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 two-time all-conference selection who has scored 30 points on 10 goals and 10 assists in her career.
The end of our long road trip had its ups and downs, but we learned so much from our games against UNC and Duke last weekend. On Friday, we took on a fast, high-pressing and talented North Carolina team and came away with a 1-0 loss. Katelyn Rowland played incredibly for us in goal and had a career-high seven saves during the game. Though we didn’t come away with the win, I think that playing such a challenging team will be good for us down the line. We learned a lot but had to turn around to play Duke on Sunday. This time we came away with a 2-1 victory over another excellent east coast team.
The games last weekend were a great test and experience for us- it’s not often that we get the opportunity to play against teams from the east coast. A big Thank You to Duke Women’s Soccer for their hospitality during our week-long stay in North Carolina. Also, a huge Congratulations to Rosie White, Megan Oyster and Katelyn Rowland for making the Duke Classic All-Tournament Team!
There were a lot of parents who came last weekend as well, so we got the chance to hang out at a barbecue on Saturday in between the games. While the parents helped cook and prepare food, the players got to meet and hang out with families outside by the hotel pool. We all had a lot of fun, and it was really cool to watch some of the girls interact with their parents and get to know everyone a little bit better. I met Belden Long’s parents for the first time. Belden was my roommate last week, and I found it really funny how similar she is to her father. It’s so awesome to have such great parents that are supportive of the team.
Another great opportunity that we had in North Carolina was getting the chance to work with Donna Fishter. Donna is a specialist who works with teams to help improve relationships, leadership, and performance. The whole team met with her a few times and discussed what it means to be a Bruin and how best to achieve our goal of winning a national championship. The leadership council also got to meet with Donna separately to discuss methods of effective leadership. One of the most helpful things that I took away from meeting with her was the quote:
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” -Jim Collins
Upon returning home to L.A., we finally reunited with the 11 girls that unfortunately couldn’t travel with us. We have a really big team this year with 33 girls, which is so awesome for the program. The only downfall is that not everyone gets to travel on road trips. We missed the girls who stayed behind, and getting to practice as a team again has been relieving. It’s not the same without all the girls!
A couple of weeks ago, Tayler Dragoo got the opportunity to travel to Switzerland to train with the full Swiss National Team for a week. She went to train over there earlier this year with the Under-20’s and got an invitation to the full team camp as a result. This is a huge honor, and we are all very proud of her! It’s such a cool experience for the rest of us to get to play with some full national team players. Rosie White plays for New Zealand, and Chelsea Stewart plays for Canada. They each attended the last Olympics in London with their countries, with Chelsea winning a bronze medal.
We got to celebrate two more birthdays this week with Courtney Proctor and Crystal Shaffie! We celebrated with Courtney (20) on Saturday during the cookout and at a delicious hibachi dinner, and then with Crystal (21) on Tuesday at Amanda’s for dinner. Happy birthday to both of them!
So we are all getting back into the swing of things in Westwood. A few of us are finally finishing up our last summer school classes. I’ve been taking an online Shakespeare class as a requirement for my English major, and I am definitely excited to be almost done with it. This Friday we take on San Diego State University at home, with the boys facing UC Santa Barbara afterwards. Both games should be competitive and fun to watch, so we are hoping for a big crowd for the doubleheader!
It’s great to be back after such a long trip, but we still have work to do this weekend. That’s all for now; see you next week! Go Bruins!