The Sunshine State
The Gamecocks headed south this past weekend to the Sunshine State to take on Florida State and Miami (FL). After playing through a monsoon during our first two games in Tallahassee last season, we were nervous when we saw possibilities of thunderstorms earlier in the week.
Despite the unpredictability of the weather, we were confident that we would be ready after being able to have a full week of practice for the first time in several weeks.
After an enjoyable team dinner, we headed to the field to start preparing for our opening game against the Seminoles. Being able to play on a turf facility like Florida State is always an enjoyable change of pace after playing on our practice fields which get ran on from sun up to sundown.
Although we we’re excited to be playing at a great venue, we knew we didn’t wake up before the crack of dawn and ride on a bus all day to just site see. Playing a high-powered team like FSU, we realized we needed to come out quick and not fall behind before the game barely began.
The Gamecocks struck first blood when attackman Will Scott found the back of the net within the first few minutes of the game. As expected, the ‘Noles came right back to tie it before we could blink. Mid-way through the first quarter, Ryan Norton notched his first tally of the game, putting the ‘Cocks ahead once more. As the first quarter was winding down, Florida State tied the game again with just 18 seconds left.
Fortunately for the ‘Cocks, midfielder Brad Harris’ specialty is scoring goals with little time left in quarters. Harris found twine with just one second left to put Carolina ahead at the end of the first quarter.
After our late first quarter heroics, the Seminoles found the back of the net seven times in the second quarter to carry a 9-6 lead into halftime.
Both teams swapped scores for the remainder of the game, but FSU’s second quarter run proved to be the difference in the game.
U of Miami
We took on Miami (FL) Saturday afternoon on a day without a single cloud in the sky. Going into Saturday we wanted to make sure we came out quick and 100%.
It sounds cliché, but four of our five losses last year came on two different weekends during back to back games (Florida State-Georgia; Wake Forest-NC State). The team showed no signs of a hangover from the FSU setback Friday night.
We got off to a quick 5-0 lead and never looked back. Everyone was able to see the field throughout the afternoon which ended with our first victory of the season.
We’re on the road again this weekend as we travel north to face Virginia Tech Saturday afternoon.
The VT game is always a much anticipated game for us given the fact that we both draw heavily from the Mid-Atlantic region. Even though we are playing in Virginia, it will be the closest place we will play to the majority of our families back home.
We’ll need a strong week of practice before our clash with the Hokies. Three of the last four meetings between us have been decided by just one goal.