Junior midfielder Sam Mewis is blogging for UCLABruins.com during the 2013 season. Mewis is a regular with the U.S. Women's Youth National Team and a three-time all-conference selection who has scored 49 points on 15 goals and 19 assists in her career.
It’s unbelievable how fast the entire season has gone by, and to think that we have made it all the way to the Final Four. This weekend is our last weekend of the season no matter what happens, so we are determined to make it count. We’ve all been waiting for this opportunity ever since we decided to commit to UCLA, and it feels like it has been a long time coming.
Beating UNC in the quarterfinal round in double overtime was an experience unlike any other I have had in my soccer career. The game was intense and competitive and a back-and-forth battle for 100+ minutes. There were a lot of stoppages due to injuries and the overtime periods where we were all huddled up trying to keep warm. It was in those breaks that we committed ourselves to winning, and none of us had any doubt. Even when UNC had a shot on goal from inside our 18-yard box, Katelyn Rowland made a great save and punted it out. We collected the ball, and Sarah Killion sent it through to Taylor Smith, who sped through the defenders, shot, and got her own rebound to end the game.
I remember looking back at Sarah and Megan and we all just kind of looked at each other to make sure it was real. The celebration was a lot of fun, with everyone hugging and relieved. UNC is a great team with a lot of extremely talented players and an unbelievable success rate in the NCAA tournament. We feel like we learned a lot since the last time we played them in early September, and it was this growth that allowed us to win the game.
So now we move on to play Virginia this Friday in the semifinals. Making it to the Final Four is a feat in itself, and we are very happy to be a part of the College Cup in North Carolina. But we also still have a lot of work to do and two more games to win to reach our goal of earning UCLA’s 110th National Championship. Virginia will be a tough opponent, as they play a style of soccer very similar to ours. We expect that it will be an awesome game of soccer, possession-oriented, and an excellent challenge.
We’ve been preparing for Virginia since immediately after Saturday’s game, recovering with ice baths and lots of good food. Since we stayed in North Carolina all week, everyone has been trying to get their school work done before our big weekend. Many people are missing final exams, so we have all been focused and trying to be productive during study hall. Amanda will come around to check in and make sure that we aren’t sleeping during study hall hours (Madison Tye). We have been kept pretty busy between practice, meals, studying, and film, but this tight schedule and hard work will be worth it if we are successful this weekend.
The College Cup banquet is this week, and we all need a formal outfit to wear. Many of us needed something, so we went to the mall on Tuesday to try and piece our outfits together. Kodi Lavrusky and I are participating in the team sanctioned event "No Shave NCAA’s", so our legs are considerably hairy, and we had that obstacle to overcome as well. We wandered around the mall together and managed to somehow find outfits that will be acceptable in public for the banquet. It was one of the biggest challenges that we have faced all year.
Many of our parents are heading to North Carolina to watch us play on Friday. Fortunately, being from the east coast, my parents and boyfriend were able to come last weekend as well. They drove down all the way from Massachusetts, and it was a lot of fun to have them at dinner with the team after the game. I’m looking forward to seeing them again this weekend, and hopefully the result provides just as much happiness!
Fortunately, the College Cup will be playing on ESPNU. The first game is at 5PM ET between Florida State and Virginia Tech, and our game against Virginia is at 7:30PM ET. We are focusing on our game Friday and working hard to have our best performance of the year this weekend. If you can’t make it to Cary, NC for the weekend, make sure to watch on ESPNU or online on WatchESPN. Go Bruins!