Saturday, May 10, 2003 8:00 CDT
USLIA National tournament – St. Louis – Championship game
CSU 6 UCSB 4 -
Colorado State University – USLIA 2003 National Champions
In a somewhat less than beautiful game we emerged as the “last team standing”, true to our “rallying cry” from day one, and used every time we faced a new obstacle. This season was never about anything or anyone other than us. At times the hurdles seemed too huge. One even called ours “a season on the brink”.
In many ways this is the best team I have ever coached. It is by far NOT the most talented team I have ever coached. When you put all that together you can see some kind of deviated symmetry to all this.
“COME ON UP FIR THE RISIN” Bruce Springsteen
The “Boss” (and my new Sony Walkman) has been my path to step inside myself here in St. Louis this time. I thank him for lifting me up with his beautiful music and his purely American, lyric poetry. Maybe part of what I like so much about him is that his band plays like a team. They all have their roles to fill, and they are so great together. You can hear it.
WEARING THE CROSSE OF HIS CALLING, WHEELS AFIRE HE CAME ROLLIN’ DOWN THE HILL
Mark Plonkey was absolutely brilliant in this game, and not just in the way he played. The way he thought was also perfect. He received his much deserved Tournament Defensive MVP award for his “Untouchable” performance. He dominated the middle of the field, and that is not something that is easy to do against the Gauchos. They are very talented offensively. Mark tilted the field in our direction today.
At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I am not pleased with how we played today. That is what I’m thinking about now, less than three hours after winning the game I had been thinking about for a whole year. What is wrong with me? I was angry all through the game about the way we were not taking care of that valuable little white sphere on offense. One might have thought I was treating this just like any other game. Maybe I was in a way. I want to win beautiful, like we did Friday against Sonoma State. Now that was a good game. I was much more pumped after that one than I was today. On Friday we played a great game against a team I didn’t know if we could beat. Today, I expected to win.
Anyway, UCSB pressured our offense a lot, and we all too often couldn’t handle the pressure and their excellent coma slide package on defense, once again putting tremendous pressure on our defense to carry us, because they (UCSB) were forcing us to commit turnovers.
What remained, and it was that way all year, is that time and time again our defense was left to rescue us, and more often than not it was Alex in goal “paddling” the life boat. Calmly he anchored our defense, orchestrating, acting as if each save “weren’t no big thang”. Well, trust me, they were huge saves, and he played like a man all over the field today. Plus, he finally got to be Captain for his last two games after 4 years of me not letting him be one.