Over the next several weeks, various UCSD student-athletes will be contributing their thoughts and experiences from Fall pre-season camp. Check back each day to see how camp is going and the teams are progressing. Each athlete will give you their own perspective of what its like going through camp as we head toward the start of the 2010 season.

Monday, August 30, 2010
Brian Donohoe - Men's Water Polo

Hell week is finally over! After 10 days of grueling workouts, the men's water polo team has officially completed its 2010 fall "Training Camp," better known to the players as Hell Week.

After an opening four days that consisted of two three-hour practices at the pool, we began our notorious beach workouts on Monday of last week. We visited places like Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach, the Mission Point Bay, Coronado, and the Ocean Beach Pier. Each of these workouts was similar in nature, starting with a variety of dry land exercises usually aimed at increasing our core strength. Immediately following this warm-up routine, our coach gathered us all together at the water's edge, drew a starting line in the sand, and gave us a set of directions that usually consisted of a soft sand run and a swim out to some kind of buoy and back to the starting point. From the instant he gave the "Go!" it became an all-out competition to see who could complete the run/swim combo the fastest. Depending on when each player finished, a certain number of guys were given "punishments" for not making the proposed "cut." When the punishment was over, our coach simply drew a new line and we did it all over again, basically until he was satisfied that we were all truly exhausted for the day.

Although the beach workouts are of an all-out intensity from start to finish and are probably more physically demanding than anything we do in the pool, they give us a much needed break from the monotony of the first four days of Hell Week. Any guy on the team will tell you that the beginning of our time at the beach definitely speeds things up and gives some sort of glimpse of the end of the week. Also, because the workouts are based solely on conditioning, it gives us a chance to focus on developing our water polo skills during our three hours at the pool every morning. We were able to work on our 6-on-5 situations, ball handling, shooting, and team defensive/offensive schemes as we prepare for our opening games next weekend at the Triton Invitational.

Now that I've finished my second complete Hell Week as a UCSD Triton water polo player, I can honestly say that it's the most physically and mentally draining thing I've ever done in my life. Sometimes it gets pretty difficult to motivate yourself to get up every morning and keep doing it. But after our morning workout on Thursday, our assistant coach, Matt Ustaszewski, gathered us all together for a short team meeting and handed us each a paper with two quotes on it. The second one really hit home with me because it seemed to address this very problem of self-motivation. It went, "When nothing seems to help, I go and look at the stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before." It was a great reminder as to why we put ourselves through the pain and torture of these practices: because at the end of the day, it's this kind of work that's going to win us a conference championship. And so I can confidently say that, after finishing an extremely challenging 10 days, this team is poised to do great things this season. The talent was always there, but the mental toughness is now exponentially stronger, and we, as teammates, have all come closer together through the pain and sweat of another Hell Week.

Go Tritons!

Brian Donohoe is a sophomore from Upland, CA. He is an undeclared major at Muir College.

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Alyssa Newcomer - Women's Soccer

After a summer spent away from each other the women's soccer team has finally been reunited with a few new faces. Although there were no graduating seniors from the 2009 season and there were few open positions on the squad, our team has picked up nine new players. Our first week together was spent mostly on the soccer field with two practices a day; one practice at 7:30am and the next at 1:00pm. However, it didn't take us long to start connecting as a team off the field. Whether it is team dinners, nail-painting parties, or shopping, our newly put together team has had little trouble spending time together on and off the field. This type of tightly knit relationship is important to our success on the field and establishes the mentality that a team who wins together loses together as well.

This year's squad is especially unique because we returned every single one of our starting players. This means that every starter that steps on the field has played wearing a UCSD uniform before and knows the standards we hold ourselves to. As a team, we have acknowledged this one of a kind situation and have realized that we must take advantage of it because not every team has this sort of privilege. At the same time it is important that the returning players continue to lead and be examples for the new players on the team, maintaining a winning mentality and keeping certain traditions alive. We are glad to have each and every one of the new members of the team because they each offer a personality of their own to the team.

We had our first scrimmage together on Tuesday against Point Loma. As expected, the pace of the game was jittery and we were full of nerves but that was brought under control and we began to get into a rhythm. Our first goal of the season was scored by Sara Bolton off of a Hayley Johnson corner kick. After this goal was scored, it felt like all emotions of a first game were set aside and we started to play how we all know how to play. Later in the second half Alexa Enlow played a left-footed cross into the penalty box finding Annette Ilg for the second goal of the game. The final score of the game ended being 2-0 which was rewarding to all of us. I felt that this scrimmage was a perfect way to start off and cannot wait to see what the rest of season will bring. Our next scrimmage is on Friday against Mt. SAC. We are hoping to maintain and even increase our level of play, helping us lead up to the beginning of our regular season opener next week.

