Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

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Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by PilotNut on Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:46 pm

Congrats to the women for another great season....

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by pms275 on Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:49 pm

It was a fantastic season by any standard. Keeping in mind we lost some key players early...even more impressive. We'll just reload and go after it again next year! Although there's always a tinge of sadness that we're losing another great group of seniors.

I've never been a UCLA fan, so it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they remained the Buffalo Bills of the College Cup. But, they sure look as good as their #1 ranking.


Last edited by on Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by KFTC on Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:49 pm

Wow. That game completely lived up to the hype. It was an incredible match up and extremely entertaining to watch. It might be one of the top performances to remember from a UP goalkeeper. I will be putting the goals on YouTube shortly, followed by the saves because they were just that great.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by Geezaldinho on Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:52 pm

while you are at it, put enyeart getting taken down in the box The world needs to see that.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by PilotDrummer on Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:53 pm

The one in OT? Yeah, that was BS.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by KFTC on Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:54 pm

I will. I was in the middle of texting a few people who couldn't watch the game that scenario when we scored. I think it was literally something like "OMG, the ref may have just blown a UP pena GOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL!!!! Wozzie!!!"

The people who texted me back were like, "Um, what happened again?"

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by Geezaldinho on Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:00 pm

and make sure the ref's name is on the title - Jesse Johnson

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by KFTC on Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:25 pm

Geezer, I just read the chat archive where you said "there's gotta be something wrong with MacMillan hugging their goalscorer" (or something like that), and I laughed because I said something similar to the person I was reporting to over the phone. But perhaps with some more colorful adjectives and verbally a little different--I don't think the filters here will come close to accepting what I said. Haha.

But not really. Razz

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by KFTC on Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:45 pm

I thought I caught this at the bar when I was leaving and just confirmed it as I was uploading the video to YouTube...did anyone else find a little bit of solace and humor in the fact that Val Henderson, the UCLA goalkeeper, got a bloody nose in her initial celebration with Danesha Adams? Gah, that's the only thing I was remotely chuckling about as I was driving home.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by Geezaldinho on Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:51 pm

Geezer, I just read the chat archive where you said "there's gotta be something wrong with MacMillan hugging their goalscorer"

yeah, it was odd to watch that--I dunno--it was just wierd.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by KFTC on Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:56 pm

Video of goals is almost done uploading to YouTube. The saves may have to wait until tomorrow, as I have to be up and out of the house quite early tomorrow. It's taken me nearly two hours to format, edit, (with a special slow-mo of the Enyeart foul for Geezer), re-format and upload to YouTube, and that's because I know about what time the goals occurred. The saves I will have to be a little more meticulous in watching for as I edit.

The link will be posted in about 15 minutes.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by GUPhantom on Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:38 am

What a battle!!! The momentum swings were intense!!! I watched the game at Buckley. Great, supportive crowd. Fantastic atmosphere...despite the loss!

Yes...special thanks to Kelsey for playing her heart out! She kept us in the game. Many of the Bruin shots were wicked! I'd like
to see the team be more physical in the defensive-end next year. It just seemed that in tonight's loss, we allowed UCLA a lot of unchallenged runs...in and around the box. I'm hesistant to describe it as a "prevent defense"...like in in football...but boy...I was surprised at how much space was allowed to the Bruin fowards and midfielders. Wasn't our defense a little to flexible? Too much cushion. A lot of the times, I was asking myself..."Can someone please put a body on someone when they get close and in-range?" Kelsey shouldn't have seen as many brutal shots as she did tonight. They were bullets! That just screams they've been given too much free space...to get their shots off with such velocity!

Aw heck! I just hugged my daughter to console her after the game. She broke down. Cried. Very emotional loss. But I told her
she has to be very proud of the team and its accomplishments. UCLA was just tougher and took it to us. Have to repect that. We
got beat by a strong team.

Special thanks to the Seniors for 4 wonderful years of soccer! You've certainly made it a beautiful game to watch. Loved every minute of it. We'll miss you at Merlo/Clive Charles!

