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.
Before our games last week, we had the opportunity to work with Steve Shenbaum, a former actor who has developed a program designed to help bring teams and companies to a higher level. With Steve, we worked on communication, confidence, trust, and leadership and had an absolute blast. It was so much fun and the time flew by. I don’t think we stopped laughing the entire time, and the whole experience really brought everyone together before our weekend of games. The issues that we discussed and the games that we played were so pertinent to our team, and we all learned so much. We owe a big thank you to Steve for his positive influence!
Also before our games last weekend, a big group of us went to cheer on the water polo team as they beat USC in overtime. It was an awesome game to watch, and as always, great to be there to witness a UCLA team beating USC. The game was back-and-forth the whole time, and even though none of us know too much about water polo, it was a great atmosphere and a lot of fun.
Pumped up by water polo’s big win, we took on Kentucky on Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament. We won 3-0 with a great team effort against a quality opponent. Caprice Dydasco netted her first two goals of her career, and luckily, her family was there to see both goals! Courtney Proctor scored as well, putting the game away in the second half.
At this point in the post-season, recovery is so important, especially with Friday-Sunday games, so on Saturday we had a light practice and played some soccer tennis. Taylor Alderete and I struggled a bit as partners and wound up playing Katelyn Rowland and Cassie Sternbach in the loser’s grid ... but we finally figured it out and won ourselves second-to-last place. Hopefully we get another chance to redeem ourselves. Congrats to Sarah Killion and Annie Alvarado (no surprise there) on winning the whole thing.
Sunday was the Sweet 16 round against Stanford, a big rival and rematch. Going into the game, we felt prepared but knew that it was going to be tough. Stanford knocked us out of the tournament last year, and this year we were able to win a close game, 2-1, during the regular season in double overtime. This game was between two talented teams, and we knew that it would take more than talent to win. We came out strong, and Kodi Lavrusky tucked away a beautiful goal early. Taylor Smith scored another one late in the game, but it was a fight to the very end. Stanford is a great team, and we felt like the competitive game prepared us for what we have next.
We are in North Carolina now to play UNC and hopefully avenge our only loss of the year. We left early on Wednesday morning and are celebrating Thanksgiving as a team in North Carolina. We play in the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday at 5PM Eastern Time. It’s going to be a battle, but we feel ready and would love nothing more than to stay in North Carolina for the week to play in the Final Four.
Happy Thanksgiving from UCLA Women’s Soccer, and be sure to watch us play in the Elite 8 on the UNC website.
- Sam Mewis