Alyssa Newcomer is a sophomore forward from Aliso Viejo. She is a human biology major at Warren College.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Brianna Alban - Cross Country

Whew, what a long week! After five days of time trials, strength tests, and long runs, tryouts are finally over! Even though the week was physically and mentally exhausting, it has been great to see all the hard work my teammates have put in over the summer to prepare for the season.  Although this was my fourth year going through the tryout process, I still felt anxious and nervous for the 2- and 2.5-mile time trials and the strength test-nervous about not only how I would perform but also how my teammates would perform.

Throughout the week, our new teammates-Kamilah Foley, Kaity Malloy, Jessica Chang, and Emily Vaughn-have shown us that they are valuable additions to our team. With the first two-mile time trial at Mission Bay, the freshmen fit right into the mix of the team and helped the pack-time (from the first to seventh runner) remain quite low. After the 2.5-mile time trial on Friday, Aaryn Kobayshi, Elena Inouye, and Jessica Chang showed that they are not only strong on the grassy inclines and flat portions of Mission Bay but that they can also dominate the hills, sharp turns, and dirt trails on our home course. This season we will be striving to develop a racing team that can work together to have a small time gap between all of the scoring runners. With a full roster of 21 women, we are excited to start training and racing together.

Now that tryouts are over, the team is in the midst of our 10-day training camp in Mammoth Lakes. With early wake-up calls and arduous trail runs, training in Mammoth is tough but it helps build our team as a whole and makes us stronger runners. After running in the morning, we usually ice-bath in a nearby creek and then head back to the lodge to eat and relax a bit before our afternoon workouts. Even with working out twice a day in Mammoth we still find time to have fun and enjoy the outdoors by going on hikes, mountain biking, and exploring downtown Mammoth (mainly for the gourmet caramel apples!). At night, we plan games and activities to help the newcomers get to know the rest of the team better. Many of our alumni try to come up for the weekend to reunite with the team and re-energize us as we get to the last few days of training. As the 10 days come to a close, we are usually worn-out and tired; at the same time, we feel closer as a team. When we return to San Diego we are always excited to start the racing season!

Both our head coach Nate Garcia and our assistant coach Cynthia Castro share in our excitement for the cross country season to start. They have put together a group of young women who have a passion for the sport and who are willing to work hard to reach the team's goals. As we head into the season, we are looking to score well at the Conference Championships (in the top two) and the NCAA Regional Championships (in the top six) in the fall. The Regional Championships will determine which six women's teams will continue on to the National Championships in early December. With a talented group of returners and newcomers, we are looking forward to what the season will bring. Our ultimate goal is to compete at the National Championships and show the nation what UCSD Cross Country is all about!

Brianna Alban is a senior from Thousand Oaks, CA. She is a physiology and neuroscience major at Warren College.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Lance Curtiss - Men's Water Polo

Triton Men's Water Polo season is off to a "brutal" start. Our annual "hell week" started August 19 and will continue until September 4 which is the first day of the Triton Invitational Tournament.

It is hard to say what the single toughest thing we have done to date is. On the first day, we had a brutal swim set that only one person was able to complete in the allowed time. Ever since then, once the warm up is over, EVERYTHING is an all out sprint. On day one, we swam around six miles, ran close to four, did a lot of leg strengthening, and to my surprise, actually got the polo balls in the water and passed for a little while. All of the hard work we are putting in is geared towards our conference championships in November. Our team should be very successful in the fall campaign if we continue to put in the hard work now and throughout the season.

Our coach keeps telling us "quality over quantity"-if he thinks we are working hard enough we will do less of a certain drill and move onto the next. The toughest part is to overcome the fatigue (which sets in very early) and give 100% for the entire practice

After our first few practices, my body has been successfully broken down. Given our three-hour double days, I feel I could speak for all of my teammates in saying that these past few days have felt never-ending. It is hard to say exactly what we have been doing  because everything seems to blend together and once a practice is over, I cross it off the schedule and start preparing for the next.

