Women's Soccer Blog Entry #3: Sally Tashjian

Sally Tashjian is a junior midfielder from Cary, Ill.

Sally Tashjian is a junior midfielder from Cary, Ill.

Oct. 5, 2011

CHICAGO - Hello Again Rambler Nation!

Well, it's been a long and busy week in the lives of the women's soccer team. How busy you ask? We've played four games in eight days and have traveled over 2000 miles! This is what our past week looked like: Depart from Chicago to Houston for a Sunday game against Texas A&M, back to Chicago for a Wednesday home game against Valparaiso, the next day taking off to Cleveland, Ohio for a Friday game, and finally traveling back to Chicago for a home game on Sunday against Indiana State. Whew! And of course, we can't forget about the practices every day between games.

As we were all preparing for a tough battle on Sunday against the No. 17 ranked women's soccer team in the nation, there was one fight we face first--a 2 1/2 hour flight. Now, this wasn't exactly a struggle for everyone on the team, but for my fellow teammate Tessa Daniels and I, this was a terrifying endeavor. As I sent a final farewell text to my loved ones, I held on to the arm rests for dear life as the plane left the steady, reliable ground and ascended into the unpredictable air. Fortunately, we landed safely in Houston, Texas.

The game came before we knew it. It was a sweltering 100 degrees outside with not a cloud in the sky--of course. We fought hard for the ball, hit tackles, and put our hearts into the game, but it just wasn't enough. The final score was a rough 5-0. It was definitely a harsh feeling to have traveled a thousand miles to get beat, badly. After the game, we broke down the game, recapped the things we did well, and noted the things we needed to improve on. We were ready to learn from our mistakes, make it better, and move on to the next match.

On Wednesday we found ourselves back in Chicago, on the pitch, ready for another game. This time it really mattered because it was our first conference game against Valpo. Starting off a little slow, we realized quickly that we needed to pick it up and start competing with more intensity. Foul after foul, our girls were being hit and there were no calls from the referee. As the shenanigans continued, Coach Bimbi began expressing his frustration to our linesman. Coach was warned once, twice, three times to calm down, but as the lack of calls continued, his anger raged and was eventually given a red card and asked to leave the premises. This set us off! We began playing beautifully with determination and passion, owning the game. Unfortunately, Valpo got a quick goal at the very end of the second half and the match ended. A very regrettable loss.

The next day it was time to pack up again, board the bus and head on over to Cleveland, Ohio. On game day we headed to the field, praying the rain would hold off for the evening. No such luck. The sky was spitting sideways and the wind was blowing to create a horrible, cold combination, but we took the field ready to play. As the whistle blew we didn't hesitate to compete. We quickly got into our groove and began playing like we know how. As we were fighting against the wind in the first half, air balls were not an option because they would simply stall in the air against the wind. Cleveland got possession, strung a few passes together and made the finish, making the game 1-0 at half. This was not happening to us again! We came out swiftly in the second half with the wind at our backs. Then, a pretty ball was played out of the center to our outside forward, Monica Lee, she dribbled towards the touchline and slid the ball back in the center towards the penalty spot, just as we had practiced. Just then our attacking midfielder, Kristen Papierski, timing her run perfectly, met the ball in the center and placed it in the goal. The game remained tied as we went into overtime. We battled for two more ten-minute periods fighting for that golden goal that would win us the match, but it never came.

We headed home with the tie and had to quickly get ready for our game on Sunday, against Indiana State. We were blessed with beautiful weather on Sunday, sunny skies and a cool fall breeze. We were all feeling good and happy to finally be home. We had strong pre-game warm-up and were ready to take the field. We came out solid and it quickly became apparent that we were the better team. A beautiful ball was served from the outside and Ana Michelini, our target forward, got in the box and placed the ball in the back of the net. In the second half, we wanted to improve our play even more. We began dominating the game while staying relaxed on the ball. Another perfect cross came from the flank and Sammy Gage, with a slight flick with the head, made it goal number two. The game ended and we had achieved a W, and it felt great!

Now it's been back hard at work in order to get ready for tonight's conference game in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Wish us luck!

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Sally Tashjian