Vogel's View: Oregon trip provides highlights on and off the field

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Well Badger fans, our regular season is well underway! We have already completed our first road trip and just finished another series against the University of Oregon as well as Oregon State. It is safe to say that the first two series were a definite success and a great start to the year with three wins and a tie.  Not only was the soccer successful, but also the traveling has been a blast with the team.

Our team has come up with a game called "What are the odds?", and it provides endless entertainment, especially while on the road.  The game is played by asking a specific player what the odds are of completing a certain crazy task, similar to a dare in the game Truth or Dare.  The player in question then responds with an odds amount, such as 1 in 10.  

At the count of three, the person who is being asked, as well as the person asking the question must say a number that falls within the two numbers that were chosen.  If the two teammates say the same number, the task must be carried through, no questions asked.  After beginning the game in preseason, we have witnessed some hilarious things, such as wild hairstyles, unusual outfits, or even jokes to be played on the coaching staff.  

The game has been an amazing team building exercise and always delivers a ton of laughs. One highlight of the game so far has been seeing freshman goalie Meghan Ledin sprint through the Madison airport pretending to miss her flight to Oregon.

Another activity that was a memorable one for the team was touring the athletic facilities at the University of Oregon.  Although there is no doubt that we consider them our enemies since we faced off this past Friday night, there is also no denying that their facilities are some of the coolest we have seen, outside UW's of course.  

Thursday morning we got to practice right outside the gates of Tracktown USA and the famous Hayward Field.  Seeing the huge posters of Prefontaine was especially exciting for Kinley McNicoll, who considers him her favorite athlete of all-time.  After practice we headed to their game field to get a feel for the turf and the stadium as a whole.  Upon seeing all of the "O's" surrounding us, it was only fitting that we got a team picture in the shape of a W to show them that we had arrived and meant business. 
 
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Once we completed our walk-around of their field, we were given inside access to their team's locker room and film room.  A definite highlight of the tour was seeing the duck-shaped candy that was available in the team's locker room.  As Nicole La Petina commented on her Instagram picture, we couldn't wait to "bEAT the Ducks".  The last stop on the tour was Autzen Football Stadium, and even though it was an amazing field, in my mind there is still no competing with Camp Randall. 

After traveling from Eugene to Corvallis, we ended our stay in Portland on Sunday afternoon/evening.  Once we no longer had a game to immediately focus on, the team got the opportunity to unwind with some shopping in downtown Portland.  The Nike store was a must-see, so it was only fitting that very few girls left without a shopping bag in their hands.  With our wallets empty, we returned to the hotel for a quick night of sleep before our 5:30 am flight home.

Traveling coast-to-coast has been an amazing experience with this year's team, just like the rest of preseason has been.  Not only did we see new places and face unfamiliar opponents, but we ended the preseason undefeated, which is a huge feat for such a young group.  Although the trips have been filled with both on-field success and off-field fun, we are ready to turn the page and focus our sights on our huge game Friday night against Vanderbilt.  

The match will be our regular season home opener and also our promotional PAC the MAC game.  We can't wait to return to Madison to keep the unbeaten streak alive, and more importantly, protect our home turf.

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