Sept. 26, 2007
Throughout the season, men's soccer player Josh Carroll will be checking in to provide fans with an exclusive insider's perspective of what it's like to be a student-athlete at LMU.
A New Dawn?
There were black clouds looming on the horizon and the smell of rain gently kissing the air over Sullivan Field Friday afternoon as we took the field to play Harvard. Harvard came into this game a top ten opponent and undefeated throughout the whole of this season with supreme confidence and goal scoring power. The mood of our team before this game was one not of fear or uneasiness, it was a feeling of determination. The usual jovial blaring of obscenity laden lyrics that blasted out of the quaint sound system in the locker room was silent as we waited patiently for kick off. We knew what we had to do and that this was a defining point in the season. We had to win. We took the field in new long sleeved blue jerseys as the distant storm approached us, it was game time.
The game started with a flurry of activity with newly repositioned forward Jawaan Delaney running up front like a man possessed. It wasn't long before this hard work paid off and Jawaan was in the box with the ball at his feet and glory in his eyes. With a touch of surprising grace and agility he turned and buried the ball into the lower left hand corner to put us one up. The game only improved from there for us, dominating possession and playing good looking soccer we knocked the ball around Harvard like men amongst boys, we went into the second half with a 1-0 lead and confidence soaring.
As we approached kick off for the second half the rain had started to come down. The already disheveled pitch was starting to gradually turn to trenches as the whistle sounded for the second half to get underway. Shortly into the second half Rafa Baca received the ball and took on the entire right side of the Harvard defense. Dicing through the Crimson with pace and fury he draws the goalkeeper off his line and plays a ball into the middle of the box for yours truly. With a mixture of pure skill and luck that only closing the eyes can bring I struck the ball between a myriad of defenders into the back of the net for a two goal cushion. Immediately following the goal I can attest to my pure joy and ecstasy about scoring my first collegiate strike. I immediately regretted this joy however when I was without a decent breath of air for at least 10 minutes after the ensuing celebration. While recovering from my celebration shenanigans we continued battling in the pouring rain.
Harvard was to get a chance and put a goal in as the second half crept on and fatigue was starting to set in. We needed a breath of new life, something to get us going, then, like a barefooted man in the snow, Steffen Canty
came running. A great header by Baca sets up a diving effort by Canty to punch the ball into the back of the net inside the six yard box. Sacrificing life and limb, Canty flung his body toward the ball with cruel intentions and made the most of his exertion by giving us back the two-goal cushion we needed. The Crimson would pull one back but it was not enough as the final whistle would soon blow, the reality of a home victory complete. We had scored goals and had handed a top ten team their first loss of the season, a good start to our home tournament.
Our second game was against Columbia, a team that was winless throughout this year and who had been defeated handily by UCSB 5-1 the previous Friday. We came into this game with intensity and drive to follow up the spectacular defeat of Harvard with a matching performance against a team that was not on the same level. Once the whistle blew we were in control of the game and pounded the goal with shots and errant chances that barely scraped by. It seemed only a matter of time before the levee broke and the goals spewed forth to shower us in their splendor. But it was not to be, for two halves we shoved the ball down the throats of Columbia and could come up with no answer. Through two overtime periods we could still not find a solution to the goal drought that was overtaking us. The game ends a 0-0 tie with a team that could have and should have been dismantled leaving us 2-4-1.
Although the second result is not what we would have hoped for, the weekend still ends positively and we are looking forward into conference play with drive and vigor. This next weekend we play our annual alumni game and pay our respects to the players who have graced the Lion uniform in the past. After that, down to business, this team has proven without a doubt that we have what it takes to be champions. When the chips are down we have shown growth as a team and are starting to pull together to get results we need. We have had the toughest preseason schedule of anyone in our conference and despite the current record that we have I believe we are favorites. You can call me crazy but I believe it. No we don't have a winning record, no we haven't scored a lot of goals, and yes we do have injuries to contend with. But without adversity there would be no joy in victory, as Rocky says, " It ain't about how hard you hit, its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, about how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done."
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