Friday November 16th:
Everything started off promising. The #3 seeded women's soccer team faced off against Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The heart and soul of this team reached the College Cup last year, why not again? The game looked like ours for the taking, as Kristen Meier gave the Deacs a 1-0 lead. But the pesky Irish retaliated with two second half goals to upend the heavily-favored Deacs. The mighty soccer team has fallen. The one we pinned to contend for a national title. Yeah, that one...
As we experienced the frigid weather, Jeff Bzdelik and the basketball team were getting their Jersey Shore tan on in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Later that night, the Deacs played #23 Connecticut in the opening round of the Paradise Jam Tournament. After a feeble performance against Radford, fans didn't expect much. We knew it was an early test against a quality opponent. Yet the Deacs made it a game. Codi Miller-McIntyre did his best CP3 impression torching the Huskies 21 points and five assists. So close ans yet, so far 77-71 Huskies. Though, this game displayed camaraderie and plenty of potential. It finally gave Deacs' fans hope.
The women's volleyball team played at a strong Georgia Tech team and lost 3-0. They were expected to lose and followed suit. It served only a blip on the Wake sports meter. But a loss nonetheless.
After a real rough night, let's get some sleep. Maybe the morning will bring some good news...
Saturday November 17th:
The Wake Forest football program had their David versus Goliath moment. Their Rudy moment... against Rudy. They traveled to South Bend to take on the #3 Fighting Irish. This was the team's chance to make a statement. To make that highlight play they dreamed about on the national stage. Experience the biggest upset of the year. THUD. Notre Dame dominated this Wake team just as we all predicted. Yet we all held out an ounce of prayer that they could muster a miracle to gain bowl eligibility. Or at least look respectable with the entire country watching. The Deacs didn't even score. 38-0 destruction.
Simultaneously, the men's basketball team returned to action fraught with swagger after an impressive showing their prior night. Hopefully they didn't celebrate to hard after the close defeat. Because they sure looked sluggish on the court. Facing off against mid-major Iona-- who played until after midnight in an overtime loss against Quinnipiac the prior night-- the Gaels were sprite with energy. They opened the game on a 41-5 run. Yes, you read that correctly. The team effectively lost all the respectability it gained from the prior night-- and more. Not even I predicted such a pathetic performance. They could take some advice from Jersey Shore, less time tanning, more time in the gym. The final score was 94-68.
The #15 men's soccer team had their first NCAA Tournament game in the second round-- they had a first round bye-- against Coastal Carolina. These Deacs beat Maryland, the #1 team in the country just two weeks before. We have counted on these guys for wins all season long. They will certainly come through for us. Freshman stud Michael Gamble put us up 1-0 in the fourth minute. Looks promising... The Chanticleers fought back knotting the score at one in the 65th minute. And in overtime, they defeated the Deacs and took our hearts with it. This was the team to make a deep run. This was the game to break a horrific streak. Oh wait...
The Lady Deacs basketball team traveled out to #25 Kansas in an early non-conference test. Under first year coach Jen Hoover, they challenged the Jayhawks, clinging to a 27-24 lead at half. But they couldn't avoid the inevitable. The Jayhawks came back and won 64-58. Still a strong performance for the Deacs.
Monday November 19th:
My alarm sounded at a prompt 8:52. I rolled over. Only a nightmare, I thought. I checked my phone and realized the truth behind the giant goose egg in the most jam-packed sports weekend of the year.
I amble to The Pit and ponder how our athletes failed. I grab a seemingly plastic bagel and chemically processed eggs. After one bite, I realized. Look at what we are feeding our athletes! That must be it!
Hours later, the Wake Forest basketball program had their chance for redemption to achieve an impressive seventh in the tournament (out of eight) against Mercer. The Bears unsurprisingly open up a eleven point second half lead. Yet the Deacs actually showed some resilience. The duo of Travis McKie and CJ Harris stormed the team way back. McKie had a game-winning slam dunk with 18 seconds left. The entire bench exploded.
Not exactly the Bracket Buster victory we looked for. But who am I to be poke fun at a celebration? We, the fans, know better than anyone else that a win is a win.
I propose a toast to the taste of victory.
Enjoy it and don't forget it.
It could be a long time until we taste the sweetness again.