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College blogger: Mercy College freshman Mateja (U. Merion) makes successful homecoming

Tuesday, 16th March 2010

Categories College, Features, Girl's/Women's, Posted 3/16/10
Courtesy of Mercy College

Editor’s Note: Mercy College freshman goalie Lauren Mateja (Upper Merion) is blogging on her school’s first season of lacrosse. The following are recent blogs by Mateja, who was the winning goalie for the program’s opening game and later made a successful homecoming when the Mustangs won Game 2 at Holy Family College in Philadelphia.

Blog Five: Four Days!

February 27, 2010

Four days! That’s all that’s left until we meet Manhattanville at SUNY Purchase. To be cliché, “it’s coming down to the wire.” Words will never describe what this feels like. It’s like a melting pot of emotion—there’s a lot of anticipation, plenty of enthusiasm, some wonder, and a dash of courage.

Over the weekend, I was feeling a bit homesick. After stocking up on Lactaid milk and laundry detergent at Stop-n-Shop, Kassy and I got busy cooking for the night. I treated her, Callie, and Jackee to one of my favorite foods—cheesesteak. Meanwhile, Kassy made some amazing chocolate-chip cookies from scratch. The home-cooked food definitely filled a little void and put me at ease.

Thursday’s classes past 1 p.m. and all of Friday’s classes were canceled. Of course, both times would be when I don’t have class! Although I really love snow, it’s slowly becoming a pest. With it, our outside practices transform into fitness room cardio workouts and gym stick skill sessions. While it’s great to emphasize the basics of lacrosse, practices like this mirror the beginning of pre-season. Everyone’s eager to make passes in the midfield and take free position shots.

Whether it’s outside on the field or in the gym, I’m sure we’re going to have some intense practices over the next few days in order to prep for our first ever game on March 3.

Blog Six

March 4, 2010

If you haven’t heard by now, history was made yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday night we went to Coach Delorenzo’s house for a little team bonding dinner. Although her mom makes some outstanding food, Coach cooked up some excellent pasta. As we sat at the dinner table, we discussed what was to come in less than twenty-four hours; the pasta party helped us gather our thoughts and focus our energy for the next day.

Yesterday’s pre-game was a little hectic for me. Sleep did not come easy last night, and so I over-slept my first alarm for 8:30AM class. I scrambled to get ready and made it to class with two minutes to spare, only to sit there for the next thirty minutes waiting for the professor to arrive. Luckily I have good friends to talk to there! After class I went back to my dorm to finish some work and get mentally prepared. I put my bag together, grabbed my stick, and headed down to gym for some pre-game wallball to calm my nerves.

We arrived at Manhattanville in no time, getting right into our warm-up. During shuttles we looked a little shaky, but 3v2 looked absolutely solid. With five minutes left before starting time, we gathered for a pep talk, the announcement of the starting lineups, and the national anthem.

And then the game.

The Valiants played with a hasty tempo and were able to use their speed to blow by us. But our strategy was to set the tone and keep it—something I think we definitely accomplished. Possession was essential to the game and we used it to our advantage by settling down our offense throughout the whole game. We got off to a quick 4-0 start before Manhattanville could score about 13 minutes in. The next three minutes saw the Valiants pull within 1, putting the score at 4-3. Thankfully, Julie, Steph, Jamie and Marissa went on a 4-0 run to put us up 8-3 at halftime.

The second half was pretty similar. Brii Horn scored within the opening 40 seconds to put us up 9-3, but Manhattanville quickly answered on a 4-1 run in the next 10 minutes. We were able to then again control the tempo, and continued to increase the score to 15-7 until Manhattanville put another two goals past me, decreasing our lead to 6. Steph scored with less than a second remaining to end the game at 16-9.

No words can describe how incredible and amazing it feels to be the first Maverick goalkeeper to record a win. It kind of feels like wearing clothes fresh from the dryer—it took a lot of work to get there, but the warm feeling of victory immediately satisfies. I’m pretty happy about my performance in the cage too; I finished with 8 saves on 17 shots, a pretty decent save percentage for a first-timer.

I can’t wait to travel to Philadelphia in two days to play Holy Family for my first homecoming!