One of the greatest things about going to school in San Diego is the weather and especially the beach. This is something that we take full advantage of starting the second week by having daily workouts at a different beach every afternoon, ranging from Scripps to Coronado. I am very excited for the beach workouts because they provide a new workout environment and it's also nice to have a break from spending six hours a day at Canyonview Pool.

As far as how the team looks, I'd say we have a ways to go, but it is nothing a lot of practice and conditioning won't solve. Competing with Division I schools, we don't have the luxury of huge players. For example, USC has a seemingly endless wave of players over 6-4 and 240 lbs, where we have a team average of 6 foot and 180 lbs. So to compensate for our lack of size, we are preparing to out swim opponents and perfect our team defense to stop offensive threats. Some key contributors to the fall campaign will be Ryan Allred and Bryce Madsen both starters from last fall with over 30 goals. Kuba Bednarek and Brian Donohoe will be big factors in the 2-meter position on defense and offense respectively. Newcomers Josh Stilling and Dane Sequeria have been showing speed and determination and figure to contribute to this fall's campaign.

Lance Curtiss is a junior utility player from Santa Barbara, CA. He is a mechanical engineering major at Roosevelt College.

Monday, August 23, 2010
Kristin Armstrong - Women's Soccer

It is almost officially week two of summer pre-season training...and the team is looking very good!  The first couple days of tryouts included mostly playing in scrimmages, but after the final cuts were made, the practices were mostly running.  Brian (McManus) told us that he is trying to get us into proper shape in a short period of time, but is also pretty pleased with fitness level already!  To be honest, I'm really relieved that we're not behind in our fitness and I think that this is partly due to the week spent before the day we reported (Aug 14th).  There were captain-led practices that included running, ball-work, crossing, finishing, shooting, and essentially, team-bonding.  None of these practices were mandatory, but all of my teammates were there and working hard.  I know for a fact that on one of our days off, Gabi Hernandez and a few other teammates were working on shooting.  That inspired me to work on my own with goalkeeper footwork and diving, and also practice my goal kicks and punts with our new goalkeeper, Sarah Garland!  It's amazing how incredibly inspiring my teammates' work ethics and dedication to next season are!  

Having said that my team is one of the most hard-working and passionate teams out there, I'd also like to say that they are probably the goofiest team as well.  I love how they know when to be serious, but they can also crack jokes and have plenty of fun.  Brian, our coach, has an interesting sense of humor as well (although I admit it is difficult sometimes to determine whether or not he is joking sometimes ha ha).  In fact, after the Wednesday practice (when our team was finalized), we were all expecting to run.  We were thinking of tryouts of the years before and trying to predict what was going to happen.  It's kind of like a tradition how we try to gauge how much Brian is going to run us and we guess what kinds of runs we're going to do, since he never tells us what we're going to do until we get there.  For example, if Brian tells us to bring running shoes, we all cringe because we're not running on the grass (meaning a track workout or a long campus run with hills), and if there is a game on Saturday, Monday or Tuesday is going to be heavy running (typically) so we can recover by Saturday...some of my other teammates like Annie Wethe, Sarah McTigue, and Sara Spaventa tend to be the most accurate on the running (I'm just a goalie, I sit and hope we don't run at all, which doesn't happen a lot ^_^).  Anyhow, Brian surprised us all and decided to have an easy day to recover from the scrimmaging earlier that week.  We all played the "header game", which is pretty much like volleyball only with your head.  Everyone got really into it, and it was lots of fun!  We then ran a TON more than we expected to the next day, which was pretty brutal, but we survived!  J

All of my teammates are improving, and I can say the world about each of them, but since I only have a few paragraphs, I'll just talk about a few.  The captains (Lisa Bradley, Sarah McTigue, and Annie Wethe) are performing spectacularly, as always.  They each are a very important source of inspiration to myself, to the incoming freshmen, and to all of my other teammates.  They each work so hard and offer such encouraging, uplifting comments for everyone.  I can only speak for myself, but I know that being a goalkeeper on a team is pretty stressful during tryouts.  The captains put it into perspective for me and tell me to keep working hard, keep my head up, and have faith in myself.  I can't thank them enough for their words of encouragement. 

