By Mark Dodseth
After a quick and final breakfast at our Punta Leona hotel we packed up and traveled north. We first made a quick stop at a bridge well known for crocodiles. While signage suggested otherwise, food was bought from locals on the bridge thrown down to the crocodiles to watch them eat.
A picture from the bridge looking down
Our afternoon destination for the day was the Baldi hot springs, which was one of the most unique places I have ever experienced. As you proceeded up the mountain the springs increased in temperature, culminating at a rock tower a few stories tall that poured water from the top. Many of the pools cascaded from one to the next. They had even created a sauna by closing off a room that looked like a cave and allowed the hot water to pour through it. On the way to the top there was a set of slides, which may have had a difficult time passing American regulations. While the most extreme of the slides was enclosed, a sharp turn and drop left you airborne and coming into the water from the side of the slide leaving a face of shock from anyone who popped out of the water after the exhilarating ride.
Photo of Baldi Springs (Taken by Sebastian DeRada)
After a short 40 minute drive we arrived at our newest home, a hotel in the jungle. At night it is difficult to see the exact nature of the hotel except that we are surrounded by trees With troublesome wifi connection in the rooms, it seemed as though a team meeting had been called as the majority of the team gathered in a wifi hotspot shortly after reaching the hotel to check up on the outside world.
By Pedro Velazquez
After a free night that turned out to be great for team bonding, we had to wake up the earliest in this trip. This was because we had to pack up for our next ride to San Carlos. About ten minutes in the bus we stopped at the crocodile bridge. There were about fifteen to twenty crocodiles in and outside the muddy water. There was a sign at the beginning of the bridge that said to not feed the crocodiles but Captain Craig thought it was a good idea to throw some meat so the crocodiles would fight for it. I don't know why he would even think about that but he did. After being at the bridge for about twenty minutes taking pictures of the crocodiles, we were suddenly back on the bus and up for another stop for lunch. We stopped at a place about 15 minutes to the hot springs. We ate and quickly scoped the town for a while. When we arrived to the hot springs, the whole team went to the slides. Everyone was having a good time and some decided to try different types of ways to go down the slides. One example was Michael Erush who went head first on the fastest slide there was. He ate it really bad and was complaining about his back for too long.
The pools went from being cold in the bottom to really hot at the top of the peak. We were at the pools for about three hours and most of us were really over it. We were hungry and dinner was not until seven. We were patiently waiting for dinner while watching the Costa Rican soccer championship game. When it was finally time for dinner the whole team went up to the buffet. After dinner we left for our hotel and received our keys. Finding out that there was no Wi-Fi or channels in our rooms was low blow!
By Leon Prikhodovskiy
Today we left Punta Leona and were headed for La fortuna. One the way we stopped by a local bridge where crocodiles hung out. Craig Nitti bought some meat to toss down there and we all watched the crocodiles devour the meat. We then went to the hot springs where we swam in different pools of increasing temperatures. Overall the day was pretty relaxing.
By Trent Clifton
After a long day of hiking and swimming yesterday, The LMU Men's Soccer players we're rewarded with a chance to sleep in and enjoy a late breakfast at 8:30 AM this morning. Although the majority of the guys were struggling to keep their eyes open at the beginning of breakfast, we were quickly alert once a family of white-faced monkeys joined us for the first meal of the day. We ate our delicious Costa Rican food while the majestic monkeys put on a show just for us. However, as the monkeys in the canopy distracted us, a few of the cheekier ones swooped down the restaurant pillars and stole the sugar packets from the dining tables. Even though we were forced to enjoy our fresh Costa Rican coffee without artificial sweetener, no one could deny the incredible experience of being outsmarted by the incredible creatures.
Connor Hunsicker enjoying breakfast with one of the white-faced monkeys.
After breakfast, Coach Krumpe suggested an optionatory trip to the bustling beach town of Playa Jaco. The majority of the players attended the trip, as no one wanted to miss exploring any part of this beautiful country. The two hour excursion found the group buying souvenirs for friends and family, enjoying local Costa Rican smoothies, and walking through the nooks and crannies of one of Costa Rica's many culturally unique beachside villages.