A Sort of Homecoming

March 8, 2010

Two and “oh.” Dos y cero. 2 wins, 0 losses. No matter how you say it, starting off with a winning record feels fantastic. After all of the long practices, the running, and the team bonding, we’re finally able to see all of the hard work paying off. We were able to continue a winning record with a victory away at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, PA.

Waking up at 8:30AM for a 9:30 departure came extremely fast. I rolled out of bed and packed my bags—both my equipment bag and a toiletries/clothes bag. While I was tempted to bring home my ever-growing pile of laundry, I figured I’d only take just enough belongings for the weekend. After piling into the vans, we left Mercy.

When we got close to Philly, I started texting my younger sister with updates of where we were, such as “Passing port richmond!! See you in a few” and “In university city yay!” Soon enough, the team arrived at Drexel’s Vidas Fields. Going on at the time was a game between Philadelphia University and St. Anslem College. We put our bags into a visiting team locker room, headed back outside to watch some lax and ate some lunch.

With fifteen minutes left to go in the Philadelphia-St. Anslem game, we relocated inside to prep for the coming game. Following the pre-game talks, we took the field and warmed up.

For the second time, Julie came up with the draw control. Goals by Jamie, Marissa (times two), and Julie put us up 4-0 ten minutes into the game. With about ten minutes left in the first half, Holy Family was able to score. They answered again quickly about two minutes later, but we took a 5-3 advantage into halftime.

During halftime, we knew we had to refocus our game. We were beginning to lose composure at the end of the first half, and needed to collect ourselves in order to come away with the win. After losing the second-half opening draw, the defense buckled down and refused to let HFU gain momentum. My personal objective for the second half was to keep them under 6 goals; thankfully, with the defense in front of me, we only allowed Holy Family to score two additional goals.

Also, for the second time, we used possession to our advantage. By settling the offense, we were able to keep a Holy Family at bay for most of the game.

The post-game celebration immediately ensued, and a small tailgate with fresh fruit, soft pretzels and Gatorade filled everyone’s stomachs. Mercy lax had quite a few fans present, with a few families making the drive down from Long Island. After cleaning up, I said good-bye to the girls and left for home with my family, celebrating Mercy’s second win and my sister’s second-place finish in the 100-yad backstroke at the PIAA District I swimming champs!

Needless to say, I loved being home for two nights. It was nice relief to eat some of my mom’s baked ziti, ice some new bruises and sleep in my bed once more.

The Feeling of a Loss

March 11, 2010

To win on someone else’s turf is a great feeling, but to win at home is even better. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until March 23 for another shot at a first home win.

Yesterday’s loss to Bentley was a disappointing one. There were a few bright points within the game, but for the most part, we never reached our full potential. Watching from the crease, it was frustrating to see the defense make a nice stop to only see the ball fumbled and turned over without a shot on goal.

For the third time, we opened up the game by winning the draw. We moved the ball quickly into the offensive 8-meter and rattled off a shot within a few seconds. But this hastiness proved to be costly, as Bentley’s goalie made the save and cleared the ball out. The Falcons rallied to a 4-0 lead about fifteen minutes in before Marissa opened up our scoring with a goal about halfway into the first. About ten minutes after Marissa’s tally, Jamie found the back of the net after a feed from Brianna, leaving the halftime score at 8-2.

The second half turned out to be a little brighter for us. Early on, in a span of about three minutes, Brianna, Marissa and Jamie all scored to lessen the lead to 9-5. Bentley answered right back with another two goals, stopping our momentum. Jamie and Julie would score again to bring us to 7 goals, but at the end of the game, the Falcons came out on top at 15-7.

Unlike our first two games where we dominated the tempo, this particular game was completely controlled by Bentley. They did an awesome job at keeping the field spread and efficiently transitioning the ball from defense to offense with as few passes as possible. If we were able to settle things down on the offensive end a little bit more, I think we might have had a better shot at coming away with a victory.

From a personal standpoint, I felt as if I could have contributed more. Although I had 16 saves on 31 shots, I still let in 15 goals—more goals allowed than our first two games combined.

The feeling of loss is not something any girl on this team wants to feel again…we’re definitely going to come out on fire against Wilmington this weekend!



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