Sept. 30, 2008
by Allison Whitworth, Sr., GK
Thursday September 25th
SEC's!!!! Wahoo! Ok done with that... to start our first SEC weekend of 2008, my last, first SEC weekend, we all rolled up to the Auburn INTERNATIONAL Airport after a morning of class, very ready to spend the next four days with our closest friends.
Flying from the Auburn INTERNATIONAL Airport is the best way to travel. The athletic department fully supports our team. We fly chartered out of Auburn so that we can still focus on school and not have the drive nine hours to places such as Kentucky in one day. It also allows us to arrive at our competition in time to practice on the field we will play on so there are no surprises. The jet is always fun, and one of my favorite picture of the year so far is of the four seniors (me, Kara Kasten, Jennifer Johnson and Kori Hoelscher) standing outside the charter. Anyways, Jennifer Johnson and I rolled up, loaded our bags, and had the pic of seats on the jet. As the plane filled up the team dug into our lunches we ordered the day before from Firehouse Subs; Ashley Marks got one of the few chocolate chips cookies while Addie Ragsdale (the cookie monster) tried to get cookies from everyone. Then we sat back and relaxed on our quick trip to Lexington, Ky. Several girls popped open the most recent craze on the team which is the books series The Twilight Saga of suspense and secret love of a young woman for a young handsome vampire. There are at least four copies of the book circulating and a few people (Chelsea Yauch, Sammy Towne and Addie) have made it to the 3rd or 4th books in the series.
After arriving in Kentucky, we hopped on our big blue bus to drop our bags at the hotel before practice. Everyone is always excited to see new campuses and many of the cool areas around where we play. The juniors and seniors were reminiscing about our last game at Kentucky. Mostly people remembered the cold rain and huge overtime win off a header from Caitlin King
. Practice was just what we needed. We focused, had some fun and got loose for the game. Since as the team knows we have closed practices of top secret nature of which our manager Mary Puckett is the enforcer that's all I can say, or I would have to kill you.
Dinner was the next order of business, which we all take very seriously. At Carrabbas, our team captains are in charge of negotiating with our excellent trainer and coaching staff what we can order to maximally satisfy our hunger, but also prepare us for our games. Jenn started the table off with a chocolate milk and Julie King, Heather Havron, and I followed suit. My side of the table included freshman Julie King, redshirt freshman Heather Havron and sophomore Sammy Towne.
The bus ride home was filled with anticipate of another team tradition... Grey's Anatomy. Coach Hoppa has been known in the past to rearrange the schedule so that the team can bond over the medical drama. The season premiere was a two hour special. One room had a "party" while many of the girls just split off with their roommates and laid in bed very ready to slip off to sleep at the conclusion. My roommate, Jenni Prescott, filled me in (only during commercial breaks) of the episodes I missed from the previous season. After explaining she then read from the Twilight Saga during all the following commercial breaks. It was a busy day and a good one; everyone was ready for some sleep.
Friday September 26th
Breakfast was delicious. I especially liked the hash browns from the hotel buffet, but the morning coffee was the only thing that was going to successfully wake me up. My table (Sammy, Addie, Julie, and others) dined on french toast, hash browns, fruit and yogurt, breads, bacon, cereal and eggs. We then trooped on over to a team meeting (maybe still top secret, so sorry no details) where we completed our preparation for tonight's game. Study hall was announced by our Academic Captain Carolyn Cohen. I was blessed to have Julie and Addie along with Jenni in my room. Coach walked through each room to make sure we set our academic goals for the semester which the team tackled studying, writing papers or projects, and reading textbooks. With our marathon studying done, Jenni immediately dove right back into her book till she slipped off to what appeared to be an extremely relaxing nap. Most of team spent the midday hours preparing for the game by napping, watching tv or reading.
Pregame meal was Atlanta Bread Company, which made many of our Georgia gals feel quite at home. After getting carbs needed for the game all the pregame festivities commenced till GAMETIME!!
Well the game turned out a 0-0 tie. We are still learning how to get the whole job done, but its definitely coming. The battle through overtime almost brought a few goals with shots clanging off the posts. We got to see the parents, grandparents and friends that came to the game afterwards and headed back to the hotel thinking of how we can improve each game to get where we want to be at the end of the season.
The girls that played a lot of minutes participated in cold tub to facilitate our recovery for the Sunday afternoon game and many of the girls with parents headed to dinner with them. The rest of us chilled in the third floor lobby eating pizza and chatting. One of our coaches, Keidane McAlpine, and a few of the girls including Stephanie Fransoso and Monica had some deep discussions about life, soccer, and relationships (its always good to get the man's point of view) before getting a good night's sleep.
Saturday September 27th
Saturdays are the between game travel day, which for us this trip wasn't too bad at all. Our less than an hour flight dropped us into Nashville, Tenn., with plenty of time for napping, studying, watching football and hanging around the hotel over the course of the afternoon. We had a team jog and stretch and a mini scouting report for Vandy to help our bodies recover and keep our minds sharp before splitting up to the previously mentioned activities. The seniors and juniors spent time reminiscing about the drive from Lexington to Nashville two years ago so that the whole team could really appreciate the flight and how much time it gives us to relax as if we were at home on a Saturday. A great meal at a local Italian restaurant finished off the day and a review of the game plan put us to sleep to dream about scoring goals and blocking shots.
Sunday September 28th
Game two of SECs had finally arrived. The team had two pregame meals to try to get as much energy in us as possible before our television debut of the Under Armor Power in Pink game for breast cancer awareness. The team was very excited about our PINK Jerseys for the game, so we took tons of pictures in the lobby and on the bus headed to the game. Our main game plan was simple for this match...come home with a win from the road in the SEC. Before the game there were pictures with the Vandy team and then it was all business. After a solid warm up, we were ready to get after it. We started with a bang when we scored early on a free kick by freshman Katy Frierson. Then conceded a goal off a corner kick. The game was a battle and the distractions didn't end with the TV and wearing pink, but we also had to change jerseys during the game because the pink was too close to Vandy's white. In the end we pulled out a victory and no matter how messy it might look a win on the road in the SEC is what we took home on our chartered 40 min flight back to Auburn. WAR EAGLE!!!