Playing at UAB Friday night is probably the most competitive season opener I've had at Belmont. They were 2-0 with 2 shutouts and ranked #7 in the region. Their opponents so far had been Texas A&M, Alabama, and Ole Miss.
I was worried that if UAB got an early goal and got the crowd into it, we might not respond well this early in the season. Once the game started, I thought we might be the team to get the early goal. I was very pleased with how we played for the first 20 minutes of the game. I did not see visible signs of nervousness or anxiety. We worked together. We had possession of the ball a lot, and we created a few scoring chances. We did not leave ourselves exposed in the back. We certainly did not dominate the entire half and defended a lot in the last 15 minutes of the first half, but I thought it was a very good first 45 minutes to start the season.
The second 45 minutes was no worse. Our depth began playing a factor when Lydia Wright and Dani Stolt combined to give us one of our better chances to score. We began wearing down their right back, and LP got behind her, but the goalkeeper denied her low shot to the corner. UAB scored in the 79th minute even though we had pressure on the ball and good shape in the box. They definitely created their own scoring chance. We did not give them their goal. Although it was a 1-0 loss, it was a good start to our season.
It was great to have alumni and alumni parents at our game.
I am looking forward to Sunday's game against UT-Martin. I hope we build on this performance, and I hope our depth can play a bigger role on Sunday.
After practice on Saturday morning, I learned that my grandfather passed away. I had just gone to see him before pre-season started, because my family did not expect him to make it through the month. Ernie was 87 years old and a World War II Veteran. I was still on campus when I talked to my mom. The 8 or 9 players who took ice baths were the first people I talked to when I got off the phone. My players are good to me!
Ironically, after practice, I had 2 text messages. One was from my sister and it said, "Call mom." The other was from the assistant coach at Vanderbilt, and it said, "Ronnie is in labor." My good friend Ronnie Woodard, the head coach at Vanderbilt, gave birth to her son, Thomas, Saturday afternoon. C'est la vie.
Movies: The Replacements and Pocahontas