The journal of the girls trip to North Carolina for a pair of friendlies and tours of the University of North Carolina and Duke campuses comes to it’s conclusion. This portion has been kindly provided by a pair of seniors, Kate Spooner and Courtney Shaw.
Tuesday This morning we left the hotel at 6:45 am to go watch the UNC Women’s Team train. For their training, the girls scrimmaged each other for two 20 minute halves. Something that surprised us was that there were boys on the roster for practicing purposes. These boys were put on the team to increase the speed and intensity of the play. There also were some US National Team players at the session. We saw Cindy Parlow and Cat Reddick. Kendell Fletcher accidentally kicked a ball into where we were sitting and gave one of my teammates a bloody nose. It was pretty funny and a great photo op with a National Team player!
After the practice the assistant coach, Bill Palladino showed us around the athletic part of campus. We got to see Finnley Field, the soccer building, and the actual field that the UNC women’s team plays on. Once we finished touring the campus, we walked through the pit and onto Franklin Street to do some shopping. Another famous face we saw was Tyler Hansbrough. Some of the girls tracked him down and got a picture with the basketball all-star! When we got to Franklin St. we split up into smaller groups and looked in all of the shops.
At about 2:00 pm we left UNC to visit their rival, Duke. At Duke we walked through the student center and did some more shopping. Then we went into the Duke Cathedral. After walking through the cathedral, we proceeded on to the Duke basketball stadium. We spent about 45 minutes there taking pictures, sitting on Duke’s bench, and walking around on the court. Duke also has botanical gardens on campus, so we walked over to the gardens to walk around and look at all the beautiful flowers. By this time most of us were tired of walking and very hungry, so we ended our day with dinner at Cracker Barrel and headed back to the hotel.
Wednesday This morning we got to sleep in until about 10 am. Some girls went to the coast with their families, and the rest of us got to go to the Durham Mall. We arrived at the mall at about 11:30, where we checked in with our groups, then split up to do some shopping. The mall was huge, there was an indoor portion, and then there was an outdoor area that was more home stores and restaurants. We spent the entire day at the mall shopping, and in my case napping outside and eating. Coach Howard and a couple other dads came back to the mall at 5:30 to pick us up (they had been golfing). We got back to the hotel at about 6pm.
Thursday and Friday Today is our last day in North Carolina. We checked out of our hotel at 11am and drove about 15 minutes to Kerr Lake to kill time until our game. We had a big picnic lunch by the lake. After we had finished eating most of the girls ventured around the shoreline to see what the scenery was like. A couple of the girls started a game of soccer tennis next to the water. After the ball got kicked pretty far into the water, about four girls dove in to play games in the ICE COLD water. Others spent the day laying out, flying kites, or playing soccer tennis. We left for our game against Northern Nash at about 3pm.
The game started at 5 pm. We won 7-2.
We left for Rolla at 6:45 from our last game. We stopped for dinner around 7 and then we were back on the road. Our TVs had been fixed, so we popped in a movie and tried to get comfortable for our trip home. We had planned to switch bus drivers in Indiana between 4 and 6 am. However, that wasn’t the case. We ended up switching drivers sometime between 8 and 10 am. Then we stopped at another Cracker Barrel for breakfast, where we were informed that it was another 7 hours before we would be home.
About 50 miles from St. Louis, our bus’s speed slowed to about 50mph. The bus driver told us that we were low on power and that we had to keep the speed down so the transmission wouldn’t go out. At about the same time the AC went out making it 85 degrees in the middle of the bus and even hotter than that in the back. By the time we got to St. Louis our speed had dropped to 40 mph. We thought that this set back would put us in Rolla at about 3:30 or 4. We were wrong. Somewhere in St. Clair, MO we started going 20 mph up a hill and barely rolled into a truck weigh station. Our bus was no longer running. Another bus from St. Louis was supposedly going to pick us up in 30 minutes. Wrong again. The new bus arrived a little after an hour later. We reloaded all of our luggage and got on the new, very nice, air-conditioned bus at about 5 pm. and were on our way home for real this time. We were back in Rolla at about 6 pm, 11 movies, and 23 hours later!
The trip was awesome and a great way for the team to become closer. Everyone had a great time and we all got to see things that may be a once in a life time experience for some of us. We’d like to thank everyone who made it possible for us to go!
What a trip! Makes me want to take a soccer road trip. I’m thinking KC Wiz, the Chicago Fire are playing there in early May. Or maybe a Chicago Fire home game this summer after they move into their new soccer specific stadium.
Thank you ladies for sharing your story with us and good luck this evening 🙂