First Take with Courtney Alexander

Sept. 20, 2006

What a ride this season has been so far for me and for anyone else playing a collegiate sport!

We maintained an undefeated record (5-0) and tied the best record for women’s soccer at the University of Miami! What an accomplishment, but reality took its turn on September 8th on the Florida Atlantic University soccer field.

The game was intense for 90 minutes. Both teams were going head to head in this in-state rivalry game. The game was set when we took a corner kick and the ball somehow found the net, and we thought the game was over. Unfortunately fate intervened and FAU scored in the last two minutes of regulation.

This sent the game into a dreaded two 10-minute overtimes. The first overtime was complete with shots from both sides and our high pressure maintained at a constant, overwhelming pace. The score was tied 1-1 at the end of the first overtime.

Coach Tricia called us into a huddle. Everyone was bent over from exhaustion, yet, we were focused. Focus — the central feeling any athlete feels in overtime. The team was focused and ready. We were ready to keep our undefeated record.

The second overtime disrupted our focus and a breakdown seized the field. FAU ended the game with a successful penalty kick in the last minutes of the second overtime.

No one can explain or understand the feeling of failure. The complexity of this feeling is only understood when experienced. We felt that our season took a dramatic turn for the worst. I have learned that after a loss the only relief comes from unity among my teammates.

A quote that stuck with us after that loss was, “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.”

After that loss, we hit the practice field hard. Our practices consisted of nothing less than self determination and self control.

Our next game came against South Florida and was a huge in-state rivalry and ended the non conference games. USF was our fiercest opponents in non conference play. They beat a ranked Marquette team and were planning on beating us.

The game took place at Cobb Stadium on September 15th. The tension on the field during warm up was apparent and we knew what we were up against. We knew that we could not afford another loss going into conference play. The ACC was wide open due to the losses suffered by highly ranked teams.

We warmed up and right before the game began the lightning sirens went off. We walked back to the locker room disappointed that the delay would put us off even longer from our game.

After about an hour we arrived once again on the field ready to play. The sky was the darkest I have ever seen a night sky and added to the already dramatic scene.

The game began and our team started the first half successfully, but not to our full potential. Yet, in the second half desire, passion, integrity, and honor were demonstrated on the field. Our play reflected our desire to win an ACC championship, our passion for the game of soccer, our integrity as a team, and our honor to play for the University of Miami. We beat USF 1-0 with “world cup goal” headed in by senior captain Kristen Chapman.

Wow, what a relief! To go 6-1 in non-conference play is an optimistic start to hopefully successful season! I would like to say I am absolutely honored to play for this soccer team, for these coaches, and for this university. I would not want to represent any other team than the one I am on today!

We head off to conference play next week against NC State and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill!