle blew and we immediately charged down field. Our very own Ryan Felix served in a beautiful cross from the left side of the pitch which met the head of Sebastian De Rada for our first goal of the match. Moments later, we earned a corner. De Rada served in a ball to the middle of the box and Seany Sears was there to head the ball home for a 2-0 lead inside the first ten minutes. This definitely stunned our opponent. They became very aggressive and frustrated the rest of the half but we made it out alive without conceding any goals. The second half started and the LMU defense stood strong and prevented any solid opportunities. As the half progressed, the referee became whistle-happy against us, throwing out many yellow cards before finally sending off one of our players for arguing about a questionable call. We did not let this affect our play and determination. About ten minutes after the red card, De Rada unloaded a shot from about 25 yards out that slipped through the goalie's hands into the top corner. This sealed the deal with a 3-0 victory over a very solid opponent.
This game was vital for our confidence, morale, and success for next fall. We all went to bed that night feeling extremely proud to be a lion and looking forward to the last few days in this beautiful country!
By Jack McCracken
In the morning we went on a safari boat tour where we were able to see unique birds of Costa Rica and Howler monkeys. It was a great time but the real highlight of the day was our game against San Carlos. They had an awesome stadium and we took advantage of it early on. We scored a goal in the first minutes of the game. We scored another goal to take a 2-0 lead and then towards the end of the half goalkeeper Billy Thompson saved a penalty kick to give us momentum going into the second half. The game ended 3-0 and it was a great result for our team especially since the referees were clearly unfair. We look forward to bringing this intensity into our final game in Costa Rica and carrying this momentum into our fall season.
By Mackenzie Kim
Today the LMU Men's Soccer team experienced both sides of the intensity spectrum. The day started especially early, where the team was on the road at 7am, bags packed and stomachs full from the scrumptious breakfast buffet. Getting an early start to the day is a common habit that the individuals in our host country perform, so that they can get to their work promptly and efficiently. However, we had a different activity planned. The team spent the morning on safari, a safari not like the ones you probably automatically assume, but a water safari. We were split up into groups of seven, and were placed into water rafts, just like the white water rafts from earlier in the week. The reason why our dreams were interrupted particularly early was because it provided a greater chance for us to see more wildlife, as most of the organisms protruded from their dwellings early in the morning. The safari was both peaceful and stimulating. The guides shared stories and made sure to point out any animal that caught their eyes. We were able to see Howler Monkeys, lizards, cranes, iguanas, and much more. The team finished the morning with homemade juice and snacks. Since it was scheduled that we were to play later that day, the majority of the afternoon was spent resting, with our legs up, so that we would be ready to perform that evening. The team we played was San Carlos and their stadium was close to an hour away from the hotel. All of the elements were against us that night, as it thundered and poured for a majority of the game. However, the LMU squad was able to overcome the adversities and finish with a strong 3-0 win over the opposing side. The boys fought hard and played very well. After drying and getting warm, the team grabbed dinner and got into bed to be rested for the next day to come.