After the Dentist on Thursday, I had much to do to prepare for our upcoming trip to West Chester, PA, for the PSAC Semi Finals on Friday. My parents arrived at our house before 5pm and we had dinner together, while I monitored Debi’s Delta Flight from Fort Lauderdale to JFK. We would ultimately, pick her up a little after 8pm, and then begin the drive to West Chester.
Yesterday (Friday), Debi and I got breakfast and then worked out. By lunchtime, Debi’s mom and stepfather (Dorothy and Jay) had checked into the hotel. This made us a party of 6 for lunch at the Wegman’s Cafe. Lunch was great, but I found it difficult to concentrate on anything other than the upcoming game. We arrived at Vonnie Gros Field to find the first Semi Final game going into Overtime! It took 2 Overtimes for top seeded West Chester to defeat upset minded Seton Hill, who had been the 5th seed!
As Mercyhurst and East Stroudsburg warmed up for the second Semi Final, the stands filled with impressive numbers of the “Laker Nation”. By game time, the atmosphere was electric.
The game closely resembled the first meeting between the two teams, a couple of weeks ago, as the intensity, pace and physicality were impressive. The rivals were in another defensive battle, with ESU owning a 3-2 lead at the half. They would extend that lead to 5-2 before the Lakers surged to a 7-5 lead, with 6:26 remaining. the Warriors made it 7-6 before tying the game with only 33 seconds remaining. Early in the second Overtime, ESU found the back of the net to punch their ticket to Sunday’s PSAC Final.
The Lady Lakers had shown tremendous resilience with their response after falling behind by 3! They came within a whisker of earning the victory. Needless to say, none of this served as any solace to the players. There was sadness, disappointment and even dejection during the post game visit. As we lingered in the parking lot around the team bus, the supporters did what they could to console and encourage their Lakers. It s nice to be among friends in tough moments. I was troubled by the sight of Warrior, Julie Fitzsimmons (whose family I know well), limping through the lot with a bag of ice on her knee. I spoke with her dad, Kevin, who said they were going for an MRI – I hope it is nothing serious.
The Lakers and the Laker Nation, will have to wait for the NCAA Selection Show at 8:30PM on Sunday, to see if they will be one of the 4 teams who will play in the Atlantic Regional. The uncertainty of this situation is difficult, though, based on Regional Rankings, the Lady Lakers are most likely, NOT DONE YET!
As their bus pulled out and began the long journey back to Mercyhurst, where the girls have Final Exams this week, the Laker Faithful piled into their cars and headed home or back to the hotel (like we did). I had hoped to hang out and commiserate with any of the parents who were staying at or hotel, but Debi and I had crashed by the time the crowd returned from a late dinner.
I got my chance to commiserate at breakfast this morning. Somehow, talking it through with others helped to process the events of yesterday. Thank you to all four of Kira Kolb’s grandparents, as well as Dale Rescott, Julie Spinelli and Jack Netti.
It was difficult to see Diana and the rest of the Lakers, suffer like that yesterday. As a parent you always want your children to have success and watching them fail can be painful. But failure can be part of success. Coming up a bit short in a great contest like that, is certainly better than not having played in it at all. I am very grateful to have been there for it!