Editor’s note: The Idaho Vandals are an MCLA D1 team, competing in the Pacific Northwest Conference. Krieg Shaw, a senior midfielder, will be contributing photos on a weekly basis all season long. Check out all of the Vandal Shots photo blogs.
Wow. What a trip. After all was said and done, we traveled around 2800 miles, spent around 50 hours in the university suburbans, drove pretty much from the U.S.’s northern border to our southern border, played, but sadly lost, three games, and all the while learned a heck of a lot about our team and each other in the process.
If nothing else, our spring break trip was a great way to play some great competition, build a lot of camaraderie and prepare ourselves to finish out our season strong.
Last week, we left off after our loss to Claremont and our trip down to San Diego. After a nice day hanging out on the beach, relaxing and enjoying that California sun shine, we geared up and got ready to play SDSU.
Luckily for us, SDSU decided to sport their red uni’s so we were able to throw on our shiny new whites. We were stoked.
We were able to draw first blood right away with a great goal by John Kopke sneaking around the crease to get a pass and put it away to take the lead. But the game stayed close and was a solid battle back and forth. We were able to execute on offense and make some key stops on defense. But SDSU also had the same tenacity as us; they have a great system in place and worked it very well. That and an outstanding performance by their goalie, William Double (25 saves), made for an intense game.
In the end, we weren’t able to keep up with a much disciplined SDSU team and fell 10-8. This was probably my favorite game of the week. SDSU was a very classy team and even after all was said and done, had no problem with bs’ing while the trainers tended to all of our game injuries.
As a team, we were really able to come together and had flashes of greatness and the level of performance that we know we can compete at.
After the game we decided to enjoy the fruits of the town and headed out to Pacific Beach to enjoy St. Paddy’s Day.
Thursday was another day of rest before our last game against USD on Friday. Most of the guys laid low in the hotel or went to the beach for a little bit. I was able to sneak away with the family and enjoyed my first SeaWorld experience.
Friday morning we checked out of the lovely Courtyard by Marriot and found a local park for a little time to loosen up and get our sticks tuned in for the game.
After a quick trip north to South Swell and some supper, we put on our game faces and headed to the gorgeous campus of the University of San Diego.
After a little siesta, we put on the dome pieces and started to warm-up on a field just a short walk from the game field.
With the lessons from Wednesday’s loss fresh in our minds, we came in with a fire in our bellies, hoping to leave Cali with a W on the trip.
We came out strong with some solid possessions and good defensive stands, but USD was able to execute on their offensive possessions and took a 2-0 lead before we were able to answer before the end of the 1st, bringing it to 2-1.
We cracked down defensively in the 2nd, holding USD scoreless and bringing the game to two a piece with a great finish by Eric Fletcher with two seconds left in the half.
USD made some great changes at half and came out strong putting up two more goals and holding us scoreless. The 4th was even worse for us with USD making some key saves and taking advantage of some defensive confusion on our end. USD’s deep bench and offensive discipline was just too much for us that night and they stretched the lead to claim a 9-4 victory.
With disappointment tasting bitter as ever on our tongues, we packed up and headed to Victorville, CA for a short rest before a long journey to Boise the next day. And with several guys finding their own way home, we were able to take advantage of the new found space in the suburbans.
After far too much time in the cars, we made it back to Moscow, sore as heck, but in one piece. With no time off before the start of our divisional games, we have to take advantage of every practice to fix what didn’t work in Cali and prepare ourselves for our short trip to Missoula Saturday to play Montana and then our first home game against Gonzaga on Sunday.
For me, spring break resonates with mixed feelings. On one end, as a senior, you want to have the perfect season, it’s your last year, who wouldn’t want that; so our 0-3 finish is pretty disappointing, knowing that they were all winnable games.
Despite what some people think, I believe every game can be won and as none of these were blow-outs I feel that only concretes that idea. But knowing the state of our team and the level at which we have come to play in only six years of our team’s existence, this was great in many aspects.
We were able to play against several disciplined teams that have great systems in place and execute them very well. We were able to bond as a team and really get to trust each other and get to know each other, which means more than some may think once you get on the field.
We were able to prepare ourselves to work to achieve a spot in the playoffs, which would be Idaho’s most successful finish thus far. And maybe even gain a little recognition and respect for Idaho along the way.
Nonetheless, it was a great trip and the only thing I would change would be to head home 3-0 and not 0-3. But as they say, [crap] happens, so we must learn from our mistakes and move forward.
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