Craig Nitti, Mark Dotseth, Jackson Criswell, Eric Brunter and Paul Blanchette walk away from the ocean in Playa Jaco.
Upon our return to the Punta Leona Beach Club Hotel, everyone was pretty exhausted, so Coach Krumpe kindly allowed us to have a few hours to relax. However, no good deed goes unpunished, and the end of our relaxation time was met with a beach run alongside our adventurous head coach.
Connor Hunsicker and myself alongside our fearless leader Paul Krumpe.
To say we were excited about the run would be an understatement. The scenery surrounding our run turned even the laziest couch dweller (like myself) in to an avid, ambitious, Olympic caliber marathon runner (like Craig Nitti). The run began on the gorgeous Punta Leona white sand, and continued onto the rough terrain of the ocean side lava rock. The 30 players effortlessly traversed across the natural obstacle course and it was truly a sight to see. The run culminated with an uphill sprint to the top of a rainforest mountain, where not even the torrential downpour could stop our determined team from finishing our fitness regiment. Even though this was one of the quieter days of the trip, it was still packed with excitement, and carried on the awesome team bonding vibes that are turning the LMU Men's Soccer team in to brothers for life.
By Eric Brunter
We awakened from our slumber at around 8 am today. This was a much needed time to catch up on our sleep since we have been waking up around 7 am each day. After we showered and ate a delicious breakfast we got to go into the nearby town of Jaco. We went window shopping and looked around in the tourist shops for interesting items to buy for people back home. Many interesting knick knacks were found and bought. Overall it was a great experience wandering around the beachside town and talking with my teammates. We left the town and headed back to the hotel for a much needed lunch as many of the guys were starving. After eating we had a couple of hours off before a beach run. All of the team took a nap for the couple of hours before the run. The team ran along the gorgeous beach and into the rain forest while rain was tumbling on their heads. The team bonded in ways they never believed were possible. Dinner was next on the plan and we embraced it with much vigor. No food was out of reach for the starving soccer players. Everything in sight was eaten. After dinner the team hung out around the fancy pool area enjoying the company of themselves and other fine patrons of the hotel. Many new friends were made during this night and bonds were deepened between teammates. Today was a good day.
By Alex Lam
Today we awoke at 6:50am to have a gorgeous breakfast amongst the trees at 7:00am. We awoke from our two-hour nap on the bus as we arrived in one of Costa Rica's national parks. It is the second most popular park and for good reason. We lathered our skin with bug spray and split into two groups with two different tour guides. We had Carlos, who is now a great friend of mine.
The first piece of wildlife we saw was a poisonous crab. Our group crowded around the telescope to take a close look at this never before seen animal. It was like watching starving people look for food. But the excitement only got worse. As we learned about plants we could eat to survive in nature or how termites are a good source of protein, the anticipation continued to build. But then it happened! We finally saw the one we envy the most, the sloth. She was holding her baby in the canopies of the tree and looked like she was sleeping at the same time.
We swam in the warm ocean amongst a cozy beach. We saw Toucan's feed their young. We shopped in markets of handmade creations. It was a day of adventure and a day of memories. We are in Costa Rica!
By Dylan Seedman
As we departed from Punta Leona Hotel we headed to one of Costa Rica's most popular national parks known as Manuel Antonio National Park. The trip consisted of a 1 1/2 hour hike that ended up at an amazing white sand beach. Along the way our tour guide Carlos showed us tons of wild life, such as monkeys, crabs, spiders, lizards and much more.
After splashing around in the warm water we started our hike back to the town where we found many cool souvenirs and cool gifts to bring back home to our families. It was an amazing day spending time in the wild and experiencing nature that we never thought we would get the chance to see. Not only was the trip wonderful, the team bonding was even better.
By Juan De Rada
After our early start to the day we started our journey to the beautiful Punta Leona beach club. We traveled south and the resort is actually located in the middle of the jungle but it is also close to the beach. Soon after we got off the bus you can tell the weather was more humid than Guanacaste. We played Jaco Race, a second division soccer team here in Costa Rica. The team came out strong and after a great halftime speech by the coaches, we were ready to go. The second half started with two early goals, and soon after we gained confidence and scored two more goals on them. This was huge for the team, and we were happy to get our first victory of the trip.
