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Blog: Tearing Down the Net w/ Tate McIntyre
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Hello everyone, welcome back to Tearing Down the Net.

After a tough loss last week which ended our chances of an undefeated first season in the ASC, this weekend was crucial for the team as it would measure how well we are able to rebound from such a disappointment. LeTourneau and East Texas Baptist each presented their own unique challenges, so a solid week of practice was crucial in preparing for each of our incoming foes. 

Friday went just as any other Friday goes when we play at home: class in the morning, lunch, maybe a nap, then early arrival at the locker room to begin individual preparation for the game. While our team is usually rather loose, the combination of a poor result in our last game against Mississippi College and a sloppy week of practice contributed to a slight deal of tension that was obvious throughout the locker room. We also were suffering from the loss of our starting goalkeeper Robbie Ramirez due to a red card, but we were confident in the ability of Chase Duet to step in and play well for us. 

The bit of tension actually benefited us in warm-ups, as there was a greater amount of focus and attention to detail in our final preparations for the game. After the Ladies finished their game and vacated the field it was time to face LeTourneau, who we desperately wanted to beat after they embarrassed us in the preseason last year. The game started quite well for us, as we enjoyed most of the possession and scoring chances. However, after about fifteen minutes we seemed to hit a lull, as LeTourneau took the route that our last few opponents had in focusing on stopping us rather than trying to score themselves. Despite their efforts, Adam Ghaemmaghami broke through with his first goal for Centenary from Ryan Christianson's header after the ball was crossed into the box. The rest of the half was a struggle, as LeTourneau built some momentum and fired off a few shots of theirown. Our lead was doubled right before half-time as Brandon Heim scored his first collegiate goal from Ben Barcelona's pass. It was a good way to end the half but we knew we were capable of more and we set out to score a few more goals in the second half. 

Surprisingly, the offense just wasn't there in the second half as we were not able to score any more goals and even were outplayed by LeTourneau for stretches of the game. We were very solid defensively however, and if it wasn't for a deflected goal late on we would have kept our fourth shutout in conference play. Even though we won, we were certainly not satisfied with the performance and set our sights very high for Saturday's game against East Texas Baptist.

Saturday consisted of most of us relaxing, watching TV and other sorts of things that allowed everyone to stay off of their feet. As game time drew nearer, the gradual migration to the locker room took place and soon enough everyone had arrived and the music playing and yelling and other pregame locker room shenanigans began. Rather than being tense before the ETBU game, we were all rather pumped up since we knew we hadn't played a complete game for 90 minutes the day before and everyone was ready to leave it all on the field. Warm-up time came and went, and it was time to complete the sweep of our two-game home weekend.

We came out on fire against ETBU with a flurry of early chances capped off by Spencer Nickerson's goal after only six minutes of play from Marcos Rodriguez' pass. We continued our possession but failed to create shooting chances for much of the half. After 28 minutes, however, Adam Ghaemmaghami was able to slip the ball through to John Finn who slid the ball past the goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead. We went into halftime up 2-0 for the second straight game, but this lead was much more deserved than the one we had on Friday night, despite being out-shot in the period. Alarmingly enough though, this game mirrored Friday night's game in another way: for the second straight day we came out and played quite poorly after going to the locker room with a lead. The second half saw ETBU with a number of scoring chances, and although we stretched our lead to 3-0 on a phenomenal free kick by Aaron Bergman, the players we had on the field at the end of the game lost focus and let ETBU score in the 80th and 90th minutes, with the game ending 3-2 in our favor.

Moving on for the rest of the season, we need to learn to close out games by scoring more goals rather than sitting back and hoping we can stop the other team. We nearly let two leads slip away this weekend and made both games too close for comfort through our lack of focus. We do take positives from every game we play though, and although we did not play up to our full potential for two complete games, we did win them both and that is nothing to sneer at. I would like to congratulate Chase Duet on his first collegiate win and a nice performance in goal Friday and also Adam Ghaemmaghami and Brandon Heim for scoring their first career goals. We have two more home games this week on Thursday and Saturday and I hope to see everyone there. Thanks for reading!

-Tate McIntyre