Junior midfielder Sam Mewis will be 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.
Our first road trip of the year is a casual 12-day traveling spree with four games against top ranked opponents ... And it’s been a blast so far. We left UCLA last Wednesday and flew to Chicago (Megan Oyster was very excited to show us her stomping grounds for a few hours). After driving two hours to South Bend, Indiana, we rested up for Thursday’s practice in the Waterford Estates Lodge. Indiana was a bit of a culture shock for some of us but a huge humidity and heat shock for all of us.
You would think that a 5pm game time would allow for some cooling off, but the field was a sweaty 90 degrees when we kicked off against Marquette on Friday. Much to our disappointment, we got scored upon in the first minute of the game. We were able to bounce back and win, 2-1, but we certainly were forced to grow and learn in the process. I think that game was a great experience for us, especially starting us off on a four-game road trip against challenging opponents.
Saturday consisted of a pool recovery/dance session run by goalkeeper coach Aline Reis. Fed up with our lack of energy in the pool, Aline decided to jump in with us in all of her clothes and force us to lead a dance move in the center of the circle. It was one of the most energetic and giggle-filled recovery sessions that I have ever been a part of. Best aquatic dancer on the team? I’d have to say it’s a close call, but Katelyn Rowland might take the cake.
This mention of the best dancer sparked a debate among us, so I decided to take a little poll of some "superlatives".
Most likely to show up to practice with her pants on backwards: Kylie McCarthy
Most likely to be on a reality TV show: Courtney Proctor
Most likely to be in a music video: Taylor Smith
On Sunday, we played Notre Dame and pulled out a 1-0 win with a late goal from Darian Jenkins. I think we played well and felt pretty good about our performance; the pieces are finally starting to come together a bit. Notre Dame was a great opponent, and it was awesome to see some friends. Sarah and I were fortunate enough to be a part of the U-20 National Team that won the World Cup in Japan last summer. Two of our teammates from that group play for Notre Dame, Cari Rocarro and Mandy Laddish, so reuniting with them was awesome.
We traveled to North Carolina on Monday and had a recovery session on Duke’s practice field. Alana Munger got MVP of the small-sided game, but I think Amanda and Lou were looking pretty good out there too! We took Tuesday off and did some shopping; I found a really cool Sam Cooke album for my record player that I cannot wait to listen to when we get back! Some of the girls picked Amanda out a new outfit at the mall, which she loves. We are waiting to see her wear the ensemble to a nice dinner.
The U.S. Women’s National Team played Mexico on Tuesday night, and we had the chance to watch the game together during dinner. My sister, Kristie, had the opportunity to start the game at left back and she got an assist on the first goal! It was also super exciting to watch our Bruin alumna Sydney Leroux score four goals (two of which were assisted by our other Bruin alumna, Lauren Holiday). After each of her goals, we did the eight-clap at the table. Seeing a former teammate have such great success at the highest level is truly motivating for all of us.
Wednesday was another eventful day, as we drove to the American Hebrew Academy to use their training facilities. We both practiced and had a session climbing the rock wall. Lauren Kaskie was my "belayer" - in other words, she had to hold the rope while I climbed up two rocks to a total height of two feet. I swore up and down that the section of the wall I was using was impossible to climb. Five minutes later, Annie Alvarado was at the top.
After the rock wall, we got another special opportunity to visit the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro. This was honestly a very interesting and eye-opening experience for all of us. The museum and our tour guide were informative and inspiring, and I would highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area.
Before I sign off, I want to welcome back Ally Courtnall to the team! Ally has played with us the past two years and just decided recently to continue playing soccer as she also competes for the Track and Field team. We are very excited to have her back, as she is a great player and teammate.
I also want to give a very special shout-out to Megan Oyster for her 21st birthday that she fortunately got to spend on the road with her teammates. Megan played a huge role in both of our victories last weekend, and I am sure that she will have a big impact against UNC and Duke.
Make sure to watch us take on these top-ranked opponents this weekend! Hopefully we’ll get some good results, learn a lot, and come home to Westwood on Monday pleased with our trip. See you next week!