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Angels on the Pitch ~ No. 2

Angels on the Pitch ~ No. 2

RALEIGH, N.C. - Sophomore defender Megan Luke contributes a regular blog to give fans a unique perspective into life as a Meredith College Avenging Angel. Meredith advanced to the USA South Women's Soccer Tournament semifinals with a 1-0 overtime win at Methodist Saturday.

Being a great team isn't just about always winning. In college soccer that's not realistic. Great teams know how to succeed and win, but they also know how to handle failures and losses.

Recently, we lost a game at home that we should have won. It's no fun to lose at home, but it's even worse to lose to a team that you outplayed.

Every single stat was in our favor, except for the most important one – goals scored. It was obvious to everyone that we were the better team, but we just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net.

Soccer is a sport where the best team doesn't always win, but that's what makes it so exciting. Being the favorite doesn't guarantee a win, and that's why we play the game.

After a loss like that, there's a temptation to hang your head, get discouraged, and point fingers. You start to think about what went wrong, and your instinct is to blame someone else. The last thing you want to do is admit that you could be responsible for that loss.

However, soccer is a team sport. Everything we do, we do together (which is fine until one of us gets sick because then we all get sick). Wins and losses can never be credited to one specific person. There are twenty-nine players on this team, and we all share in the blame or the praise after a game.

So after that loss, it was tempting to blame others, get discouraged and give up. If you decide not to care it doesn't hurt as much. Thankfully, we have a great coaching staff here at Meredith who knew just what to say.

Disappointment is okay as long as you know what to do with it. If you let yourself be upset with your teammates, it will tear your team apart. If you spend too much time blaming yourself and focusing on your mistakes, you'll lose the confidence you need to be a college athlete.

Great teams can take the disappointment from a tough loss and turn it into fuel and motivation. At our next game, we proved that we are a great team.

Just a few days after that loss, we played one of the toughest teams in our conference. We knew it was going to be a difficult game, but we were determined not to lose another game on our home field.

I was still a little bitter about the loss we had suffered earlier that week, and I was ready for another upset – this time in our favor. We played our hearts out that night and walked away with a solid 2-0 victory. That was one of the best games we've played this season, and we became the first conference team to defeat Averett since the 2011 season.

It wasn't easy, especially after such a disappointing loss in our previous game. But like I told you last time, this is a special team. This is a group of athletes that absolutely does not quit, no matter the circumstances.

Meredith College fights until the very end, every single time. I am so proud to be part of this team and call these ladies my teammates and friends. I always know that I can depend on my teammates to leave everything they have on the field, and that makes me want to work as hard as I possibly can.

And that loss I was telling you about? Well, it cost us the home field advantage in the first round of the conference tournament. I thought home field advantage was sort of a joke until I got to college. Now I realize what a big difference it can make.

Today, we had the chance to play that team we shouldn't have lost to once again - this time at their field. And this time, we won. It certainly wasn't easy, but that made the victory that much sweeter.

Today, we walked off of Methodist's field with a 1-0 overtime win in the quarterfinal game of the conference tournament.

As I write this, we're riding back to Raleigh on a bus full of victory, and I could not be prouder of this team. We fought until the very end of that game, and we're not done yet.

Next stop: Martinsville, Virginia for the conference final four!

Fifth-seeded Meredith will challenge top-seeded Maryville in the first semifinal contest in Martinsville. Kickoff is slated for Noon at the Smith River Sports Complex.

USA South Women's Soccer Tournament website