In the picture below we have Aaron Garfinkel enjoying his stay at the Punta Leona Hotel & Club.
By Luc Brubaker
Today we moved our Costa Rican adventure to Punta Leona, four hours from the hotel in Flamingo. Although the trek over to the new hotel was long, there was a lot of beautiful scenery due to the variety of tropical plants and the amazing views from the the edge of the hill. The new hotel has not only brought new vegetation, but also new animals. We have already been exposed to monkeys, as well as other small mammals. This place is nothing short of paradise. Along with the pretty scenery came the pretty style of LMU soccer in our second game of the trip. After a very tough 0-0 tie in the first half, we came out on fire for the second. Scoring four goals in a game is a tough task, but we were able to accomplish it in a single half. Despite the rough field conditions, although the facility was beautiful, we were able to pull out a 4-0 win against a tough opposition. Many local spectators made it out to the match because if there is one thing that I learned on the trip, it's that there is nowhere else a Costa Rican would be, then a soccer field. After the solid win, the team drove back to the hotel to enjoy yet another delicious feast. Costa Rica continues to impress me, making me fall in love with the country with every step that I take.
By Cameron Krumpe
Today we had the opportunity to take a catamaran boat tour, after our training in the morning. We traveled into a small nearby town for our practice and we were the talk of the town, parents and children alike came out to watch our training because Costa Ricans really love their soccer. After training we went back to the hotel to eat, and then we were off to the catamaran. The boat tour was a blast! We traveled about five miles then anchored, and the festivities began. This boat provided snorkels and fins for the more adventurous, and it also provided floating noodles for others to relax in the water. All of the people on the boat really picked up on the Costa Rican culture which means they were very friendly. The team spent some quality time together and the trip resulted in some great bonding. Everyone had a great time and was very respectful.
By Michael Meissner
Today was a day where the entire team got closer together. We went on a boat ride called the Catamaran and it allowed everybody to get to know each other very well. Everybody was having a good time and we even had some dance competitions on the boat. Dylan Seedman was the star of the show trying to get everyone out of their seats to dance. This got everyone pumped up and the whole team was singing and dancing. Even the people who were on the boat that we didn't know started dancing with us and having a fun time. We then went snorkeling and everyone started having a mini party in the water and people were freaking out because a jellyfish stung someone. Once that was over we all got back on the boat and started doing flips off of the side. Even Coach Krumpe had some incredible backflips and Coach Erush dove off the side too. Fun Kyle opted out of the jump but everyone still loves him anyway. At the end of the day the whole team romantically watched the sun set and took some team photos and it was the perfect end to a perfect day.
By Christian Alvarado
Our second day here in Costa Rica was pretty fun to say the least. After a great night's rest from all the traveling we woke up to a wonderful breakfast. We went to our practice and trained on a nice field. It wasn't like the fields we were used to back home, but it wasn't horrible either. We had a nice practice and came back for lunch. Our pregame meal was delicious. It was now time to get mentally prepared for the game. A couple hours later it was off to the game. We weren't sure what to expect from the team we were playing. They had a nice stadium, the team seemed fairly young, and the wind started to pick up before the game. From the start of the game you could'tell they were used to the field and the way the ball bounced. It the game was pretty good, we had chances to score, but unfortunately we ended up scoreless. The other team was very friendly after the game and they seemed very interested to come to the United States. We came back to the hotel after and the team hung out together in the casino. Its kind of weird that the team was bonding at the casino, but everyone seemed to be having fun there. Overall today was a great day and we are all looking forward to what else Costa Rica has in store for us.
By Akio Ohtake-Gordon
Today marked our first official day in Tico land. We have enjoyed our stay so far, but it seemed that our thirst for the game was quenched today with a practice, and most importantly, a game at 5! The game was against a professional second division team, Liberia FC about and hour and a half bus drive away from our hotel. The team got mentally prepared in the bus.
(Connor Hunsicker and Jack McCracken listening to music and getting pumped up while looking "tico-suavÃ¨").
