We had another pretty drive through the mountains of western North Carolina on our way to Spartanburg, SC. In a week or two, it will be even more beautiful up there as the leaves change color. I thought our game against USC-Upstate lacked energy, intensity, and of course urgency. We won 1-0, and we have now beaten the 3 teams who were picked in the bottom 3 places in the pre-season poll and finished in the bottom 3 places last season. Essentially, we are beating teams that we are supposed to beat, which is an accomplishment, especially when you see that Lipscomb beat ETSU.
On Saturday, we had a spectacular drive from Spartanburg to Johnson City, TN. In Johnson City, I did not feel great about the motivating factors we were up against. Much like the game against Lipscomb, I thought ETSU would be more motivated than us because of the following reasons. Last year, we beat ETSU 4-1. ETSU lost to Lipscomb on Friday night. ETSU was 1-2 in the conference and risked starting 1-3 if they lost to us. ETSU was at home on their beautiful field at their beautiful facility. We were playing at 3:30. That is a late Sunday game for the road team. We are usually on our way home by 3:30. And, we were playing without 2 starters - Jayme Trocino and Anna Walsh.
ETSU had a 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper in the first 2 minutes. Sari came out and pressured the forward to miss. I was hoping that ETSU was thinking that they couldn't score no matter how hard they tried. We ended up being the team that couldn't score that day. We outshot the Bucs 18-11. We easily could have won that game, just as easily as we could have lost to Lipscomb. It shows how competitive these conference games are and the margin for error is tiny.
Less than half way through the conference season, we are in 1st place. The loss to ETSU was tough, but when I saw later that Mercer lost that day, it felt worse. We could have put ourselves up by 2 games and eliminated any potential for turn around this weekend. We play Kennesaw State and Mercer this weekend. We had a great practice yesterday. I know we are prepared for the weekend, and I do not feel that we are outmatched or outclassed by either team. It just depends on how we play the day of the game.
The Presidential Debate is history. When we returned on Sunday night, there were more changes on campus. The most visible additions were the dozens of trucks carrying satellite dishes parked on the remaining soccer field that was not already covered by the 25,000 square foot building that was built for the media. It looked like Belmont was communicating with aliens or waiting for a UFO landing.
I definitely got caught up in watching the local news on Monday and Tuesday. The anchors were reporting from Belmont, and they had different reporters at different spots around campus. Like the CMT awards, it was fun to see the transformation of the campus - this time with American flags, drapes, the debate stage, TV's, etc. Everyone that wore a credential had it on a Belmont lanyard. I also watched the pre-debate shows on CNN and other news channels. It was fun to hear Brian Williams say, "the Belmont debate." It was awesome to hear the candidates thank Belmont University in their opening statements. They even mentioned Belmont in the Saturday Night Live skit about the debate.
Annie Musacchio and Renee Pilch got tickets to attend the debate. I didn't realize there was a lottery to get tickets. I guess I was just expecting someone to walk up and give me tickets considering how much we have sacrificed for the debate. I thought Belmont did an excellent job hosting!