The season hits its final week, November is with us, and the change of season requires a change of character. A cold and windy day, a team missing important players, a long ride on a Sunday (huh?) all offer a chance to find excuses for less than strong performances. It is just not so easy to run out and play as it has been all year. We need toughness, resilience, and no excuses. No one is crying for us out there: we are the big guys on the block. Our trip to Hotchkiss blessed us with these lessons, and we struggled a bit with our challenges but met them well. A 4-1 victory over a solid Hotchkiss group was earned with a variety of scorers, a generally solid defense, and players stepping up into new roles as called for by the injury bug and the missing teammates. An auspicious start with great ball movement and Skittles’s usual early goal turned to shock when she went down minutes later screaming and was carted off in pain. It could have been an excuse to shrink, instead it was a call to grind it out anyway, and the spread offense and balanced scoring did her honor, getting us to a 3-0 halftime edge. The 1-1 second half was good, too, as we moved people around a bit and tried to keep our several banged-up but willing players safe and sound. Toucan and Melman got the other goals, Wall-E had a few great plays coming out of her net, and Simba played gamely in pain. Lots to like on a challenging day, we will now see what comes of our long list of wounded this final week.