After the bus ride, the team got prepared in the locker room, changing into our game jerseys, and lacing the boots up. Warm up gave us the news that the field conditions would not be very comparable to Sullivan field, with the dry, hard surface underneath a thick bushel of crab grass. After stretching, a few games of possession, and shots on goal, the whistle blew for kick off.
(Estadio de Liberia F.C.)
I sat the bench for the first 40 minutes, anticipating the opportunity of being able to finally play on international soil.
(Christian Alvarado game ready and Luc Brubaker candid photo extraordinaire)
While observing the game, I noticed the opposing Ticos were very technical, much like our team, but lacked one thing in their game against us, and that was physicality. We dominated balls in the air and 50/50 balls were claimed as Lion territory. Yet, our team was not able to adjust very well to the dry and crab-grass turf of the stadium, hitting the post twice consecutively in the same play. The opposing team did not seem as affected to the field conditions, as this was home soil to them, and strung some very good give and goes across different areas of the field.
(Juan Sebastian De Rada made a big impact in the first half (don't worry coach Mennell I wasn't taking these photos).)
I got the chance to come into the game at around the 43-minute mark, and the whistle blew for half-time before I was able to make a great impact in the game. My hunger was abstained until the next whistle. Once the second whistle blew, I was flying, hungry on the right-wing and ambitious for any type of contribution to a goal, whether scoring or assisting. Throughout the second half, I was able to distribute a few crosses, and attempts on goal. One play particularly sticks out where I beat Liberia's left back with a quick step-over and slipped a quick ball to Trent Clifton. His shot was unfortunately smacked over the goal, as well as many of our chances throughout the second half. We created many openings to goal with great technique and bursts of great speed, but unfortunately the ball would not go in the back of the net. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. This was a disappointing result for our team, because we had a good 70% of the ball possession throughout the game, and outshot our opponent but a vast amount. Yet, considering how this is our first game in a very different atmosphere, it is not a terrible loss. Reviewing my personal performance, I found that I made a positive impact on the game, but I probably could have made a greater one if I demanded the ball a little more from my teammates. I need to get into some of my teammates, and show my passion and my tenacity for the ball is not to be taken for granted. This is definitely something that I will do in our next game in two days.
(Akio Ohtake-Gordon observing my next move;) )
After the game, we were able to express our gratitude for the opportunity to play the Liberian side, as well as get a picture with the team. The experience of meeting some of the opposing players even though they did not speak English was very humbling as they were very respectful of our culture, and even conveyed their intentions and ambitions of one day coming to our own country!
By Bryce Bacic
Our second day in Costa Rica proved to be paradise. Now that we were somewhat recovered from travel, we could fully enjoy the day's activities.
We started out today with an early breakfast at 9:00am. Everyone agrees that the food at our hotel, the Flamingo, is very good After breakfast we left for a light training. The field we played at was about 30 minutes away and was slightly different than what we were used to due to the different type of grass and people burning their garbage in the corner of the field.
In the early after afternoon we had some down time we were allowed to relax and enjoy some free time, but had to stay out of the sun so we were not tired for our game later that day.
Around 4 we departed to play Liberia. The 1 hour drive took us into a part of Costa Rica that was much different than what we had seen. So far we have only been exposed to an area that is spread out, less developed, and has much vegetation. The stadium we played at was in the middle of a small city that reminded me of a smaller town in the United States, with smaller shops lining the streets and some venders on the street corner. Our game with Liberia was well played and ended with 0-0 being the result. Overall today was a good day and I look forward to tomorrow.
By Billy Thompson
Greetings Readers! Throughout this blog you will be given first hand accounts and photographs of the LMU Men's Soccer trip to Costa Rica provided by the players themselves.
We began our journey late on Sunday night with a 1:00am departure from LAX. As you can see, some of the older members of our party were not able to keep up with the more spirited youth.
Photographed: Juan DeRada and Matthew Casana
Photo Credit: John McFarlin
We took the time during our layover to enjoy some muchneeded R&R during which many players took the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep from finals week.
Photographed L to R: Bryce Bacic, Matthew Casana, Michael Erush, Billy Thompson (sleeping), Dillon Seedman, and Colleen Duff.
