WE MADE IT TO THE NCAA’S! Today we found out that we got an at-large bid to the NCAA DIII Soccer tournament, one of 24 spots left. Six teams in our conference qualified, including: Chicago, Brandeis, Wash U, Emory and league champs, Carnegie Mellon. This is the first time in twelve years that NYU has made the tournament. The second in NYU Women’s Soccer history, and the first time that it has been done via “at-large” bid.
I can’t put into words how an incredible of a feeling this is. Four years of blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, torn ligaments, bruises, and turf burns. I am so incredibly proud of all my teammates, past and present who have made this moment possible. This has not only been a personal goal of mine, but a program goal that was set four years ago and it is truly unreal to see how much everything has progressed in that time period.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet, because I’m so excited and there’s still a lot we have to do.We play Amherst this weekend at Nazareth College in Rochester at 1:30PM on Saturday.
Last first day? Is that even a thing? According to my Facebook last Tuesday, it is. There was a plethora of seniors who posted pictures of their first day of kindergarten accompanied by photos from their first day of senior year of college. Does time fly or what? Since Tuesdays are my busiest days (Lift, Soccer, 7 hours of class) I wasn’t able to snap a cute picture in front of the arch, but I think these photos will suffice.
In Front of Freedom Tower
New York, NY
Soph, Cassie, Amy and I
New York, NY
Happy First Day of School from your favorite NYU Goalies
New York, NY
We’re approaching day 22 of preseason, but the grueling long set of two a days are only just beginning. Our ten days in the UK proved to be one of the greatest experiences of my young life, but then again, what more could a girl ask for in a trip? Soccer, travel, and surrounded by your best friends and teammates. Here’s a (relatively) quick recap of our trip.
A map of our trip
Panorama of London
The return to my “homeland” was everything I expected and more. We began our trip in London and spent the entire first day on our feet , walking from our Hotel at County Hall, across the bridge to Westminster Abby, along the River Thames, then back to Buckingham Palace. Though we were exhausted from our red eye from New York, we mustered enough energy to tour the city that day to allow for more free time in London during the trip.
NYUWS all smiles on the River Thames after a grueling long tour and flight
After a solid night’s rest and the most wonderful breakfast buffet ever (thank you County Hall Marriott!), we set out to explore the London Underground with a trip to the Tower of London, followed by some free time. The Tower of London proved to be an incredibly educational experience, but an even better photo opportunity with the Tower Bridge ( more commonly known by its misnomer, London Bridge). From the Tower Of London, Phebe and I ventured to Harrods then Picadilly Circus, but had to figure out the Tube to do so.
After successfully mastering the Tube, we walked back to the hotel and took a quick nap before we left for our game that night. That night we traveled outside the city to face off against Watford Ladies. We ended with a 2-1 loss, but the overall experience was very eye opening. I think what we all realized was how lucky we are, despite the numerous difficulties we face as NYU soccer players. What surprised us most, that despite England being a soccer powerhouse, the female professional teams, have subpar facilities, treatment, and access. It really set a fire deep in my soul, that made me want to do something.
NYUWS & Watford Ladies Prematch
Our last day in London began with a walking tour from NYU London’s own Director for Student Affairs, Nigel Freeman. We walked through Convent Gardens, through the British Musem to NYU London. It’s been really an incredible experience to have set foot in 3 different NYU campuses in Europe just this past year. Though NYU Madrid will forever hold a special place in my heart, NYU London was stunning. If I had more time to study abroad, I would definitely go back to the UK! After the walking tour, we boarded a bus and headed out to Teviot Rangers FC’s home field for a soccer clinic. I think this was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, considering the fact that we got play soccer with little kids with adorable british accents. The sad part however, was that the club didn’t have enough girls to start a girls team to compete – illustrating once again gender inequality in women’s “football” in the UK – something I was familiar with from my time in Spain.
Teviot Rangers Clinic
Highlight of the Trip
We continued our trip in England with a half day stop in Stratford-Upon-Avon, more commonly known as Shakespeare’s birth place. We were on our own, so Phebe and I set out with our guide, Jack and walked along the river, where we saw numerous rowers practicing. A side note: Jack told us that Stratford-Upon-Avon has one of the best crew clubs in England and has produced many Olympians. We strolled around, basked in the beauty around us, and ended our halfway with a visit to Shakespeare’s grave and lovely French restaurant, where I indulged in my favorite French dish, Croque Madame.
