"Front & Center" w/ Candace Rushing
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
After many, many games on Mayo Field, sadly, there are no more to look forward to for Kortney Causey, Catie Depew, Emily McManus, and Erika Rautio. This last Friday, my teammates and Coach Evans, fans and family, and fellow athletic teams all joined with these four seniors to celebrate their very last Friday night home game at Centenary.

Preparations began long ago in order to make Friday night perfect for our seniors. From collecting money, to shopping, making banners, and practicing for a win, we did everything we could to make the UMKC game day a day these girls would never forget. Coming in with this recruiting class and initially planning to graduate this coming spring, Friday's events turned into an experience I felt extremely invested in.

Friday night began with a celebration in the locker room full of music, laughter, balloons, presents, and letters to our seniors. Although there were a few tears and heartache before the game, by the time kick-off rolled around, we were ready to get our first conference win of the season. By halftime, however we found ourselves 1-1 with a hard-working UMKC squad.

The beginning of halftime was set aside for our four seniors for this season. All of the parents of the ladies walked their daughters through two lines of the rest of us out into the middle of the field while Allison McClain, our SID commented on their honors, accomplishments, and goals. Along with the smiles came the tears as well. Although we are all so proud of Causey, Catie, Emily, and Erika, we are going to miss not only their talent, but their friendships as well.

Even after the emotional roller-coaster halftime festivities poured on our hearts, we were able to dig deep, put the emotions aside, and come up with a win. Junior Eren Corapcioglu found the net in the first half to tie the game while sophomore Holden Penney notched the game-winner from Kortney Causey. We all agreed at the end of the game that of all of the gifts, the cards, the balloons, the plaques, that the win was the best gift we could give our seniors.

Saturday was given off to us by Coach Evans to rest our bodies and prepare for a tough Southern Utah game the following Sunday. We decided to prolong senior night into a senior weekend by surprising the seniors with rings and necklaces from James Avery on Sunday morning before the game for the seniors very last home game on Mayo Field.

Southern Utah came out hard and strong, wanting to win just as badly as we did. Although Southern outshot us, our chances on their goal proved to be much more consistent and dangerous in the end. Unfortunately, after two halves of regulation and anovertime, the second overtime got the best of us with Southern finding the back of the net for a 3-2 win. Sophomore Courtney Cleveland and sophomore Kelly Fossard stepped up for us, each scoring two beautiful goals.

We would have loved to end our home season with two conference wins; however one will have to do for this season. This past weekend, we learned to rely on our strengths and recognize our weaknesses, opening up many opportunities for multiple players. To end the season, we are traveling to North and South Dakota to face our last two conference foes. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this coming weekend as we look to end our season on a good note.

The past four to five years, Centenary has been more than fortunate to add to their student body Kortney Causey, Catie Depew, and Emily McManus. Centenary came up lucky again last year with the addition of LA-Tech transfer Erika Rautio. I have never been more proud to call four individuals my teammates and friends. Words cannot express the impact each of these ladies have added to the Centenary soccer program as well as to the student body. Not only have they touched my heart for eternity, but these girls have evidently touched many more judging by the crowd on Friday night. Thank you all, Causey, Catie, Emily, and Erika- for everything.

Before you log off, get to know the last two teammates I have to highlight. Although they are just freshmen, each have already made a name for themselves. See why below.

Justine Russell-Freshman/Shreveport, Louisiana

CR: Major/Minor?
JR: History/Political Science Major

CR: A food you can't live without...
JR: Peanut butter

CR: Favorite movie?
JR: Pride & Prejudice

CR: Dream vacation...
JR: The French Alps-to go skiing

CR: Favorite color?
JR: Yellow

CR: You are most happy when...
JR: I'm around my friends

CR: You never expected Centenary to be...
JR: So small

CR: Laughing is...
JR: My favorite thing to do

CR: If you could go on a date with any celebrity, it would be...
JR: Kellen Lutz

CR: What is something you cannot travel without?
JR: My phone

CR: Something you fear most in life?
JR: Zombies

CR: Favorite food?
JR: Ice cream

CR: You must always have _______ on road trips.
JR: My pillow

CR: If you could be in any musical, what would it be?
JR: "Wicked"

CR: If you could be sisters with anyone on the team, it would be...
JR: Haleigh Coffey

Payden Deville-Freshman/Shreveport, Louisiana

CR: A food you cannot live without...
PD: Ice cream

CR: Favorite movie?
PD: Transformers

CR: Dream vacation?
PD: Rent a cabin on Lake Tahoe

CR: When you need to laugh the hardest, you turn to...
PD: My best friend

CR: Favorite quote?
PD: "Laugh hard, smile big, dance wild, sing loud, give hugs, hang loose, have fun, shake a baby!"

CR: Favorite color?
PD: Sky blue

CR: A place you hope to visit one day...
PD: Scotland

CR: You would definitely sing ______ at karaoke night.
PD: "Baby Got Back"

CR: If you could go on a dream date with any celebrity, who would it be?
PD: Hayden Christensen

CR: If you could be one place right now, where would it be?
PD: The beach

CR: What is something you cannot travel without?
PD: My MP3 player

CR: What is something that most don't know about you?
PD: I drive a motorcycle

CR: If you were an animal, what would it be and why?
PD: A horse; they're amazing, beautiful, free-spirited animals

CR: If you could be the start in any musical, what would it be?
PD: "Mamma Mia"

-Candace Rushing