Photo Credit: John McFarlin
The second flight, from San Salvador, El Salvador to Guanacaste, Costa Rica, featured an aircraft that was less than accommodating for the larger members of the LMU Men's Soccer Team. However, it did provide members of the Nitti family the opportunity to bond over some quality family time:
Photographed: Craig Nitti and Gary Nitti
Photo Credit: John McFarlin
After about a two hour nap on the bus ride from the airport, we arrived at our hotel; the Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa. This is Paul, Vincent, and my view of the central pool from the balcony in our room.
Photo Credit: Paul Blanchette
Here we have the infamous towel elephant claiming one of the two twin beds to be shared between three six-foot plus goalkeepers.
Photo Credit: Paul Blanchette
The hotel provides great insight into the immense biodiversity that Costa Rica prides itself on. Costa Rica covers only 0.03% of the surface area of Earth yet accounts for 6% of the total biodiversity.
Photographed: One of the numerous iguanas seen roaming around the facilities.
Photo credit: John McFarlin
The food accommodations thus far have been delicious. We are served buffet style meals for both lunch and dinner and can expect the same for the duration of our stay at the Flamingo Resort.
Photographed: Assorted members of the LMU Men's Soccer Team enjoying lunch together family style.
Photo Credit: Billy Thompson
As you can see, today was a very taxing day on all of us.
Photographed: Paul Blanchette anxiously waiting the arrival of his partner for the evening to share the bed.
Photo Credit: Billy Thompson
Tomorrow is a big day and a big opportunity for the team. We are very excited as we get to showcase our abilities for the first time against a full Costa Rican side during our first game tomorrow afternoon!
Hey there tennis fans!
"Survive and advance."
Lady Lions will roar no longer as our season came to an end this week during
the second round of the Conference Championship Tournament at the Barnes Tennis
Center in San Diego.
road tripped down two hours south with fire in our bellies and with the will to
win. The week that we bring up on the first week of tennis in September and
essentially what we think about all year finally came. We faced BYU in our
first round, the competitors we had just lost to in our final regular season
conference match. This time it was different. The Lions avenged and clinched a
win to knock out BYU in the first round of the tournament. It was huge, and a
big shout out to Tory Parravi on No. 2 for making that possible in that close
In our second round match against
Santa Clara, it looked as though our match could not have been predicted until
the very end. Ironically, Santa Clara had us in the same position last year
during the second round of the conference tournament Unfortunately this year,
Santa Clara just won one more match that they needed to beat us for four total
wins forcing the remaining match to stop.
It's heartbreaking to see such a hardworking, dedicated and
passionate team finish so abruptly, but by no means did we not put up a fight
through and through. Like Jamie told us, "Survive and advance." We did not have
to pull unbelievable stunts to win. We just needed to win the match or matches necessary
to collectively claim the victory. Although the Lion's outcome wasn't in the
way we wanted it, I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of my
teammates. It's a long grueling season of long practice hours, strength
training lifts, training room visits, and then factor in classes and homework
and papers for days, but hey that's what student athletes are all about.
Setting an example for the school as role-models is what I like to think of us
We all are going to miss our
seniors, April and Adri so much! April, you have been such a tenacious fighter and
have the best 'refuse to lose' mentality that I've ever seen in any competitor.
It's no wonder when your match record speaks for itself. And Adri, despite your
injuries, you have stayed with the utmost positivity that is so contagious and
I admire your work ethic so much. It's as if a part of our family is leaving.
We spend so much time together, it's hard to think that they won't be back with
us. But I wish them the best of luck with their futures! They both shed a
tearful goodbye at the final huddle following our match. Now go take on the
has been a pleasure blogging for you readers out there this season. I had a
blast and I hope to continue it on next year as well. I wish you all a very
relaxing and enjoyable summer.
Until next season!
Hey there tennis fans!
"The past is history,
the future is a mystery. Today is a gift that is why we call it the present."