After lunch we hopped on our lovely coach (“bus” for all us Americans) and headed to a professional soccer match. West Bromwich played Bologna in an international friendly with a final score of 2-0 in favor of West Brom. Though it was my first EPL match, it didn’t even begin to compare to the other soccer games I have been to, including El Clásico in February. Following the game, we ventured North to Wales to retreat for the night.
Bologna vs. West Brom
Stratford Upon Avon
Though we were based in Wales, the majority of Days 5&6 were spent in Chester, England. We spent the morning learning about the ancient Roman, Anglo-Saxon (Mercian), Norman, & Parliamentarian history of sieges and warfare built into the walls of the city of Chester. It was a very beautiful city, considering the age. My favorite part was being able to walk around the entire city outskirts on the raised fortress walls.
That afternoon we faced off against Manchester City Women’s team. Though we didn’t play their full squad, the game was more than competitive. Man City was a great, feisty, physical opponent that will definitely be a benchmark for the rest of the season. Though we didn’t come away with a W, there were many lessons to be learned from that match.
After the game, we made a surprise pit stop at Old Trafford, home to Manchester United. Even though we couldn’t go inside, it was so cool to see the stadium, the Munich memorial, and statues of old players.
Corner against Manchester City
Man City and NYUWS Pregame Photo
NYUWS at Old Trafford
After two quick days in Wales, we were back on the road to Scotland, home to our guide, Jack. Although I wasn’t initially excited about making the trip up to Glasgow and Edinburgh, the anticipation continued to grow because I didn’t know what to expect. Jack continued to build up my excitement throughout the bus ride before we made one last final stop in Carlisle, England at the second most famous wall in the World: Hadrian’s Wall. On the way, we made an impromptu stop at Lanercost Priory because our education guide, Angie, recommended it from past visits. The priory was gorgeous and if I were to ever get married in England, I would definitely consider that as a location – it’s stunning. Check out some photos here! We spent the majority of our afternoon however in Carlisle, exploring the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. It’s incredible to think that these ruins have been around for over 1800 years!
We finally made our way into Scotland by dusk, settling into our hotel in Glasgow. We ate a quick dinner before most of us went out to work out and then to sleep.
We were up bright and early on Tuesday to head into Edinburgh to see the Edinburgh Castle and get a local walking tour. The views from the top of the castle were like none other and the city itself was bustling with tourists – I had no idea it’d be so full. After our walking tour, we were given a few hours to explore the city on our own. I had no idea where to start, but Phebe and I just started walking around the city. I would return to Edinburgh in a heart beat, I feel like I left so much undiscovered.
After a full day in Edinburgh, we boarded the bus back to Glasgow and immediately threw on some soccer gear for our training session at St. Mirren park. We ended up practicing at an indoor facility, which was a new experience for me – I really liked it, except the small field boundaries.
At the top of Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK 2013
Time seemed to pass by so slow over the course of our trip, that I had begun to feel like I had been in the UK for weeks – I loved it. We began one of our last days with a trip to Loch Lamond, which is at the foot of the Scottish Highlands. We walked around part of the massive lake, and then took a boat tour, where we got to see some old castles along the coastline.
Later that day, we laced up our cleats for a final match against the Hamilton Accies. Though it was a pretty even match, the Accies came out on top.
Castle on Loch Lamond
NYUWS on a ferry at Loch Lamond
The final full day of our trip will forever hold a special place in my heart and soul. Part of our trip included giving back to the community, and we did so by volunteering at a soccer clinic as well as visiting a Children’s Hospital in Yorkhill Scotland. Though the hospital and our coaches warned us that we might get emotional, nothing could prepare us for the pang of mixed feelings that I felt.
I had the distinct opportunity to meet six year old Euan. He’s an adorable Scottish lad with a debilitating auto-immune disorder that has left him in the hospital for his past three birthdays and on the bone marrow transplant list for quite some time. Even though he didn’t want to wear a hat or talk to us, I just sat there until he got really excited and wanted to show me his robot. Euan and I sat together for no longer than 30 minutes, but he had a profound impact on my life – teaching me that despite the odds, you can find purpose in the work you do – just like his robot.
