Friday, November 13, 2009

On The Road With Saints' Women

Your humble blogger is on the road this weekend, traveling with the Siena women’s basketball team.

I’ll try to touch on some aspects of the trip that are typical to all teams on road trips, and this one is as good as any to illustrate what just about any college team goes through for a one-game road trip.

This one should be a good one, Siena at the University of Illinois.

It’s a good one for me, personally, because it afforded the opportunity to fly in and out of Rochester to visit my collegiate son for a few minutes on the way out and, then, to spend more time with him on Monday on the way back culminating with attending a concert in which he is performing.

After that, it’s back on the road early Tuesday morning to get back to Albany in time for the noon Siena-Northeastern men’s game at the Times Union Center. Before departure, though, I hope to catch the first half of the ESPN telecast of the Monmouth at Saint Peter’s game that begins at 6 a.m.

As for the basketball portion of this road trip …

It won’t be an easy one in any sense for the Saints.

Begin with the travel. There’s no easy way to travel from Albany, N.Y., to Champaign, Ill. While there is an airport in Champaign, only a few miles away from the Illinois campus, Siena preferred to fly into Chicago, followed by a two-hour bus trip over the 120, or so, miles from Chicago to Champaign.

Flights into Champaign are almost all smaller planes, and there was some question about whether all the equipment that a college team travels with would fit on that type of plane. So, a bigger plan into Chicago followed by a 2-hour bus ride after that.

Illinois looks like the most-difficult opponent on the schedule for the Siena women. Despite a 10-21 record last year, the Fighting Illini have every key player back, plus the third-ranked recruiting class in the country. Talk about a tough opener for the Saints.

But, not an impossible one. The game marks the first opportunity for Saints’ coach Gina Castelli to get career victory No. 300.

Castelli is beginning her 20th season as the program’s head coach. If the win doesn’t come on this trip, then it could come next Friday when Siena hosts Eastern Michigan. But yours truly wants to witness No. 300 for the Siena coach for a variety of reasons. So, I wasn't going to miss this trip.

The trip is also particularly rewarding for Siena guard Allie Lindemann, a preseason conference third-team all-star selection. Lindemann is a native of Champaign and the trip is an opportunity for her family members and friends to welcome Lindemann home The likelihood is that Lindemann, as do all players getting back home for a non-league game, will have several dozen supporters on hand.

Here's Siena's itinerary, which is typical of any college team's road trip:

Today (Saturday)
9:15am Wake up Call
9:30am Breakfast
10:30am Time to get treatment/taped/stretched/medicated
11:30am Pack up the bus- put stuff on the bus
12:00pm Team Meeting in Coach Castelli’s room
1:00pm Depart for Practice
2:00pm Practice @ Illinois
6:00pm Dinner at the Lindemann home
9:30pm Team Meeting
11:00pm Lights out

8:30am Wake up call
9:15am Depart for shoot around
9:30am Shoot Around
12:30p.m. Pre-game meal.
4:00pm Game time

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