Coach Jamie didn't actually come up with that quote on his own...I admit that I
was fooled for a second though. I was one of the only girls on the team who
hadn't heard that quote before. The quote was definitely pertinent to our
circumstances this past week both on and off the court.
our final home match of the season against the Pepperdine Waves on Wednesday, we
tried to create the best and most supportive atmosphere that we could get! We
created an event on facebook, made it all of our statuses on facebook, talked
to everyone we knew and even didn't know even about our big match. As a
Communications major here at LMU, I feel like this was a great way to practice
my marketing skills. LMU students sometimes don't find out about sport games
unless it's through 'word of mouth.' We also had free pizza and jamba juice at
the match to help reel in a bigger crowd as well, which definitely worked to
our benefit. I was pretty impressed with the turnout. There were definitely
people that stayed longer than to just simply grab a piece of pizza. Some were
genuinely interested in our match and wanted to rep some school spirit. Plus
some wanted to know the rules of the game because it was all a pretty foreign
concept to them. We really appreciated the support though. Thanks so much for
everyone who came out! Jamie is also arranged for a radio host from
"radiotennis.com" commentate our whole match. It was awesome! A few of the
girls on our team, including myself got to make announcements every few games
or so. That was a cool experience! I have never been on the radio before!
the Lions battled tough losses this week against the Waves and BYU on Saturday.
It's a bummer to lose but these teams were tough and it did not come down to
our lack of talent, it was just execution. On any given day, we can beat any of
the teams in our conference. But it just didn't go our way for some of the
matches in the bottom half of our season. But we cannot dwell on the past. As
the quote says, "The past is history." The only thing that we should channel
our energy towards now is the Conference tournament. The future may be a
mystery, but we must be positive and focused for what is to come because this
is the part of the season that matters the most. And I believe in my team and
the determination we have. Bring it on Conference! We're ready for you.
Tuesday, we head down to San Diego for the Conference tournament where we play
at the nice facilities of the Barnes Tennis Center. Wish us the best of luck if
you see any of Lady lions around campus! We hope to make you all proud and
bring home the championship!
Until next time!
Hey there tennis fans!
"I wish I could understand women. . ." -Coach Jamie Sanchez
was the line that Coach Jamie said that stuck out and made our team laugh in
our meeting on Monday when he went into telling one of his 'stories.' Gotta
love those... After his 38th year coaching the women's tennis team
here at LMU, you can say that Jamie has been predominantly surrounded by women
his whole life. I have to give him major credit for that. The amount of
nonsense that he has to put up with on the daily is beyond me! This sort of
goes back to his notion about not understanding women, because in all honesty, no
one does! But hey, he can't say that we don't provide him with endless amount
of entertainment. We keep him youthful as he gets to stay hip with all the
current college lingo, gossip and music and whatever other silly things us
girls talk about.
is the third week in a row where we've maintained a spot in the rankings. Down
to No. 71 this week! We are getting closer and closer to the end of the season
and that means the big conference tournament! We had a crazy match-filled week
On Wednesday, we played CSU
Fullerton in a non-conference match where we posted a solid 5-2 score. Friday,
we traveled to San Diego where we played 2012 defending conference champs, the USD
Toreros. We barely lost 3-4 in by far one of our closest matches thus far this
season. Every court, each girl was fought with such tenacity and heart. We
really came together as a team for this match in that when certain match
situations didn't go our way, other situations worked out as each of us had
each others backs the whole way through. I am so incredibly proud of the
efforts that we showed out there and I have no doubt that the next time we face
them, that the outcome will be in our favor. Prior to the match, Jamie told all
of us that at this point in the season, "We have to be ourselves." There is no
other person or player that we need to strive to be or play like. We must play
with the game and embrace the talent that we do possess because the best we can
play is at our personal best. And this certainly applies to every day life
situations as well.
Following our match in San Diego, we
came right back to school to travel again the next day and this time to St.
Mary's in Moraga on Saturday morning for a Sunday match. We fell just short
with another 3-4 score. Have it be another day where we face them, we can beat
them. That score is too close not to think it could have gone the other way. So
next time, if we do in fact play St. Mary's we'll be prepared for the win to go
our way, much like our logic with the USD match.
Wednesday, we play our biggest rival, Pepperdine at our final home match and
then off to Utah for BYU on Saturday for our last conference match. The season
is quickly coming to a close. We would really love all the support we can get.
That being said, please please please come out to watch your fierce Lions
against Pepperdine at 1:30. I promise you, it will be one match you will not
want to miss!
Until next time!