As we left the hospital, I couldn’t help but tear up. We met tons of children with disease, disabilities, and sicknesses that we were so fortunate to have avoided. It brought me satisfaction that we were able to cheer them up, even if it was just for a little bit. What’s even better is that all the funds that SAAC raises this year through special events is going directly back to the Yorkhill Foundation
After our time at the Hospital, we had enough time to venture back to Edinburgh. We were on our own for four hours, so Phebe and I walked up this giant hill to these ruins with views of Scotland – simply stunning. We then returned down the hill, walked on the opposite side of the castle through cute little shops. I picked my Dad up a Scottish rugby jersey and I found some Trinity Shaped earrings I’ve been dying to get before we headed back to Glasgow for our final night in the UK.
This trip passed by quicker than ever, and I caught myself wishing that we could just stay in the UK for an extended period of time. My extreme case of wanderlust has hit me hard and I can only dream about the next time I set foot on an airplane.
Our final half day in the UK was spent exploring Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Museum, which had an array of old paintings, sculptures and displays. It wasn’t before long that we were headed to the airport to head back to London then NY. This trip was a blast and I cannot even begin to thank the numerous people who made this all possible including my parents, coaches, athletic department and of course my team!
We are approaching Day 5 of pre-UK training and it’s finally beginning to sink in: less than one week till we touch down in London town and we cannot be more excited. Our days have been filled with two practice sessions and an education component in the middle to supplement our trip to the UK. Our daily schedule is not set, but it usually consists of a 10AM practice, 1:45 PM education and a 7PM practice. Sometimes our evening practices are substituted with a strength and conditioning session in the early afternoon, so we get more rest time for the following day. Our education lessons are taught by a 5th year Ph.D. student, Angela, who is absolutely amazing. She knows so much about England and the UK – her enthusiasm about the topic is definitely contagious!
On the field, we are looking strong and coming together as a team. After a semester abroad in Spain, it felt great to finally get back on the field with my teammates. The passes are crisp, the shots are stronger, and our chemistry off the field is evident in the way we play – it’s almost as if we can read each other’s mind and where we want the ball to go. If we’re looking like this now, I cannot wait for how we will be playing come September.
As the turf burns find their places below our knees and the blisters begin to form underneath our toes, we are subtly reminded that we are home again, not only on the field, but also as a team. I feel so incredibly blessed to not only be spending part of my summer training with them but also traveling abroad with them.
If you were to log into my Facebook the past couple of weeks, you’d be inundated with statuses about some of my friends making the NCAA tournament, photos of various college teams, and check-ins to airports across the airport. Last night I received multiple Snapchats from my parents and sister about the Final Four tournament in San Diego, where Penn State beat FSU and UNC defeated Stanford. To say that I was a little bit depressed last night would be an understatement. It was tough for me to see these teams still playing, seeing their dream still alive. What made it worse, however, was hearing that Emory made it into the DIII National Championships (which will be played tonight at 6:30). They will be facing Messiah whom they beat earlier this season. Emory comes into the National Championship game with a 15-1-7 record – their only loss coming from us, while Messiah comes in with 22-1-1 record – their only loss to Emory. Though it is difficult (to say the least) to watch these teams battle each other for the national championship, I can (and do) take pride in the fact that we beat Emory this year, so I hope they win.
Moving on… Next season has already been deemed the redemption season. There is nothing more in the world that I want than to go onto the NCAA tournament and just go out and win it.
Our coach recently sent us an email following the end of the season. She often sends us quotes or stories, but this one invoked feelings when evaluating our season. It just spoke to me
Simon Hartley who wrote “Be World Class” was published in the NSCAA Publication “The Soccer Journal”.
When I see tough players, fists aren’t banging. In fact, the toughest players I’ve seen tend not to be physically or verbally intimidating. Maybe they don’t need to be. Instead, the players who show true mental toughness tend to display three distinct qualities.
Commonly seen as “bounce-back-ability” and the capacity to thrive in adverse situations.
The ability to keep going and push to the limit.
The ability to make good decisions and execute skills to a very high standard, while “under pressure.”