GO PILOTS!!!

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by HRZag on Sat Dec 01, 2007 7:15 am

For those of us that didn't get to watch the game, what did FUCLA do at halftime to seemingly dominate us in the second half and overtime.

It sounded like we were on our heels that whole time. I am just curious what they did to so completely change the game.

Sorry to see it all end, especially for this incredible group of seniors. We have been treated to some very special efforts and beautiful soccer by these young ladies. Thank you for all that you do.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by pms275 on Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:39 am

HRZag...that's the only thing that disappointed me. We lost all momentum in the second half until the very end when Wozzie scored the equalizer. That swing carried through the first overtime, but the second had us back on our heels.

I wasn't sure what completely changed things either, other than UCLA really pushing forward and putting pressure in the midfield and on their offensive third of the field.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by FANatic on Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:50 am

HRZag - Good question! I watched the game on T.V. and all I can say is UCLA came out after halftime with a completely different mentality. In the first half, they were tough, quick and solid.

I think they were caught off guard by Enyeart's first half goal and it was at that point that we ramped it up and could have gone up 2-0. We put tremendous pressure on them late in the first half, and their goalkeeper, Val Henderson, did a heck of a job keeping us from getting that 2nd goal. Things looked good at halftime, as we seemed like we just might be the better team.

But UCLA is not Denver, Colorado or Tennessee. Their coach, said in a halftime interview that she wasn't happy with her team's play and she challenged them to just be themselves; to show their true personality. Well - suffice to say UCLA responded BIG-TIME to their coach's challenge. They simply ramped up several notches and we did not quite have the speed, quickness or depth to stay with them. Read GUPhantom's post right before your own. It's right on.

Sorry guys and gals, but blown ref calls or not, we were simply beaten by a better, more talented and much deeper team. Yes, our season-ending injuries to the Rapinoes, Megan Sweeney and Korie Nicholson hurt our depth.

We have one healthy player with the ability to rocket the ball past the defense at any given moment: Michelle Enyeart. (Angie can do it, but not regularly. Kelli Croncrite has a monster shot, but being a central defender doesn't give her too many opportunies). If Megan Rapinoe was healthy, she would join Michelle and we would have two players with on the money rockets at any given moment. And Rachael Rapinoe is a whirling dervish that would have penetrated the Bruins defense and created either goals or great opportunities for other teammates.

However ------ if these players were all healthy at the start of the season, and Sophie and Steph didn't have to miss any games due to national team commitments, would Sophie have ever played up top? Would Elli, Jessica and Keelin played the minutes they did and grown so well with all that prime-time experience? Who would have come off the bench? (ETC., ETC.,ETC.). Who really knows? No One! All speculation.

UCLA in the second half and second overtime, in particular, dominated possession as we normally do. They have several players with rocket, on target, shots. They have players that can head the ball at the GK with accuracy. Really, I thought that Kelsey saved us considerable embarrassment with all her second half heroics. It easily could have been 3 or 4-1 when the ref blew the PK foul on Michelle late in the game and then Wozzie scored shortly afterward. It would have been moot at that point.

I agree with Phantom's post wholeheartedly three posts before this. Go back and read his post. Where was our defense in the second half and O.T.? We have one of the best defenses in the country. No one disputes that fact. We just got schooled by a better team, in my opinion. And if you want the Quarterfinal at Merlo, you can't lose 3 non-conference games. Yes, I realize we were in survival mode with injuries and World Cup players missing, but the 2005 team got to play the Quarters at Merlo against Notre Dame. NO non-conference losses. Yes, the NCAA selection committee treats us unfairly. Bottom line, best team finds a way to win the BIG, MUST-WIN matches. The best team won last night. But that said, I believe we are the second best team in the country. Not bad! We can and will build from that.

Great programs are patient. Great programs are consistent. Great programs improve their recruiting classes every year. Great programs work year-round to improve and condition their returning players.

