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April 23, 2012

Ashley Cuba

Senior Forward

Last weekend, we went 2-0 against our inner-city rival, Duquesne, and the St. Bonaventure Bonnies.  It was a scoreless game as we went into half-time with Duquesne.  But that changed 15 minutes into the second half when Madison Gritsch placed the ball near-post from a Kari Cunard pass, putting us up 1-0.  Then, once again, the Cuba-DelleFemine connection prevailed when Dana DelleFemine put a foot on a cross from me, furthering the score to 2-0, which we would also end the game at.

It was evident that we were tired during the Duquesne game, and we had another game coming up 2 days later against another A-10 team, so coach gave us a well deserved Saturday off. 

We came back Sunday to take on the Bonnies, but it was still prevailing that our bodies were still tired and worn down.  This factor clearly affected our game seeing as though we should have put several chances away earlier.  It was 0-0 at half, and given our tiredness and lack of quality playing, coach gave us a scenario to pretend that the game was a Big East Conference game and we needed the win to make the tournament.  We ended up coming out on top winning 1-0 after a corner kick from Alyssa Meier was directed towards the goal by Morgan Sharick, blocked by the keeper, and headed back in by Caroline Keefer.

After the game, coach was proud that we proven him that we figured out how to win by overcoming the obstacle of tiredness and the pretend scenario.  However, he and the other coaches agreed that there are good moments that we have in games, but that there is a lack of consistency, affecting our ability to play a full game.

Monday, we received the whole day off, not even meeting with our sports psychologist, and told to take a mental day and to relax.  We were back to work Tuesday, and for the remainder of the week, the focus was mainly receiving, crossing, and finishing.  We did experience the Illinois fitness test on Wednesday though, you can tell there was a lot of anxiety in the atmosphere, but together we all got through it.  And coach made it clear that he wasn’t all about the results, he just wanted us to experience the test and know what we were in for in the fall and to know where we were at in regard to our results.

Friday night, we took a team trip (including the coaches) to the bowling alley.  Naturally, it ended up being a competition, especially seeing as though Coach Greg hates to lose, but it was evident that he had some competition.  Morgan Sharick and Katie Lippert seemed to be the two better bowlers of our team and overall, we all had fun. But we had to get home to rest for our travels for Saturday’s games against West Virginia University and Ohio State University.

We traveled to Ohio State to play a full 90 minutes against two teams.  We played the first 45 against our, what used to be Big East foe, the West Virginia Mountaineers.  Unfortunately they had a breakaway early in the game putting us down 1-0, but we battled hard for the remainder of the time period. We then had a few minutes to rest and regroup ourselves before we took on Coach Greg’s previous coaching territory, Ohio State, for another 45 minutes.  The Buckeyes scored early, and continued to score a few more times, placing us in a 5-0 defeat. 

Coach made it clear that he wasn’t upset with the score, but more about our effort.  And overall, he was proud of how far we’ve come and how much we improved as a team, and as individuals, both on and off the field.

Largely, this spring has been good for us as a team, making us better in every aspect possible.  From the book, lifting, early practices, meetings, games, and even the sports psychology, this spring has been a great experience for us.  And I believe that with the continuous hard work we put in over the next couple of months, we will be ready to come back in the fall to fight.  I hope you all have a wonderful summer and as always, HAIL TO PITT!

Women's Soccer Blog: Ashley Cuba

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