My other teammates are playing well, too!  Annette Ilg is doing well, has a great work ethic, has some unpredictable shots and is very good at knocking in rebounded shots.  I've gotten to know Sarah Garland (our new goalkeeper) and we get along well too!  We push each other in goalkeeping practices with Greg (LaPorte), and encourage each other when our teammates are shooting on us.  I'm really looking forward to working with her all season!  J  I'm also really impressed with how hard Jessica Wi works even coming back from her ankle injury last spring season!  She's always running after balls and has so many tricks up her sleeve...both her and Shelby Wong are fun players to watch.  My defense is playing well, as always (I LOVE THEM), and I wouldn't have looked half as good as I did last season without them.  They save me so much!  Alyssa Newcomer is outstanding, and the freshmen and all my other teammates are looking pretty good, too!

We're all already really excited to start up season...our entire team returns (we haven't lost any seniors) and we can only improve from here on out, which I know we will!  We play in a very difficult conference and really want to upset some of our rivals-including Dominguez and Cal State LA which were ranked ahead of us in the national preseason polls.

Kristin Armstrong is a senior goalkeeper from Anaheim, CA. She is a psychology major at Muir College.

Friday, August 20, 2010
Kaitlin Potter - Women's Volleyball

The practice structure this year is working very well in that each position has an hour each day prior to the afternoon practice to work on skills. Much like individuals in the spring, this mini-practice allows each player to focus and grow within their position. Middle Hitters, for example, have been working with the setters on faster slides and quick sets. Rather than being on our third step when the ball is in her hands, we are on our fourth making it a more difficult hit to block. In addition, we have learned a new way to cover a block, giving us a greater chance of picking up more difficult balls to cover. The team is also learning new techniques in areas including defense, blocking and hitting.

Behind the scenes our team has already had a Subway/Catch Phrase night and we are planning on having team dinners every Thursday night. A group of six will cook dinner for the rest of the team and we will do fun things such as play games, make shirts and watch movies. We are also working on a warm-up CD, where each girl suggests a song which will then be played before every home game. Everyone is so excited to be back on the court!

Away from practice the "newbies" have been staying in the Marshall apartments during pre-season and one upper classman stays with them for two nights so that everyone gets to know each other a little better. It's a really great way to welcome them to the team and for the older girls to bond with the younger.

Some interesting facts about our team are:

Brittany Lombardi is related to the great football coach Vince Lombardi. Mas Shibata, our assistant coach, was an assistant coach at Stanford in 2009 and coached for 12 years at Pacific. Coach (Ricci) Luyties played in the AVP and won the U.S championship in 1991 and when playing at UCLA won four NCAA titles. After graduating, UCLA retired his jersey and placed him in the Hall of Fame.

Kaitlin Potter is a senior middle hitter from Huntington Beach, CA. She's a theater major at Marshall College.

Thursday, August 19, 2010
Shane Michiel - Men's Soccer

The 2010 UCSD men's soccer preseason unofficially began last Saturday night with the much-loved Cooper fitness test. The Cooper test consists of running two miles around the track in under 12 minutes. The coaches were not allowed to be present at the test because actual preseason did not start until Monday morning. The Cooper test was proctored by none other than the Senior and Groomsman-to-be in my wedding next February, Josh Jackson (aka JJ, aka J Twice), and I must say, he did a spectacular job.

The first day of our official preseason was Monday. We started the morning off with a team meeting where our Coach, Jon Pascale, filled us in on what to expect this first week. Immediately following the meeting, we were out at the track again running another fitness test. This time around we ran the three-mile repeat test. This test consists of running one mile in 6 minutes and 30 seconds, taking a 3 minute break, running another mile in 6 minutes and 15 seconds, taking another 3 minute break, and then running a third mile as fast as you can under 6 minutes. My favorite part about day one was that right after finishing the run, we had a two-hour practice, and then a second two-hour practice later that day. Gotta love preseason two-a-days!

Our practices have gotten off to a great start this year. Everyone is working very hard and giving their all in practice. We have a great group of returning players coming off our best spring season to date and a great group of freshmen coming in who will greatly improve the quality and depth of our team. So far, we have been playing pretty well together but we definitely have room for improvement.

As far as the structure of our practices goes, we have been doing technical work, possession, and 7 v 7 games in the mornings followed by 11 v 11 games in the afternoon. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings we lift for half an hour in the weight room before practice. After only three days so far, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I am extremely tired and sore but also excited for the season to be starting.

Off the field, everyone is getting along great. The freshmen and some of the returners are staying in the Marshall Apartments. Everyone is having a good time just hanging out and enjoying their time off from the running and the grind that is our preseason. The other night, the guys living on campus had a big pasta party with the girl's soccer team, which I heard was pretty fun.