We are a great program!!! And I LOVE THE PILOTS, UNCONDITIONALLY, FOREVER!!!

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by PilotDrummer on Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:03 am

Comment on the home field or not home field bit...was speaking with Bill Reed (Director of Events) one night and his comment was that there's this "if we give it to Portland, it's like they somehow bought home-field advantage" mentality with the selection committee. That might be unfounded, but regardless, I don't know that that's fair - I mean, that sounds an awful lot like PUNISHING a team with great fans.

Oh well. Next year... Very Happy

At least I can focus all of my attention on basketball now. Last night was nerve-wracking. There's no cable in Chiles (only DirecTV), so we either had to rely on my phone pulling up ESPN (whose website is HORRIBLE for scores, BTW) or the PA announcer (and he wasn't telling us anything).

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by ejjqb on Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:37 pm

Did others notice a couple of things that had major impacts on the outcome in my mind?

First, the rain that we all saw as the Pilot advantage with pre-game posts actually worked to their disadvantage. The field was such a quagmire that the Pilots' normally perfect touch passes frequently ended up stuck halfway to the target. I saw this causing the ladies to just miss at least three chances to score in the first half and to give up several possessions at midfield. Sure both teams had to deal with the conditions but UCLA didn't rely on these touches and weren't really slowed by them.

Second, the Pilots got completely away from the possession game that won the first half. They came out hitting long passes rather than using the triangle passes that drove the Bruins crazy earlier.

While the Bruins used several substitutions during the game, the Pilots' were worn out by the middle of the second half. Running up and down that soft field surely contributed to that, similar to running on soft sand. They were just gassed and the Bruins were still fresh.

The group of soccer players with me all felt that the missed opportunities to score more in the first half really was the Pilots undoing. It was really too bad for such a fine, outstanding group of young women to see their wonderful season end like that but we can all look on this as a great reason to "re-enlist" for next year since we know just how much is coming back. I am looking forward to more beautiful soccer next year.

It's been super reading all the amazing perspectives in this site throughout the season. Thanks to all of you for your contributions to another successful season.

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Couple of points

Post by Oscar on Sat Dec 01, 2007 3:30 pm

Hi everyone. First, what a privilege to get to see such a great soccer match. Two very high quality sides. I don't think the loser of such a match has much to be ashamed about. I know the Pilots sure don't.

I wonder about a couple of small points. First, the Pilots did not make a single substitution in the first half. Playing on such a heavy field really can work your legs over and I wonder if that came into play in the second half and especially in the second OT.

Second, I have to say that outside of her save the game goal, I didn't think Angie Woznuk had much of a game. She just didn't look sharp at all. Does anyone know if she was a little under the weather?

Otherwise, I thought they scratched and clawed marvelously.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by FANatic on Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:11 pm

First ejjqb - Yes, I noticed everything you mentioned and agree completely. The Pilots definitely pooped out in the second half, and pooped out even worse in the second O.T.. I was actually hoping for PK's in the second O.T. because we were getting killed and only Kelsey's one brilliant save after the other kept us in the match.
I was hoping to reach PK's because I thought we were barely holding on by our teeth in the second O.T.. If we had just made it to PK's, I was hoping Kelsey's wonderful shot stopping ability just might let us eke out the win. Still, had we won, I would be saying today that UCLA was the better team, but that with heart, determination and Kelsey we were able to move on in the tournament.

Garrett didn't substitute because, although Scifo and Chandhoke are excellent players, UCLA is much deeper than we are, (injuries or not), and the quality of their bench appears quite superior to ours. (We can rectify that with continued great recruiting classes, and sticking to our possession game. As Megan R. would say, we just gotta get tougher and get into their heads more. It's all about talent, an established style/identity, discipline and mental toughness, and physical tenacity and quality depth!)

Lastly, ejjqb - I agree that we could have possibly gotten emotional control of the match, had we finished more chances in the first half. But haven't we been talking about difficulty finishing from Day One this season? (For an average team, we scored a zillion goals. But for an elite program seeing every season as a potential championship season, we saw a great example of finishing last night - by our opponent.)