For those fellow soccer players and athletes out there, I hope this excerpt proves as inspiring and eye opening to you as it did for me. My goals for next year include being a mentally tough player as defined above.For the non-athletes, I hope this sheds some light into the mental aspect of athletics which is a large part of my soccer career – especially as a goalkeeper.
Yikes! It feels like I’ve set a new record in terms of not writing in forever. My life has been a blur to say the least. My days seem to flow together with no real definite end or beginning to the day, to the point where I couldn’t even tell you what the date is. November has passed by in the blink of an eye and I cannot believe Thanksgiving is in a mere three days. The past few weeks have consisted of early wake ups, late nights, and enough work to make the inner-nerd in me cringe (and to think that I’m busy in-season). I realized after looking at my blog that I a) Can cross something off my 20 list and b) I never fully went into details about the Emory game so I feel it’s appropriate to blog about that today.
WE BEAT EMORY <—- That needed to be in all caps because that’s how I would tell you – I would be in your face and screaming it from the top of my lungs. Just going back and thinking about that moment makes me smile.
Going into the Emory game, our team knew we had our work cut out for us. The previous weekend in Chicago and St. Louis was rough on all of us to say the least. On the following Tuesday we lost 2-0 to Mt. St. Mary in a game we should have won, and then on Friday morning we tied Carnegie Mellon in a 0-0 draw that was extremely physical. I came back to recovery Saturday morning needing some TLC and a lot of ice after punching a ball out of the box (and taking out a forward) in the final seconds of overtime. The game Sunday just seemed to be a mounting situation, an almost impossible task.
So Much More Than Friends
Each of us knew that in order to even be consider for the NCAA selection bid we needed to beat Emory. It was one final push that could make or break us and to be honest I didn’t know how much “fight” we had left in us. For those who don’t follow NYU Women’s Soccer, Emory is always our big game of the year. Last year we lost to them 3-2 in over time and we have never beat them in our program’s history (they were 18-0 against NYU). Prior to our game, Emory was undefeated in both the regular season and in the UAA league for TWO YEARS. They had the longest active winning streak in all of Division III and were (at the time of our game) ranked number one in the country.
The night before Emory, my Dad flew into the city from Paris on the way home from a business trip. I was beyond excited for him to be in New York and to catch the biggest game of the year. After grabbing a quick bite to eat with him on Saturday night, I found my place between the covers and tried my hardest to get a good nights sleep. Though I got a solid amount of sleep, I unfortunately slept through two alarms, rushed out of my room, bee-lining straight towards Coles. As soon as I got there, I tried to grab my jerseys but much to my dismay the Equipment Room had lost temporarily misplaced them so I headed down to the Trainers to get all taped up and cleared to play. After changing into some warm sweats, I grabbed a banana (yum) and gatorade, then hopped on the bus.
The air was much more brisk and the sky had settled into a grayish haze over Gaelic Park by the time warm-ups began. The sound of Lion King echoing throughout the stadium indicated it was time to get moving. The battle was about to begin. I had an “okay” warm-up which is usually pretty indicative of how I usually play in the game, which made me very nervous going up against the top ranked Emory. Without going into much detail, we played two very tight, scoreless halves and entered into overtime confident we could come out with the W. Our team kept composed, and unlike our opponents we didn’t panic because deep down we knew that we were going to win. That’s what separated us from Emory.
The first overtime began and ended quickly and the second period was well on it’s way to being over when Erin Ahmed slotted a ball into the back of the net. It was unreal. I think I went into shock and her goal didn’t really register into my head until much much later (during the blackout as a matter of fact). I ran past girls who had fallen to the ground, embarrassed by their loss to us – a dark horse in the UAA and jumped onto my teammates. Hugs were endless and I think I may have lost my voice in the celebration. Like I discussed in the previous post, we were told during our cool down that class was canceled the following day because of the impending hurricane but we didn’t care. It was just a perfect ending to one of the most grueling weeks of the season.
Couldn’t Have Asked For a Better Weekend
So going back to my list, I’m crossing off #13: Break a Record. Though I didn’t individually break any of these records, our team broke one of the longest records in NYU history and I’m so proud to be a part of it. The more I move down my list and the more I set and reset goals for myself, the more I realize that it’s less about the individual accomplishments and more about the team. The team is the ultimate champion and we proved that that weekend.
We beat and shutout Emory. I’ll never get sick of saying that.