That's pretty much it though. When we aren't playing or running most of us are sleeping or relaxing and watching TV while talking about how practice went and what we need to work on. We all know that the team we have right now has a lot of potential and that it is going to take a lot of hard work throughout this preseason and into season in order for us to reach it. 

Shane Micheil is a senior midfielder from Mission Viejo, CA. He is a political science major at Sixth College.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Alex Corliss - Men's Cross Country

We're midway through try out week and all the athletes are running very well.  We have a solid returning group, having only graduated two from last year's team as well as a group of five new freshmen who all posted impressive times from high school.  These include Ben Rich from Fremont, Chris Steinke from SD, Justin Wright from Chino Hills, Kellen Levy from Fresno, Mario Flores from La Mirada, and Peter Buscheck from Orinda. Also joining us this year is junior transfer Daniel Cooper also from Chino Hills.

Mario was lucky enough to be from the same town as Anthony Heredia, a current junior on the team, so they were able to train with each other periodically during the summer.  Consequently they came in second and third in the two-mile time trial portion of the try out on Tuesday with times just over 10 minutes.  Though 10 minutes is not a great two-mile time on a track, given that the course winds through Mission Bay's vast lawn, 10 minutes is a respectable mark.  Matt Lenehan, a sophomore, took first, showing a solid summer's worth of following the training.

The summer training is a nine-week progression of mileage before try outs that
is meant to provide a solid base for those competing throughout the season.  The training is not designed to give fast times at this point in the season, but will set up each athlete to perform at their peak when the mileage goes down and the quality work outs ramp up gradually as the season moves on.

We're still two weeks out from our four-mile opening meet on our home course and will have a heavy session of training between now and then.  Out of the 22 men trying out, 16 will make it and travel to Mammoth on Monday the 23rd for heavy training at high altitude.  These 16 will be determined based on their overall performances this week. 
The four-mile time trial on Friday is an important determining factor because it's closer to the 8 and 10k distances that we will compete in during the season, but the training runs and the two-mile time trial are very important factors as well.

Overall we're looking to improve on our places in the conference and region from last year.  We have a stronger recruiting class than we've ever had before and a group of returners who have a lot more to show as long as we stay healthy.
It finally got sunny out today so after our morning workout everyone either napped or went to the beach for a bit before the second run in the afternoon.  This is the best part of the year as far as most of us are concerned.  We all just run and ice bath in the morning and roll out our legs and relax the rest of the day-except for those with jobs.  But for everyone else, it doesn't get any better than this.

Alex Corliss is a junior long distance runner from Santa Barbara, CA. He is a Mechanical Engineering major at Sixth College.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
ROXANNE BRUNSTING - Women's Volleyball

Hi All!

Sunday was our first day together as a team. We all met up at 7am for a meeting with Vanessa Yang from the Athletic Training Staff and our Strength and Conditioning coach Myles Cooper. In the afternoon we got all of our gear. It was like Christmas! We got two new pairs of shoes, one pair for the court and one for weights and running. We also got new shirts and gear to practice in, now we just have to wait for our new embroidered back packs, jerseys, and warm-ups. We all can't wait. Sunday night we had a team dinner, catered by delicious Subway. It was a good night to get to know each other over games like Catch Phrase. But we all packed up early to rest up for our first day of training.

Today was the beginning of double days, and it started at 8:30am with the run test. The entire team successfully passed the test which was awesome! Its great to start off summer training knowing that everyone has done their part to be in shape and be ready to go, because pre-season is just around the corner. Our afternoon team practice was from 2:00 to 5:00pm. Of course, it being the first practice together, it took everyone a little bit to get used to everyone else's playing styles and the coaches' styles. It was a really good practice overall and finished with intensity and some solid competition. Now with 18 girls on the team, the dynamic of practices has changed a lot. It's exciting to see such high levels of competition this early on, and we are all excited to get ready for pre-season. Every girl brought it today, and that includes all seven newcomers. Even every one of the new girls came in ready to compete with a positive attitude, which is super important. After practice, everyone made sure to take care of themselves, which meant drinking plenty of water, icing ourselves (shoulders, backs, knees), and even taking ice baths, so that tomorrow we are ready to go.