Oscar - I totally agree with you about Wozzie's game and don't know why others haven't mentioned it on this thread. Perhaps love is blind. I don't know about her physical or mental state, but I was mystified last night by her game. I swear it seemed 75% - 80% of her passes went directly to UCLA players. I can think of two reasons for this: (1) The wet and uneven playing surface seemed to defeat her from the beginning. Really, it seemed detrimental to our playing style in general. (But I don't like excuses and certainly the opponent had to play on the same pitch.) (2) UCLA's speed and quickness were simply superior to ours, as they were in the 2006 Quarters. (Not a pretty thought that they maintained that edge for a full year. To catch them next year - should we meet yet again - we must get quicker and faster personnel and a little height up front wouldn't hurt either. Cheney and Lang are SOPHOMORES for crying out loud. Dimartino is a junior. Thankfully, Danesha Adams and Val Henderson are outta there!!!)

One clarification - Angie Woznuk, in my opinion, is one of the best up-and-coming OMF in the world. I expect in the next few years that she will become a starter on the full senior Women' National Team. She will play professionally in the new women's league starting in '09, (I think), and finally, Wozzie is one of my favorite Pilots of all time!!! cheers

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by UPWomenSoccerRookie on Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:18 pm

Our strongest defense has always been our over-powering offense. Other teams find it hard to score if they don’t have the ball. Our technically demanding and visually entertaining offense, keeping the ball at our feet, has played a significant part in our string of shutouts. Pressure all over the field, including deep in the opponents end if they had the ball, was part of our complete and swarming defense/offense.

I read the article on Angie where she said she had to step up her defense if she wanted to improve her changes of making the national team. And that led her to step up her conditioning program so she could work hard on both sides of the ball for the entire game. I figured that Garrett was emphasizing that approach with everyone, leading to the swarming defense all over the field.

So I was a bit surprised by the number of times after the intermission that when UCLA dribbled up the field, the single purple-shirted defender was rarely joined by other purple jerseys. And at the # of shots UCLA got off, and the high percentage of them that were on-target rockets. They/UCLA were the ones who were controlling the ball, controlling the tempo of the game, taking us out of our game.

I don’t watch with enough expertise to be able to explain why. I agree with the explanation and comments made earlier on this topic by GUPhantom, FANatic, and ejjqb. I felt the game was won by the team that played better on that day. UCLA can put a lot of talent in the field, and, from what I saw, I would agree with SC coach Jerry Smith who said that UCLA has the most talent. For the 1st half, I also agreed with his other comment that UP plays the best soccer. But in the 2nd half the talent and related depth took over.

On the positive side, the game shot my respect for Kelsey up several notches. Rarely tested during the season because of both our controlling offense and the strong defense ahead of her, she played one hell of a game. She stopped a lot of those on-target rockets I mentioned above.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by fozziewozzie on Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:17 pm

FANatic..i agree with you wholeheartedly. an while i will miss angie, steph, em, kelly and the other seniors on the team i am very excited about the purported incoming recruits we are said to have coming in.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by GUPhantom on Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:57 pm

Aw man! I didn’t sleep well last night pondering the loss. UPWSR has it right. Offensive possession is the tip of spear for our defense. When we allowed UCLA to switch the table on us…with possession of their own in the second half…a domino effect took place. After that…our defensive strategy was way too passive against an offensive powerhouse like UCLA. We seemed to be playing a prevent style of defense….but obviously we didn’t prevent much…especially in the amount of quality shots we afforded to them. That was a barrage of artillery shots. I’ve never seen opposition just pound the goal like that against us….it was brutal! Volume and Quality.

