NCAA Women's College Cup
While other people were covering the Pac-12 Football Championship (congrats to Kyle Terada who got an SI cover photo from it) and the Raiders game on Sunday. I had the pleasure of covering the NCAA Women's College Cup at Avaya Stadium. The USC Trojans versus the Georgetown Hoyas, the West Virginia Mountaineers v the North Carolina Tar Heels. And the final between the Trojans and the Mountaineers.
You might think I'm being sarcastic, but I'm not. I LOVE women's soccer. I so miss my days of covering FC Gold Pride for WPS... though mostly I just miss Marta, one of the only athletes I've ever felt in awe and slightly nervous to be in the proximity of ;)
I'm lucky because every year I get to shoot college football, every year I get to shoot NFL, and I don't take that for granted. But I LOVE covering something I don't regularly get to cover. And by that I don't just mean women's collegiate soccer, but actually the frisbee dogs who are THE BEST!! Mostly because their human counterparts are JUST as excited as the dogs.
I have some pretty big beef with the NCAA for using the hashtag to be #WCollegeCup while the men's is just #CollegeCup as opposed to #MCollegeCup. And their signboards constantly flashing College Sports: A Pathway to Opportunity.
That is a HUGE problem. Sure, NCAA has been a means for SOME athletes to have the "opportunity" access to take classes on a college campus. This does not mean the NCAA has provided the necessary support to ensure these student athletes get degrees let alone degrees and resources that provide them a lifetime of opportunity after their career is over. Some coaches, universities and players take this upon themselves, but the NCAA patting themselves on the back gives me endless eyerolls. Also, not everyone has the build or mindset to be an athlete, our education system needs to offer "a pathway to opportunity" to everyone, instead of teaching young kids that sports are the pathway to opportunity.
Also, watching this poor ball girl freeze all night, did not seem like a great opportunity :P
But off my soap box... two great semifinals games, 1-0 (yes, I know we Americans struggle caring about low scoring games) second half goals
And then the final where USC goalkeeper, Sammy Jo Prudhomme, really wow-ed me with some amazing saves... she is fearless and definitely the real deal.
And Katie Johnson, the non-starter senior recorded TWO goals and scoring Friday night's game winning goal as well, and was basically just in disbelief at the final whistle. Like "Is this really happening?"
I hate taking dejection photos because it feels so mean to expose someone's pain like that
But I LOVE celebration photos that include the dejection of the other team. It doesn't reveal their faces, but it does show their feelings, and reminds you that sports can bring you so much elation, but if there's winner... that also means there's a loser :-/
Though with a score 3-1 where the losing team had some time in the final minutes to process the loss, it's not quite as dramatic as the 1-0 finals where the losing team still felt they had a chance until the final whistle, and it wasn't just losing the championship, but realizing your season is over and you aren't going on to the championship
Hard to think that the winning team in the semi final game had this feeling on Friday
... before losing on Saturday
But congrats to USC (Go Pac-12)
After the game, I used my old Olympus OM-D E-M1 and OM-D E-M5 Mark II (still waiting for my E-M1 Mark II bodies to arrive) and made some fun celebration photos.
Keywords: Action, Avaya Stadium, College, Georgetown Hoyas, NCAA, North Carolina Tar Heels, Soccer, Sports, USA Today Sports Images, USC Trojans, West Virginia Mountaineers
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