These first couple of days have also been a good opportunity to see our new coaching staff in action, and get to know them a little bit. Our head coach, Ricci Luyties, has been a big change from our past coach Tom Black. Change is always hard to adjust to, but it has been exciting and challenging in many ways. We also have two new assistants, Mas (Shibata) and Nicole. Both know a lot about volleyball and have been positive and very helpful with feedback. Mas also has an endless supply of video clips that feature any and every volleyball game or player that you want to watch. We have been watching video before practice to get to know what it looks like to be the best. It has been a good pump up before practice :).

Heading into season we are all committed to the team, which means that there will be plenty of team bonding! I am really looking forward to our weekly team dinners. Six girls each week will host the team with a freshly cooked, healthy meal to prepare for the weekend games. We also have a birthday coming up. Tomorrow, Tuesday August 17th, Hillary Williamson turns 20!! Happy Birthday! Tomorrow, in celebration, we will all be waking up early to lift weights at 8am, followed by small groups practicing from 9 to 11, and then wrapping up the festivities with our team practice from 2 to 5 :).

Outside of the gym, the freshmen have been living in dorms at Marshall College which is a short walk from RIMAC. Since most of the day's energy has been spent in the gym, at night and on our breaks we have been resting, eating, and getting to know each other. All the rest of the time, we have been asleep. And I guarantee we have been asleep for the vast majority of our down time. But all of it is worth it, because not only do we love to be in the gym every day to practice, but we love each other and we are having fun!

Roxanne Brunsting is a junior outside hitter/libero from Chula Vista. She is a psychology major at Roosevelt College.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lisa Bradley - Women's Soccer

Everyone is very excited to be back in San Diego and reunited. Coming into this week, the general feeling of the team is probably ecstasy because we get to touch a ball for the majority of the time. Since the NCAA changed the report dates, this year we had to report back a week later than usual. For us, our first week is extremely important for many reasons. We are expected to come back from summer in shape and ready to work. So the first week is used for intense conditioning and playing.
Since we didn't have that week this year, as a team, we decided to come back a week earlier and work ourselves. We spent the past week running and playing until our legs refused to move any longer.  Ice baths after each practice were necessary if we wanted to be able to walk the next morning. We actually coined a new word this week that probably should be published in the Webster's Dictionary. The word is "funning." Funning: (verb) to fake run. One moves their arms as if they were running but moves their legs at a very slow jog pace. Funning is necessary when one has no more energy and is so sore that they can no longer run properly. Funning usually occurs at the beginning of warm up or during recovery runs during games.
On Thursday, it was finally time for a break and a bit of fun. So all 22 of us made the trip to Disneyland. Half of us got free tickets from the Disney Give-a-Day Get-a-Day community service project. We were there from 8am-11pm. We travelled in a group of 22 and got to take pictures with Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Tiger and went on every awesome ride. We also went to California Adventure and had to literally sprint through the park to make the Aladdin Show. We were dodging strollers, little children and their parents, but we didn't care. We had to be on time for this Aladdin show for a few reasons: 1. Because it was inside and air conditioned. 2. Because we could sit down. 3. Because we all love Aladdin. Our trip was concluded pretty much when the parks closed and we deemed our trip the most successful ever-complete with a workout.
The team is feeling pretty anxious and excited to start the season. After ending last season losing in the NCAA Regional Finals in PKs, we have worked hard all winter, spring and summer to prove to everyone what the real outcome was supposed to be last year. Our chemistry has been amazing and everyone came back in good shape. Things are rolling along well.
This year will be approached differently than last year because we have more experience and depth. Returning everyone is great because we all know how each other plays. We know what runs to make and where to pass. Now, we just have to get the freshmen acclimated. We are excited to have a new class and excited to see what they will add to the team. We had an intense summer workout packet as well as an intense first week back. We have already worked extremely hard. Our attitudes and work ethic push each other to not just get through each workout but to push ourselves to our full potential. It will be nice to cut down on the running and start touching a ball.
I feel extremely lucky as a senior to be on a team like this. I couldn't ask for anything more. Great coaches and great teammates. I have the most confidence in all my teammates on and off the field. It's very rare. No one is content with just doing their jobs. Everyone wants to go above and beyond. No matter what the outcome is this year, I know that it is not in my teams' cards to ever give up. We have a fire in our bellies and I can't wait to see what our full potential is this year. I feel like I am blessed because I have technically already had a "senior" year because I was the oldest on the team last year. But this year being my last, there is a little more to play for.

Lisa Bradley is a senior midfielder from Martinez, CA. She is a human biology major at Sixth College.