Calvin Men’s Soccer Day One Diary Report From San Antonio, Texas
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
(Calvin Sports Information Student Assistant Andrew Knot is traveling with the Calvin men’s soccer team this weekend and filed this first day report)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - After two early morning flights, the Knights have arrived safely in San Antonio. We had a 7:00am flight out of Grand Rapids this morning, and connected to a flight to San Antonio immediately after landing in the Detroit Metro Airport.
Since landing in San Antonio, we have enjoyed sunny, mid-sixties weather, and some of the local attractions, as well as our hotel, the Hyatt Regency, located in the heart of the city.
We were free during lunch today and some of the squad took advantage of the free time by strolling San Antonio’s famed River Walk and exploring the historic site of The Alamo.
“The River Walk and the different culture down here is really great, especially this time of year when it’s all lit up,” said senior Tyler Vegter.
This afternoon, the team practiced on the campus of nearby Trinity University.
“It was good to be back on the field,” said sophomore Ben Honeycutt. “We’re excited to be playing in and adjusting to a new situation.
This evening, we enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant and some more free time to experience the city. After dinner, some players took the time to reflect on the experience as a whole.
“Traveling with the team is nice. There’s not a person on this team I don’t like,” said sophomore Lawrence Murray.
Vegter called the 2011 squad the closest-knit team he’s been on at Calvin.
“We got along well all year, and with each new experience we grow closer,” he added.
The Knights remain grateful for all the thoughts, prayers, and support as they make their way through the NCAA tournament.
As they prepare to square off against Oneonta State in the National Semi-Final on Friday, the Knights are counting on previous postseason experience to give them an edge.
Eleven of the twenty five 2011 Knights were on the 2009 squad that advanced to the National Championship, marking the furthest a Calvin soccer squad has advanced in the NCAA Tournament. But that year, the Knights’ met a Messiah squad in the National Final that had something they lacked: experience.
“I remember the first time her two years ago. I was in awe of the whole process and maybe a bit intimidated when I stepped on the field the first time,” said Senior Tyler Vegter.
But this year, it’s the Knights who enter the Final Four with experience in their favor. Calvin not only advanced to the National Final in 2009, they also posted a run to the Elite 8 last year. Because of that, the upperclassmen feel that they can pass on some of the knowledge they gained to their younger counterparts.
“Since we have that experience, we can show the younger guys our comfort level on this stage. Hopefully that will translate to our play,” said Vegter.
And the younger players are eager to listen.
Sophomore Lawrence Murray, himself an integral part of the 2010 tournament run, said it’s great to have players who have experienced the Final Four before.
“It’s a huge advantage,” he said. “It just teaches us that much more that every minute counts.”
The Knights will put their experience to the test Friday at 8:00pm CST against Oneonta State.