I have a few videos on my phone that I couldn’t upload through the blog app for some reason, but I wanted to post them, so here they are. The first is the team’s walk from the gym to the field before the match, and the second is the player introductions right before kickoff.
Dinner’s done and we’re on the bus for the long ride home. Unfortunately this trip is ending a day earlier than any of us had hoped. But hopefully the players enjoyed the experience and learned from it.
Hope everyone enjoyed the blog. Thanks for reading.
END: Royals lose a tough one. One chance late, but Christina Akalski’s shot from 23 yards out just missed the upper left corner. Not sure what else to say other than it feels like a game we could’ve won.
I have to get some work done now. We’ll be going out to eat before heading home, so I’ll check in in a bit.
11:23: The Endicott free kick almost curls in the far left corner, narrowly missing the post just before Endicott players could get there. The Gulls are clearly very good at their set pieces, particularly from those angles like on corner kicks.
11:26: Manzo is being helped off as Carolyn Warner checks back in. Endicott will have a free kick from the right side just outside the box when play resumes.
11:26: Megan Manzo is down for Scranton after being whistled for a foul deep down the right side. She’s holding her left ankle as Coach Murphy and the Middlebury trainer head out onto the field to check on her.
12:45: Ellen Walker’s free kick from midfield falls right to Russo’s feet in the box, but she had her back to the goal and couldn’t turn for a shot and her pass to a teammate was cut off by an Endicott defender, stopping another threat by the Royals.
15:40: More pressure for the Royals as Bacon plays the ball in the from the left side, but Christina Akalski’s shot is wide left after she was forced to rush it with a defender on her hip.
17:40: Bacon, Gilmartin and Vitolo all return. Casey is jogging lightly, testing out that right ankle on the sidelines.
18:50: Russo hits the crossbar on a blast from 22 yards out. It’s a shot we don’t see her take often from that far out and she ripped it, but it just didn’t dip enough.
20:32: Russo gets deep on the right side, but her cross sails out. Time starting to work against the Royals as Coach Murphy gets set to send Kelsey Bacon and Megan Gilmartin back in. Erin Casey is getting her ankle taped and may return.
22:15: Endicott draws a free kick three yards outside the box on the left side. The initial kick hits the wall, but bounces right to an Endicott defender, whose shot sails high over the cross bar. Erin Allen checks in before the goal kick for Scranton.
25:35: Royals draw a corner kick and the Endicott goalie comes out and completely whiffs on the catch, but the ball sails through the box to the far flag, where an Endicott defender clears it.
26:20: Casey apparently was fouled on that play as Ellen Walker took a free kick when play resumed, but nothing developed.
26:30: Erin Casey is up on her feet and walking off. She flexed her right ankle a bit, but appears to be hardly limping at all. She has to come out, so Jess DePinho has checked in. We’ll see if Erin is able to return.
26:30: Erin Casey is down and play is stopped. I didn’t see what happened as Casey cleared the ball downfield and Sam Russo had a chance to beat the keeper to the ball. After the keeper gained possession, the whistle blew and I turned back and saw Casey down. Coach Murphy and the Middlebury trainer are out on the field with Erin.
29:30: McKenna weaves through six Endicott defenders to get deep in the box and her shot is deflected out for a corner. But Ellen Walker’s corner kick sails right to the Endicott keeper, who catches it cleanly.
33:30: Shannon McKenna and Sam Russo check in for Kelsey Bacon and Megan Gilmartin, who had remained in the match to start the half.
35:00: Endicott has been more aggressive, playing the ball deep down the middle a few times. I guess those are the type of aggressive chances you can take with a 1-0 lead.
37:00: Scranton corner kick to the top of the box, where Erin Casey plays it in to Gianna Vitolo, whose shot rolls to the right post, where an Endicott defender easily clears it.
42:30: Royals with some early pressure, but Gianna Vitolo’s cross sails out of play to end the threat.
45:00: We’re underway in the second half.
HALF: Endicott 1, Scranton 0. The Royals clearly dominated possession in that half, but in soccer, all it takes is one chance and Endicott capitalized on its only corner kick. Now we’ll see if Scranton can regroup. I’ll start a new post for second-half updates.
3:20: Megan Gilmartin plays a long ball into the right side of the box and Sam Russo and the goalie arrive at the same time, but the goalie controls the ball and thwarts the chance.
