This past weekend we visited Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a single game versus Coastal Carolina. You might ask why all that distance for a single game? It was by scheduled by design. I wanted to put the boys in a situation similar to what they would experience in the NCAA play-offs. Coastal Carolina had participated in the NCAA tournament 5 consecutive years (2001-2005) and their coach is on the NCAA selection committee for the South region.
Our trip started Friday morning at 10:00am by jumping on a bus to LAX. We flew from LAX to Atlanta, Georgia where we had a bit of a layover before flying on to Myrtle Beach. We arrived at 11:30pm and the heat and humidity was still very evident at that time. We eventually got checked into the hotel which was about a 10 minute drive from the campus in Conway at about 12:30am.
We let the boys sleep in on Saturday while Adam and I went and checked out the game facility and to find a place to train. We trained from 1:00-2:30pm trying to simulate what we would be feeling the next day during the game. We had a pretty spirited practice and I was very happy to see everyone make it through practice healthy. After training we returned to the hotel to shower and change before heading off to see a bit of the area and grabbing a bite to eat. After eating the boys walked around the “Broadway Boardwalk” area while a few players and I had a little game of miniature golf.
Once we got back to the hotel I held a few meetings with players going over a number of different things regarding the game the next day. As is usually the case when they want something, I received numerous phone calls from players that they were hungry again and could we go eat. There was a Subway next to the hotel that we barged in on at around 10:00pm. The boys all got sandwiches and I believe went to sleep full.
Sunday morning we met downstairs at 8:45am and went to breakfast. We ate at the “Waffle House”. The boys were a bit surprised at all the patrons that were smoking. It was a good thing the place was small and that with our large group the number of smokers was limited to the few open tables that we didn’t occupy. After breakfast the boy’s had about an hour and a half to relax, pack and get dressed for the game.
We checked out of the hotel and headed for the field at 11:45am.
Coastal Carolina Game 1:00pm
We didn’t know much about them as a team but felt confident that we could adjust based on the experiences that we had dealt with the first 6 games of the season. The weather was going to be a factor so coming out fast and aggressive was going to be very important. The boys did a great job creating chance after chance but unfortunately are finishing was a bit off. The weather forced us to substitute frequently and liberally. We ended up playing every player that we had available except Brian Lanoye (our student manager) who is presently our backup keeper. The half ended with us out shooting them 14-2.
In the locker room at half we stressed that we needed to keep playing as we were, making sure not to get complacent and that we needed to do better job with all of the chances that we were creating.
The second half started with Coastal changing and dropping back into their own half to defend. The numerous quality chances that we had in the first half must have convinced them that this would be their best approach at trying to get a result. This game plan in conjunction with us seemingly wishing that we were still back in the air conditioned locker room paid dividends for Coastal in the third minute of the second stanza.
We did a poor job defending a throw-in which allowed their top player to get in behind us leaving Tyler helpless. The goal was Coastal’s third shot of the game. Going down a goal didn’t seem right but the game is often unjust and we needed to do better.
We finally were rewarded on the score sheet knotting the game at one. Andres Jarquin took a player on getting into the box and while charging in from the left pulled the ball back across were a number of players from both teams attempted to get their foot solidly on it. Fortunately for us the service and subsequent runs did not allow for a quality clearance and we were able to force it across. The goal was scored as an own goal with no assist but in reality Andres should have gotten at least an assist for playing a good ball into the goal mouth.
We kept up the pressure and had a number of opportunities to end the game in regulation but lacked the extra bit of quality needed. Coastal was forced to play a man down for the final 7 minutes after Gabe Farfan was pulled down from behind.
The overtime period started just as we had played in regulation. We continued to press forward and were soon rewarded with a corner. The subsequent service was partially cleared in the vicinity of Skyler Thuresson who spun and hit a great ball straight into the far post. The goal was a great finish and the end of a game that we clearly dominated from the start. The shot totals were the most by any Big West school so far this year and hopefully the start of more good things to come.
Game of firsts
1st collegiate starts (Tyler Andrews and TJ Detviler).
1st career win (Tyler was only forced to make 2 saves).
1st time the two programs have played each other
1st game this year that went into overtime.
1st red card for an opponent
1st overtime win of the season (last year we only won 1 of 5 ot games)
1st time we have given up a goal and won this season
The second season starts for us this weekend with the beginning of Big West play. We will host Cal Poly SLO this Saturday at 7:00pm. Last year we split the two games each team winning at home. SLO are off to a great start with a 5-1 record. They have shutout their opponent in 5 of their 6 games. The game they lost they gave up 4 goals away to UNLV. They have played 2 games on opponents home fields splitting with a win at LMU and the loss in Vegas. They will come to Titan stadium with a lot of confidence scoring twice what they have conceded. Their top player statistically (Dan Cummings) is 28th in the country in points per game and their keeper is in the top 35 in GAA. We expect a very tough, hard fought game and will look to start league play on a positive note. We are slowly getting players healthy and hope that this trend continues as we move along the season.
We hope that you will all come out in support of the team and you will remind our opponents that they are in Fullerton. Go Titans! Bob