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 34 points on 12 goals and 10 assists in her career.
It was another week of laughter as Courtney Proctor teamed up with the coaching staff to play a practical joke on the team. Heading out to practice on Friday, we were each given a mouth guard in the hope that it would improve our oxygen intake. The mouth guards were ridiculously big and covered half our face, so we all thought the coaches were crazy and willing to go to any length to improve our fitness. As we (dramatically) struggled to adapt to the new training gear, spitting, drooling, coughing, gagging, the coaches informed us with serious faces that this was going to help us in the long run. Occasionally, they even snapped at us to stop goofing off and focus for practice. We all took the task of wearing these things very seriously until Amanda admitted that the whole thing was a practical joke. Courtney saw the mouth guards in the training room before practice and called Amanda to propose the joke. Courtney and the coaching staff got quite a laugh out of their little charade, but I’ve vowed to get them all back. I was singled out during the whole thing because of my excessive dramatization of how uncomfortable and ridiculous they were. As you can see in the picture, I wasn’t too happy when they told us it was all a prank.
Alana Munger, our super-senior goalkeeper, has been busy all week attending her med school interviews. She’s visited prestigious programs like UCSD and USC for the interview stage of the application process. Alana is an exemplary student-athlete and has set such a high standard for not only the members of our team, but for all Bruin student-athletes at UCLA. We are all very proud of her academic accomplishments and want to wish her the best of luck at her interviews! I know for sure that I would want her as my doctor someday. Whatever medical school Alana decides to attend will be lucky to have her!
As for the rest of us, the start of our classes has kept us busier than usual. Fall quarter officially began last Thursday, and the books were a new addition to our travel gear as we flew to Arizona on Saturday. The traveling was quick and easy, and we arrived in Tucson in time for a delicious dinner at a restaurant called Sauce. Our director of operations, Sam Greene, has been on point at picking out new and unique places to eat on our trips! Sunday we awoke to some nice, dry Arizona heat. We played the University of Arizona at the peak of the day and were able to pull off a 2-1 victory against the Wildcats. Taylor Smith played her heart out, getting a goal and an assist while dominating the attacking third of the field. The game wasn’t our best performance, but it leaves room for improvement moving on in Pac-12 play. I think that with our refocused commitment at practice this week, we are prepared to perform this upcoming weekend back at home.
A player on the Arizona team, Lexe Selman, has been battling leukemia. We had the honor to play on the same field as her on Sunday. We want to wish her the best of luck and are keeping her good health in our thoughts. Watch her inspiring story:
With just a one-game weekend, we had a good recovery practice on Monday and a much-needed day off on Tuesday. However, we still chose to meet as a team in order to re-establish our goals and address some internal details. The meeting was led by Belden Long, Cassie Sternbach, and Chelsea Stewart, who participate in the Student Athlete Mentors (SAMs) program here at UCLA. We all got to make signs for the front of our lockers, which have had empty display cases in them since I have been here. The art project was therapeutic, and we all were happy to share materials and pictures in order to add a little more personality to our locker room.
I want to give Max Bertman, our athletic trainer, a shout-out for dealing with the lot of us this week as we all battled the horrors of the common cold. Personally, I pestered him all week, complaining and insisting that I was on my death bed. No one ever said working with women’s soccer would be drama-free! Thanks for being so patient with us, Max!
We continued with productive and positive practices Wednesday and Thursday as we prepare for Washington State and Washington this weekend. I’m looking forward to playing some more tough Pac-12 competition and seeing what our team can accomplish. Make sure to catch both games on the Pac-12 Network if you can’t make it in person! See you next week. Go Bruins!