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Angels on the Pitch ~ No. 1

Angels on the Pitch ~ No. 1

RALEIGH, N.C. - Meredith College sophomore soccer defender Megan Luke will contribute a regular soccer blog this fall. The personal narrative will give fans a peek into life as a soccer Avenging Angel.

Soccer season here at Meredith College has kicked off with a vengeance, and I know this season will be a great one.

A little over a week after moving in, we loaded up the buses and went to Asheboro, N.C., for team camp. It was a blast! We had a couple of practices over the weekend, but most of our time was spent on team bonding activities.

We played games, performed silly skits, had a bonfire (which included s'mores and campfires songs), and went to the zoo. It was so much fun to spend time with my teammates doing things other than playing soccer. When we all started belting out sing-alongs late one night on the bus, I knew I was going to enjoy being part of this team.

Begin a collegiate athlete isn't always easy, but it's always worth it. My friends have gotten used to hearing me say, "I can't. I have soccer." Sometimes I get frustrated by my busy schedule, but then I hit the field with my teammates and remember why I make the sacrifices that I make. I love this sport, and I love these girls.

When I'm up late after practice doing homework and microwaving leftovers because the dining hall is already closed (my appetite never seems to get that memo), it's worth it. I get to be a part of a team that's strong both on the field and off, and I love every minute of it.

And those bus rides and nights spent in hotel rooms when we're playing away? I wouldn't trade those for the world. It's always an adventure, and the ride back after a victory is one of my favorite parts. Granted, it's usually a smelly ride, because wins don't come easy in this sport. But that stench that makes our parents cringe and probably makes our bus driver a little nauseous is the smell of victory to us. And I love to ride back to Raleigh on a bus full of victory.

The soccer team here at Meredith really is a family. We all tailgate together with our families and friends after home games. We celebrate each other's birthdays. And we help each other through the tough stuff that life throws at us.

I know that I can trust my teammates to have my back on and off the field. We work our hardest every game for each other because we know that our seniors want to win even more than the rest of us.

A talented team that doesn't trust each other might still be successful, but it will never be special. I've played on quite a few teams in my lifetime – some have been really talented and some have been really close knit. This Meredith team is both talented and close, though, and that's something special.

I'm excited for the rest of this season, because I know this team can be extremely successful. But in ten years, when I've started a new chapter of my life and forgotten our record and our stats from this season, I'll remember this team and how much fun we had together and how much they all meant to me.

And that's why the sacrifices that we all make in order to play college soccer are more than worth it.