Road Trippin' With The Tigers

Ana Cate

Oct. 12, 2009

Auburn took on the top two teams in the SEC East in South Carolina and Florida. Freshman Ana Cate recaps the road adventure.

Thursday, October 8
Woohoo!!! Week 3 of the SEC season is about to be underway. This weekend we travel to Columbia, SC to take on the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks, and then head out to Gainesville, FL to meet the Florida Gators. We start out this road trip at the Auburn Airport, where we freshmen are in charge of making sure every last ounce of training equipment makes it on to our private jet waiting on the runway. Even with nine of us, it takes two trips to get it all safe and sound. Once everything is loaded up and Coach Hoppa has double checked that we haven't left any poor team member behind, it's up, up, and away for our 55 minute flight. I was lucky to sit next to Miss Addison Ragsdale on our short ride, where we gossiped about Pam and Jim finally tying the knot on our favorite show The Office, and before we could gossip about anything else we were touching down in good ole SC. Our bus was waiting for us on the runway with our favorite driver, Big Lar, ready to shuttle us off to the hotel. My roommate for the weekend will be Lizzy "The Hammer" Hammersly, and while she's crutching around I'm honored to be her personal luggage carrier. Once everyone is settled in, we take off for dinner at the super nice California Dreaming restaurant. My eating companions for the evening are Becca Howell, Tasia Williams, and Caitlin Torie, and the game taking over everyone's dinner table, thanks to Amy Howard, is tap ups, a game on the i-phone that has gotten everyone addicted in a matter of days. Amy and Addie currently hold the high scores, something preposterous like 923. Jenni Prescott claims to be hot on their heels though, and it seems to be only a matter of time before she catches them! Dinner was overall delish as usual, and we trooped back to the hotel to watch the new season of Grey's Anatomy and catch some shut eye before the game tomorrow.



Friday, October 9
It's Game Day! We're up bright and early at 9:15 for breakfast at the hotel before we head out to the USC fields to scope out their digs. Everyone's already pumped for the game tonight, and even some loyal Kentucky fans here for the football game wish us luck as well. After breakfast we headed out to the fields, where we played an extremely intense game of skill ladder between the underclassmen and the upperclassmen, aka the old ladies. The grandmas benefitted from some questionable officiating, but it was a good intense way to get everyone's spirits up and adrenaline pumping. Following practice we headed back to the hotel, where we had the whole afternoon to chillax and get ready for tonight. Lizzie and I watched TV and snoozed in our room until we were off to Firehouse Subs for pregame meal. Maddie Barnes, Christine Schweer, Jess Wolfe, and I ate our subs together and discussed Halloween costumes and what we wanted to be, and everyone else joked around until it was time to leave. Back at the hotel, our trusty trainer Cindy Campbell had set up her makeshift training room in 808. Pretty much everyone popped in and out while Cindy hustled to make sure everyone would be at their peak performance for the evening. As usual we were all more than taken care of, and before we knew it it was time to head to the fields.

Final Score: 0-1 in overtime. Another heartbreaking loss for us. We played hard and gave it everything we had for 98 minutes but just couldn't capitalize on our chances to end it. Yet another game to learn from, but they keep getting tougher to swallow. Amy added a few more highlight reel saves to her record but this is another game that just got away. We head back to the hotel, trying to refocus and get ready for Sunday and the Florida Gators.

Saturday, October 10
Lucky for us, we get to sleep in a little later on our off day before we make the trip down to Gainesville. The team is in good spirits before breakfast, and it seems like everyone has turned the focus away from last night and onto the big game tomorrow. After another scrumptious breakfast we load up the bus and toot away to the Columbia Airport for another hour flight. Upon landing in Gainesville, our first stop is a pretty unique diner that was the definition of old school southern hospitality, right on down to the menus that doubled as manual air conditioners they so kindly provided. I had the privilege of sitting with Katy Frierson for the meal, and we had a pretty good time trying to figure out what exactly the menu was trying to describe- in the end we settled for chicken fingers and a turkey sandwich to stay on the safe side. In the five minutes from the restaurant to the Gator Soccer Field we were doused in a trademark Florida rainshower, which conveniently jacked up the temperature another 15 degrees and made any sort of practice nothing short of miserable, so Coach took pity on us and we simply scoped it out and made note of just how teeny it was.

Following our literal walkthrough, we checked into our Hotel in the heart of gator country- literally, there were gator sightings in the lake behind the hotel- and made our way downstairs for a refreshing water aerobics extravaganza led by our very own Tammy Waine. After we got done splashing it up we got in our study groups for our favorite time of the day, study hall a la hotel. Lydia Townsend, Caitlin King, Lizzie, and I went out of our way to soak up as much knowledge as we possibly could in those two hours, and time just flew by while we were having so much fun. Dinner couldn't have been better, as we dined at a delicious Carrabbas to carb up for the Florida swamp weather we'd face tomorrow. When we were done we scooted on back to the hotel, rooted for LSU football for the first time in our lives against Florida, and fell asleep.

Sunday October 11
GAMEDAY! Pregame breakfast was nothing short of delicious in our snazzy hotel this morning, and everyone's pretty jacked to take care of biziness this afternoon against Florida. After reminding us more than once to stay hydrated, Cindy as usual took care of our various boo boos and made them go away just in time for the game. Most of us Florida natives, (JPro, Becca, Jess W, Sammy Towne, Heather Havron and I) had family and friends in attendance to cheer us on, so we were ready to do what we had to do.

At the end of 90 the score stood at 0-4. Unfortunately that didn't reflect the hard work and effort we all put in... once again, the chips just didn't fall our way. On the bright side of things we aren't out of the conference race by any means, as wild things are happening and we still have five games left. We're heading home focusing on two huge games at home this weekend- Vandy and Kentucky. Thanks to everyone who came out this weekend, we appreciate you!

Ana Cate