Sure…the defense didn’t allow any of them to get behind us! We did a good job of always keeping the offensive threats in front of us! There were no one-on-one attacks against Kelsey. UCLA didn’t have any offside call trying to beat the line. But despite keeping them in front of us….and despite surrounding whoever had the ball with numbers…we simply just allowed their attacking midfielders and forwards to have too much space to work in the box. Open space is a precious thing…UCLA just took what we gave them….they locked and loaded…and just started to crack em! It was open season on Kelsey at that point! That’s why I commented in my previous post that I was hoping someone would mark-up, body-up and physically take them out of the danger zone. You know…let them know they’re NOT welcomed to take target practice in there!

Actually there’s something to be learned from the UCLA game. But, its not what you think. With what I heard about the incoming 2008 recruits, our defense will be shored up all-around. More Loren Orlandos clones, right? Stronger and athletic personnel? We’ll adjust defensively. We’ll be be fine.

Anyway…back to my thought on “lesson learned”…I’d like to see the Pilots be more direct in their attacks. We seemed to have fallen in love with trying to be too creative in the box…too creative in trying to establish one-on-ones against the goalie! It’s become our signature way to score. Almost one-dimensional. I like that everyone’s unselfish and anyone one can be an offensive threat…but at the same time we tend to overpass…or stall….working for the cute breakaway. How about blasting a HARD shot every now and then? Dare I say it...just like UCLA! That should open things up. Battleships and the B-52’s soften things up …before the Boots hit the ground, right? That sort of logic. Sorry about the sad analogy! I was just looking for an easy way to say we need to expand the arsenal a little bit. Give the players the green light to pull out the Howitzer once in awhile instead of the 358 Magnum! Ex. Enyeart's 2nd half goal versus Tennessee! More of that please!

I CAN’T for next season already!

GO PILOTS!!!

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:11 pm

Yes, NCAA, by all means, let's play tournament games on fields that aren't nearly as nice as our practice field in front of a few halfl-empty bleachers. Let's not let the TV audience out there see the incredible atmosphere at a sold-out Merlo field. And hey, with a #2 seed this year, it's not like we earned a first weekend at home.

If you want to be like basketball and avoid the "home field" effect, play all the games at neutral sites like basketball. Just don't be disappointed with the small crowds. On the plus side this would mean more road trips for the students Very Happy.

Sorry if I sound a little ticked, but I just got back from seeing the men get blown out in a Chiles Center that was mostly BYU fans, but they'll get better in time.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by decrink on Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:27 am

Been a long time fan and go to every game and have followed the posts here and on other forums. Thought I'd say hello and chime in with my responses and point of view. I'm quite pleased with the analysis of many here on the forum, some real soccer knowledge and understanding mixed with some zealous fandom.

The UCLA was one of the classic games in this team's storied history. The soggy pitch, the bad ref, the last minute goal, the Pilot dominance, the UCLA dominance all contributed to an outstanding event.

Here were my major thoughts about this match:
1. Many of UCLA's chances and their first goal were a result of missed calls in midfield by the ref. We had forwards getting clobbered from behind and he was very lax in calling the game. Seemed out of position much of the time. Not sure how he got assigned but this game was beyond his skill level. I commented to a watching buddy early that this was the type of ref that was going to win or lose the game for either team.
2. I've always been concerned that Woznuk disappears in big matches such as these and this was the case Friday. Granted she made us all happy with the goal but she has games like this when I count her unforced giveaways. She has played so well in the playoffs and end of season and I was concerned she was due for a game like she had. Too bad. She wasn't able to step up one more notch for this one. That's what I always admire about Rapinoe, she has one more gear of competitiveness.
3. UCLA was fitter at the end because they had a deeper bench. Plain and simple UP was tired and the "home team" was fresher. Staying at home, having more subs, it all adds up by the time you need to stay with their runners. Look at their goal scorers, they both had extended rest periods.
4. UCLA had a substitution plan in advance and used it after the TV timeouts. They USED those breaks to make subs and change their tactics and I'm sure this was pre-planned. Their was an element of being outcoached there. The breaks were much more beneficial to UCLA than to the Pilots.
5. UCLA 2nd goal was a mistake by the freshman Winters trying to hit a cross field pass to Lopez.
6. UP goalkeeper was excellent although I think she may have missed the first goal? Replays weren't conclusive but I think it went right by her and she didn't get down in time. What a muddy mess in front of the goals. I'm surprised she could make some of the saves she did.
7. Soccer is soccer and it's why I (and dare I say we) love it so much because it builds such tension and you just never know how things will turn out. The Pilots had a great season (the men as well) and I look forward to next year's rendition, hopefully with a few of the injuries out of the way.

