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Sept. 15, 2008

Captains’ Blog

Every Monday during the 2008 women’s soccer season, one of the three team captains will visit to give an inside look into what it is like to be a South Carolina women’s soccer student-athlete. Bookmark the Captains’ Blog and check back frequently for the stories told by senior Danila Monteiro and juniors Blakely Mattern and Kim Miller.

2178897.jpegDanila Monteiro 2155939.jpegBlakely Mattern 2155944.jpegKim Miller

September 15, 2008 – Dani Monteiro

This weekend we traveled to Auburn where Marquette, Auburn, Florida State and the Gamecocks were in the tournament to battle against each other to decide who would be the champions by the end of the weekend. We traveled six hours by bus, leaving on Thursday in the afternoon and getting there late Thursday night. Friday we played against a very good Marquette team, but I had something special going for me that Friday – it was my birthday. I turned 22 years old. Being the oldest one in the team, I was very pumped up for the game and ready to prove one more time that our team is a very consistent and a strong team. Playing games at home or games away does not matter as long as we get the result.

We played well from the beginning to the end. We were composed in every position and the most important thing is that we were positive and playing for each other. From our first games we found our way to win, and playing against Marquette wasn’t any different. We found our way and we scored first, putting us at a great position to win the game. They were very physical, but our team was very determined to win that battle and we did. To win and celebrate with my teammates and coaches was one of the birthday presents that I wished would come true from the beginning of the day.

The next day we had a very light day. We practiced at noon and our minds now were all focused on Florida State, a team that was ranked seventh in the nation and is a very talented and dangerous team. In the afternoon, some people went with their parents to eat and the hubbas stayed and ended up going to the best hamburger place with the best french fries ever!!! Miller, Sam, Natalie, Ali G, Stephanie (our athletic trainer), Miquel (our media relations guy), Shannon, Smalls and I went together. That was the best part of the day. The hamburgers and fries were so good that afterwards we were all in to get delicious ice cream!!! Girls, we rocked!!! And we are such fatties!

Ok. Now lets get back to Florida State. Our team was so motivated to play against Florida State. We were the underdogs, and we were loving that idea, therefore we could show ourselves that we are capable to win and do whatever it takes to beat and play for each other against any teams that are very skilled.

First half we were all in, winning balls in the air or going to the ground and being supportive, from the girls on the bench and coaches as well. We scored with a beautiful goal by Miller. Ole Mexican!!! Afterwards we scored again by Kayla that was assisted by myself. Before the end of the first half Florida State had their chance to score and they did, but we were still up a goal.

What is good about this young team is that everyone wants the best of each other. We communicate and most importantly we believe and help each other on and off the field. Before the coaches came to talk to us before the second half started, we were all together trying to find our way to continue to do our job and finish up the game strong and with confidence.

The second half started and Florida State took what we gave to them – two chances and we paid for it. Now they were up a goal against us, 3-2. But like what I’ve said, this young team never will give up on anything and that’s what happened. We found our away again and from a corner kick Idana DeCecco scored and put us in a good position again to finish up or take that game to OT. We were ready to go to OT and determined to win, but we knew that we had to be composed and do whatever it takes to make sure defensively we were doing our part as well as offensively and try to keep the ball with smart decisions.

Our coaches performed well throughout the game, making good decisions and putting the correct people in the game. They had a great strategy in how to start, finish and give us the excitement for this big game.

Both teams ended up playing an amazing match that finish as a 3-3 tie, keeping our team still undefeated and making our trip home much better. We all know that we have to still work hard this coming week; therefore we can correct our mistakes and continue to improve in the competition to win the SEC title.

It’s so good to be back home after this weekend knowing that our fans and families will be there supporting us against East Tennessee State this coming Friday at 7:00 pm after we had a very good weekend with strong results. We all know the importance of each game, playing home or playing away, but we are always excited to play at home and extra motivated in knowing that we have our hometown support and our advantage of our turf.

Good job girls this weekend. I’m proud of everyone. Keep working hard!!!

Dani 8