When we drive to or through Georgia on I-75 south, we always stop at the Georgia Welcome Center outside of Chattanooga to use the restroom. For 4 years, I have been picking up brochures to give me an idea of something to do on our day off, if we were to ever have a day off in Atlanta, especially during the conference tournament. I have brochures from the Aquarium, Stone Mountain, Coca Cola, CNN, etc. We finally get our opportunity to put my research to work. What does the team want to do? Nothing. They are exhausted, and they have missed almost a week of school. Everyone wants to study and sleep. We have enough to do at the hotel if there are a few that get restless.
After breakfast on Friday morning, we went to the field for practice. Not exactly practice but plenty of stretching and of course penalty kicks. I have a difficult decision to make about the kickers. First of all, I believe chances are slim for us to tie and go to penalty kicks again. However, I am worried about the fact that Mercer sat at our game and watched and wrote down which direction every one of our kickers goes. We tell the shooters to practice going the other way. Jayme Trocino and Elizabeth Bublis are not comfortable doing so. I take a look at the next 3 or4 kickers on my list. Two of them are freshmen - Jamie Loftis and Morgan McBride. I do not believe in freshmen taking penalties. When I was in college and went to PK's in the semi-finals of the national championship, we lost when a freshman missed her 5th kick. Jessica Rix had her penalty kick saved against Mercer last year. Against KSU, we did not have a freshman in the Top 5. I am going to keep Jessica Rix and Annie Musacchio in the Top 5. Jamie Bullock is taking herself out of the top five, and I am not sure about Jayme Trocino or Bublis yet. I have over 24 hours to think about it and decide.
After a warm practice, some rain moved in, and we had a relaxing rainy day. We went to Alex Mindel's parents' house for lunch. There was some studying, TV watching, and napping. We spent the afternoon at the hotel and went to Maddie Porter's parents' house for dinner. They invited all the parents also. Our soccer families have been so welcoming and generous with their homes. We played horseshoes, luckily without injuries. There was a bonfire with singing and roasting marshmallows. Of course, we played our animal game that we like to play. BW joined in the animal game. It is a rhythm, memory game, kind of like Thumper (without the drinking). There was lots of good food.
We had a big crowd at the dinner. With all of the accomplishments despite the obstacles this year, I had to take advantage of the opportunity to speak to this audience. I had not prepared, so I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was a good opportunity to thank the people who help me everyday - Justin, Kyle, Annie, and Danielle. Thank the parents. Thank the players. It was a great opportunity to remind everyone how far we had come in 4 years. It was a great opportunity to share and enjoy our successful season. Mercer got to celebrate at the banquet. We had not celebrated yet. This was just our 2nd trip to the A-Sun Tournament, and we have advanced to the final. It seemed to be the perfect time to reflect on our season and all of its obstacles. We survived a lack of housing during pre-season, a primitive camping trip, multiple sites for practices and games, a gas shortage, confiscation of our video equipment and peanut butter, high security, and destruction of the soccer field. So far, we had overcome all of the obstacles. There was one more obstacle to overcome - Mercer. We could do it, just like we had all season. We felt like there was nothing an opponent could throw at us that we had not seen or could not overcome.