Blog: Last Time Out w/ Candace Rushing
Monday, September 26, 2011
I am used to traveling by airplanes and sleeper buses to play conference matches. I am familiar with trekking across the United States to compete in just one game. I am comfortable with being with the Ladies- my teammates for hours on end. These are the characteristics of Centenary Athletics in the Summit League during my previous years. I am not accustomed to traveling with the Gents. Aside from the smelly feet on the bus ride home, it is definitely something I would have enjoyed throughout my years at Centenary, however. What a wonderful time we had with the men's soccer team, traveling to and from our first two conference games together.

Our road trip began last Thursday afternoon as we loaded up for our first conference games away from Mayo Field. Both the girls and the guys were excited to hit the road together. See the video below for some enthusiastic footage that I was able to capture on our way to Pineville, Louisiana. The bus left in plenty of time in order to arrive to Louisiana College hours before we kicked off. As we warmed up on the field, the Gents were able to get in a few touches and continue to relax prior to kick-off of their game.

The pre-game pep talk revolved around the idea of being 3-0 in conference, something that the Ladies Soccer program has not been in years. Just two minutes in, we were able to secure our first of three goals of the game. Junior Courtney Cleveland found the back of the net off of a pass from sophomore Tracy Lee. We continued to control the pace of the game as I too found the back of the net off of a rebound from a corner kick by junior Holden Penney at the twelve-minute mark. Finally, Lee got on the end off a through ball from Penney for our last goal of the half and of the game. Louisiana College had trouble threatening our goal, however we were not able to capitalize on any more shots throughout the remainder of the game either. Thankfully, three goals were more than enough as we walked off of the field 3-0 in conference.

After our game we hit the showers and then headed to Subway to pick up sandwiches and take them to the guys game. We arrived with twenty minutes left in the first half with a 0-0 score. About five minutes after we arrived, senior Marcos Rodriguez scored a beautiful goal to propel the Gents into a 1-0 lead at halftime. Thirteen minutes into the second half, junior Spencer Nickerson traveled almost the entire length of the field to secure the Gents' second goal of the game. Goals continued to pour in as Rodriguez found the back of the net on a penalty kick and newcomer John Finn notched his first goal of his career from freshman Gabriel Zahm. The Ladies had a great time cheering on the Gents to victory from the stands as is evidenced in the video below.

Saturday rolled around quickly and our second road trip was underway. We left the Gold Dome with the Gents at 6:30 am en route to Clinton, Mississippi to play Mississippi College. The trip there was not as eventful as on the way to Louisiana College. As you probably guessed, most of us were sleeping. When we arrived to Monroe, Louisiana we stopped for a delicious breakfast at Cracker Barrel- what a treat.

We arrived at Mississippi College again, in plenty of time to stretch and get loose before game time. We played the Choctaws last season and suffered a double overtime 3-2 loss. Memories of the game last season as well as other variables motivated us pre-game. Warm-up on the field went well. Time clicked away and it was game time. The whistle blew and Mississippi College took control of the game immediately. They played us in a Brazilian box formation, putting pressure on our center midfield and opening up our outside midfield. Unfortunately, we were not able to capitalize on any outside midfield attack. The first half was just three minutes away from completion when the Choctaws secured their first goal of the game. A lack of focus and a mental error provided MC with a perfect opportunity to score and they did. The half ended 1-0.

The second half began with better play from us, however MC stepped it up as well. We were able to create multiple opportunities by pulling the Choctaws to defend out wide and open up the middle. I was able to get on the end of a cross from Penney at the 63rd minute mark to tie the game at 1-1. Again however, a lack of focus on our part and a sense of urgency on our opponent's part made way for the Choctaws to score their second and final goal of the game just seconds after we tied it up. Throughout the remainder of the game we frantically pressed forward for another chance to tie the game, however it was not enough. The game ended and our conference record dropped to 3-1. It was upsetting to lose a winnable game, however we were proud of our effort, just not the result.

After getting cleaned up, we headed to Newks for a quick meal in order to catch the end of the guys game. The boys started off well, scoring first, however it was not enough either as the Gents ended up dropping their first conference game as well. Thankfully, the almost four hour bus ride home allowed us all to be upset over our losses as well as get over them and move on, making the end of the bus ride quite enjoyable.

Both the Ladies and Gents will return home for our next games against ASC opponents, LeTourneau and ETBU. While the road trips were fun, we are excited to come home to play in front of our crowd. This coming Friday and Saturday we play at 5:00 pm both evenings. The Gents will follow each night at 7:00 pm. Come out and support your Ladies and Gents.

Until next time...

-Candace Rushing