Nov. 17, 2011
WASHINGTON - Senior Kelly D'Ambrisi (Trumbull, Conn./Lauralton Hall Academy) provided an insider's view to the women's soccer team at Georgetown throughout the 2010 season. This entry, which also appears on soccerbanter.org, was sent prior to the Hoyas game in the BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals at West Virginia.
"My senior class has never made it to the BIG EAST Final Four. In the history of our program, Georgetown has only made it once before. We arrived in beautiful Morgantown, West Virginia on Thursday afternoon to the Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa. Sounds legit right? We weaved through the golf course until we reached a resort at the top of the hill. The resort was what I pictured... in the hills of West Virginia, nestled alongside of Cheat Lake.
"We checked in and headed to the field to train. The WVA field was enormous; I was exhausted after practice from trying to cover all this ground. The field is actually only four yards wider than our home field but it makes a huge difference. West Virginia's stadium is beautiful, kind of reminds me of Notre Dame's set up and although WVU can use the width and size to their advantage, I was excited to play on a premier field. After our practice, there was a rush to get back to the Lakeview resort. The night before the semi-final games, the conference hosts a banquet to honor the four teams competing and also to announce the All-BIG EAST teams.
"At the banquet, it seems surreal as fellow female athletes dressed in "business casual attire" appear completely unrecognizable, at times awkward and out of character from the foes on the field. I, personally, am a prime example of the awkwardness; going from shorts that go down to my knees, baggy t-shirts, mid-calf socks and sneakers every day of my life...to a skirt, dress, or something more formal is a shocking difference and a sight to see. The night of the banquet I rocked some great black slacks and a conservative blue top. Emily Menges wore a sun dress... in October. Gabby Miller, who is quite fashionable and actually looks normal in nice clothes, was complemented on her outfit multiple times by people on the other team... Kind of wish she would have helped us not look like idiots but whatever. We managed the best we could in the time available to be somewhat presentable. The banquet facility arranged the seating by team, obviously, can't have any fights breaking out before the big games. We were starving, and unfortunately the "junior captains" in charge of the sending us up to the buffet line, of course, picked my table last. We hit the buffet pretty hard; pork, stuffed chicken breasts, pasta salad, fruit and bread... it was all pretty good. Going up for thirds, on a mission to get more of that pasta salad and bread, I accidentally almost trucked a girl getting out of her seat to receive an award... oops! Anyway, this year, Georgetown had a great showing in the All Big East honors. Sam Baker and Daphne Corboz made third team All BIG EAST. Ingrid Wells, Camille Trujillo, and I made first team. This is the largest number of Georgetown players to be recognized on the All BIG EAST teams in any one year; it's great to know that we are respected among the coaches in our conference.
"After the banquet, we searched the resort and spa for ice cream... which was nowhere to be found. We got to bed early, nothing on my mind but West Virginia. The excitement and nerves I was feeling the night before the game compared to last year's feelings before the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds in the NCAA. Our game was the later game at 5, Louisville and ND played before us at 3:30. On game days, all I can think about is the game... I can't do school work or be productive at all. We are normally pretty busy with film, meetings, and meals, but if we have down time I usually take naps or lay in the hotel bed looking at the other team's website. I am one of those players with a routine on game day; everything from what I eat, to what I wear, to when I shower is a routine. I wouldn't say I'm superstitious, I'm a "little-stitious," I'm not alone here, even teammate, Emily Menges, has some of the same exact patterns which need to be adhered to. It's weird, annoying to keep up with too sometimes, but I have to do it. It differs for home games and away games because at away games I have to follow the schedule set by our coach. Anyway, for breakfast I always start with cereal... I'm a skim milk fan along with the majority of my team and when we asked for skim milk at breakfast in West Virginia, the woman looked at us like we had three heads. She was said, "Skim milk? I don't think we've ever gotten that." This was a small set back... at least we still had Cheerios and 2% milk, so I survived. For lunch, we always get Panera on road trips as our pre game meal. I get the same thing every time but we were informed during film that we would be having a buffet at the hotel instead of Panera. Another speed bump, but I figured I could find some toast and chicken/turkey or peanut butter somewhere in the hotel... and low and behold I was able to make myself a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Even though this was not the normal routine for me, it worked out just fine. I normally have a cup of coffee before games to get me going, and I drink plenty of water so the dehydration aspect of coffee really doesn't affect me during games. I made coffee in the room and it smelled like burnt popcorn... so I opted not to put that anywhere near my mouth. At this point I realized nothing had gone as planned, but I didn't even care I was so excited and nervous about the game.
"When we arrived at the Dick Dlesk stadium, we watched a bit of the ND/LU game and LU was winning! This was great news, I wanted another shot at LU after we played our best regular season game against LU, but didn't get the win we deserved. Before I knew it, the whistle blew and the game I had wanted to get to all season was underway. Again, WVU scored off a corner in the first five minutes...which was the main thing we were trying to avoid: corners and early goals. After this goal, we responded well and started playing our game. We scored before the half and went into the tent at half time tied 1-1. We were confident we could get another goal; we had dominated WVU in the end of the first half. Meanwhile West Virginia, the hard-nosed team that they are, knew we had the better play in the end of the half... they were angry I'm sure and showed it in the way in which they came out in the second half; fast and furious. The game got away from us very quickly... WVU scored one not too far into the second half, then another soon after. Now down 3-1, a comeback would be tough but certainly not impossible. Before I knew it they scored again, making it 4-1 ...and again 5-1. At this point as difficult as it is to have to play 15-20 minutes down 5-1, we kept going. I realized this was the last time I'd be on a BIG EAST field and I was going to go all out the full 90 minutes. We continued to give them trouble up front and played hard until the end. This loss was devastating, knowing that this was my last BIG EAST game, last BIG EAST tournament; that winning the game was within our reach and sights at the end of the first half, and that we were so close to the final game. As painful as this loss was, I know that all my teammates and I left everything on the field, and didn't stop fighting until the last whistle. It stung for a couple days but we had to forget about this and move our thoughts onto the NCAA tournament."