5:45: Carolyn Warner checks in on the backline for Kaitlyn Greeley.
7:00: Scranton corner after a free kick by Erin Casey is headed out of play. Michaela Arbus’ corner almost curls in on its own and ends up at Megan Gilmartin’s feet, but she was almost along the line and her cross back across the box sailed long.
10:30: Kelsey Bacon checks in for Christina Akalski. Michaela Arbus also came in at that last stoppage.
13:15: Endicott goal. That came almost out of nowhere. The Gulls forced a corner after the left outside midfielder got deep in the box. The corner kick sailed into the box to the foot of a Gulls player, whose shot had plenty of power into the right corner.
16:20: Russo gets free down the right side and crosses the ball through the box, but Gianna Vitolo’s shot from an extremely tight angle hits the outside of the goal.
17:10: Erin Allen replaces Kelly Egan at left outside mid.
18:50: Another corner for the Royals after Christina Akalski gets free down the right side, but Endicott handles the corner cleanly.
20:10: Sam Russo crosses the ball into the box from the right side, but a defender clears it away for a corner. The corner leads to a long shot by Kaitlyn Greeley that sails a foot over the crossbar.
21:40: Megan Gilmartin replaces Ellen Walker in the midfield for Scranton.
22:20: Endicott with its first good possession in 10 minutes, but nothing materialized inside the 30.
26:30: More good possession in the box for Scranton, but no shots. Coach Murphy encouraging the team to shoot when they have the opportunity.
30:00: Royals get the first corner of the game after Kelly Egan’s shot is deflected out. The corner leads to a shot from the top of the box by Ellen Walker that’s easily saved by the goalkeeper for Endicott.
31:30: Scranton still holding the possession edge, but nothing doing in the way of shots.
37:40: Sam Russo with the first shot for the Royals, but it sails wide left from the top of the box.
39:30: Endicott with the first good chance, but a shot from the right side sails just wide.
40:00: Royals getting constant pressure with the ballon the box often, but no shots yet.
45:00, 1H: We’re underway.
I’ll use this post for first-half updates. The newest updates will appear at the top. Kickoff is set for approximately 1:45 p.m. It’s a picture perfect day, temps around 50 with a cool breeze.
Coach Murphy and I finished up the coaches meeting a little while ago and are watching the teams warm up for the first game. The team is having breakfast at Rosie’s with Coach Matlack and Coach Cordier, and will get here around 11.
If it’s anything like the last two years, the team has their game faces on for breakfast and will be focused when they get here.
It’s a gorgeous day here, so it should be a great day for a soccer match and hopefully a win.
We’re back to the hotel for the night after having dinner at a restaurant called Mister Up’s. was a nice place with very good food. We sat on the porch, which was fully enclosed for the winter with portable heaters, so it didn’t feel like we were actually on a porch. Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal, but once they were done eating, all eyes turned to Coach Murphy to see if there would be dessert. When the waitress handed her the dessert menu, the team broke into cheers. What’s an NCAA trip if you don’t have dessert, right?
The girls are in for the night with an 11 p.m. in-your-room curfew. Coach Murphy and I have to be back at the school for a 9 a.m. coaches meeting. The team will head to breakfast at 9:45 a.m. with Coach Matlack and Coach Cordier.
NCAAs seem like a regular occurrence for this bunch, which it is, as the team is making its fourth straight Tournament appearance. But only seniors Kaitlyn Greeley, Katie Hennigan, Kelsy McAnelly and Samantha Russo know what it takes to win an NCAA game, having won a first-round match in 2010. Add in the unfortunate result in the conference championship last weekend, and that makes me interested to see if these girls feel like they have a little something to prove tomorrow. If they do feel that way, it’s not showing through any kind of nerves. They seem relaxed and ready. We’ll find out if that’s the case tomorrow.
Time for me to work on some women’s basketball work (the Lady Royals lost to fourth-ranked Montclair State 86-75 tonight) before calling it a night.
I’ll catch up with everything in the morning. And remember, if you can’t make the trip in the morning, I’ll have updates right here on the blog throughout the match.
Those are the words of one of the Middlebury administrators who met us when we arrived. It sure felt that way after the last hour of the ride was on a twisty, two-lane road.
Anyway, we’re here safe and sound. The team is getting ready for practice in 45 minutes. Here’s a look at the campus after the coaches and I took a short walk.