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Re: Ah Crud. Final: UCLA 3, Pilots 2 in 2OT

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:41 am

We (my wife and I) have been talking about the Pilots' obvious fatigue during the second half and second overtime. Not as an excuse, which I am sure they would not want, but by way of recognizing the realities of their situation:

I know as a coach of high school girls (not soccer) how taxing a sports season is on both players and coaches, for a team that is competing at the highest level and that has high expectations and makes high demands of itself. It is physically and mentally draining under the best of circumstances.

This year, the Pilots had to start the season absent two of their best players, Steffi and Sophie. That itself put mental stress on the players, plus it put a physical strain on the players given that it reduced the ability of the coaching staff to manage players' playing time. Then, Megan Rapinoe reinjured her ACL, creating an emotional trauma that I'm sure took something out of most of the players. It also meant that those able to play had to spend more time on the field during games. And, Megan Sweeny went out, making a difficult season worse. Then, Rachel tore her ACL and went out for the season, which, on top of the other events, was a major emotional trauma and made the playing time situation even worse. Then, Cori went out, meaning that Emily and Kelly were going to have to play every minute of every close game.

The team gutted it out as best they could, hanging on by a thread. I think that Angie, in particular, made tremendous demands of herself, essentially holding the team together during this period through her tremendous efforts on the field. With Angie's and the other players' efforts, the team did manage to do remarkably well, but I think it cost the team quite a bit over the long term.

Steffi and Sophie came back, and it made a big difference, but one of the things I know from my coaching is that there's a periodicity to conditioning. Players can peak for an event, but then there needs to be a rest period and new build up before they can peak again. Players can peak only about three times a year. Steffi's and Sophie's training programs were designed for them to peak for the World Cup, so there's no way they would be able to peak again over the next two months. Plus, the World Cup had to be emotionally draining for them.

Then, the team once again gets sent on the road in rounds 1/2 of the tournament. That in itself adds to the buildup of fatigue -- Garrett, I believe, feels very strongly about the price that exacts from a team. And, to top it off, the games are at altitude. This isn't just going to Boulder for three days and then going home and feeling fine. This is going to Boulder and sprinting up and down a soccer field for an hour and a half, twice, in a state of oxygen depletion. Under other circumstances, maybe one would expect well-conditioned players to recover from that over a two week period, but if the players already were in more serious trouble, it would make recovery difficult.

Then, the players get a home game and then have to go on the road again, to play on a soggy field. I know from my own soccer playing days how tiring it is playing on a field in the rain when there is poor drainage.

As I have thought about it, from hindsight I can see evidence of how tired the team was getting. The second half of the Santa Clara game, the team looked on the defensive, which could have been the early stages of fatigue -- I'm not talking about just being tired for a game, I'm talking about the kind of body fatigue from which it takes a couple of months to recover. The second half of the Colorado game, the team looked tired -- fortunately, so did Colorado. And, the second half of the Tennessee game, the team looked really tired. While we opined that Tennessee looked tough during the second half, it may well have been because our players were simply running out of gas. And, by the second half of the UCLA game, it was clear the players were exhausted. Getting into the "just kick it out to the other end of the field" is exactly what happens when a team is physically and mentally exhausted -- the brain doesn't work right to tell the body what to do, and the body can't do it anyway.

For me, thinking this all through makes me admire this particular team even more. For them to have done what they did, under all these circumstances, .... I can't even find the right words to describe it.

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