December 14, 2013
Hey Stanford family and friends!
Checking in from Lexington, Ky., where it is whopping 36 degrees with an expectation of snow tomorrow. You could say us California inhabitants are a little chilly out here in the Midwest, but no one has suffered frost bite yet!
This week has been easily the craziest of the year. Our team split into two groups to make the journey out here to Lexington. The first group, the not-so-lucky group, left campus at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning in order to make it to the hotel before 7 p.m. to take a final exam! The second group departed at 9 a.m. and was a bit more relaxed given that half of that group was mostly finished with finals. Brittany and I, being members of the second group, took luxurious snoozes on the first flight! We slept the full four and a half hours! It was much needed.
However, the majority of the team was taking finals at the hotel out here in Lexington while also preparing for our big match against Minnesota. Poor Madi had all three of her finals on the road on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. By the time Friday rolled around, half the team was suffering from delirium after studying so much. Inky was running down the halls of the hotel singing Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" while nearly tackling me and Rachel in celebration that her finals were finished. Crazy? I think yes.
The good news is... finals are done!! Now the anxiety of waiting for the grades to get back sets in... in my opinion, that's the worst part! Despite how tough this week was physically and mentally, our team was very prepared for the match against Minnesota. We knew they were going to be very physical and very different from what we are used to, but we held our own and battled. Now we face Penn State in the Elite Eight! We hope that you all watch on ESPNU tomorrow afternoon (1 p.m. PT) and support your Stanford Cardinal as we are a match away from going to the Final Four!
Keep following us on our journey to Seattle!!
December 5, 2013
Hello Stanford friends and family!
Checking in really quickly during the most hectic time of the year! Both playoffs and finals are right around the corner and there is a lot of studying to be done!
Last Friday, we celebrated our four seniors that have contributed so much to this program. I just want to take a quick second to thank the seniors for everything they brought to this team. I could write paragraphs about each senior, but I’m only given such a limited amount to write.
Rachel, we will miss how you can quote every line to almost every movie. You were a very strong leader and always made sure everyone was on top of their business. Thank you for all of the laughs and keeping this team in order. We would have been lost without you!
Mel, I still don’t understand how you don’t think Will Ferrell is funny, but besides that, you always would encourage our teammates to do the right thing. Your contagious laugh will be missed and I hope that you will continue to send us all your legendary snapchats.
Lydia, you were always such a diligent and hard worker in the classroom and on the court. We will miss hearing you sing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. You are going to rock in the finance world next year!
Carly, we will miss all of the weekly invites to Philz Coffee shop to study. Your competitive drive inspired all of us to work harder on the court and to become the best we could be. We will miss all of the outrageous activities, comments and other quirks that you brought to the team.
After our game Friday night, we had to sit and wait around until the NCAA selection show on Sunday evening. We learned that we will be hosting the first and second rounds and then, if all goes well, we will fly out to Lexington, Ky., for the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight. We have a tough road ahead, but I think our team has gotten into a nice rhythm. We have seen how great we can play and I think we will work very hard to play at that peak throughout the tournament.
Besides all of the volleyball that is going on, we are laboring through finals. Some of us might have to take our final exams on the road, which is not ideal, but those situations are not in our control. Luckily, I will be able to finish my finals before we would head out to Kentucky! I think we are all looking forward to finishing the quarter and just focusing on volleyball.
Due to the fact that I am frantically working on my last problem set of the year, I am going to conclude this blog and leave you with a strong encouragement to follow us during the tournament! I will be blogging from Kentucky and Seattle if all goes as planned!
Thank you for all the support!
November 29, 2013
Dear Stanford Friends and Family,
Happy Thanksgiving from Stanford women’s volleyball! I hope everyone enjoyed their time with family and friends as we all feasted on turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, biscuits, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie! Given the tradition of this holiday, I thought I’d share a few things that I am thankful for.
First and foremost, I am thankful for another day to be alive and healthy. Next, I am thankful for my family. I feel so blessed to have been raised by my amazing parents alongside my older brother. I am thankful for Stanford and the amazing opportunity of being a student-athlete at such a dominant athletic and academic university. I am thankful for my teammates, who have become my best friends. And lastly, I am thankful for my little chocolate lab pooch, Mowgli, back home who brings our family so much joy!
So this week was supposed to be our Thanksgiving “break”, but there wasn’t much of a break involved. We played Friday night and beat the Cougs! It was the 800th career win for Coach Dunning, congrats! We then had the weekend off, which most of us spent watching football and catching up on sleep. The only real day off we had was on Monday. Monday we didn’t have any classes, but we still had practice and weight lifting. We worked really hard in practice to prepare for our trip out to Arizona.
Since it’s the holidays, all of the flights are extremely expensive so the best deals we could find to fly to Tucson were in the morning. Yep, that means we departed campus at 8 a.m. during our Thanksgiving “break”. However, once we arrived in Tucson, we were given time to dedicate to studying and/or sleeping.
Tuesday night, we ate at the Claim Jumper as a team and enjoyed a long meal together where we learned that Mel was offered a job in San Francisco! We tried to convince the coaches to help celebrate this big deal by ordering a few pieces of chocolate cake, but I guess we weren’t persuasive enough because no chocolate cake ever made it to the table.
Back at the hotel, Morgan and I discovered the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit marathon on TV. Big mistake. I didn’t get any work done! But that’s okay, we still had plenty of time left during the week to dedicate to homework and studies.
We woke up nice and early on Wednesday morning to squeeze in a practice and get the feel of the arena. If you haven’t been to Arizona, let me tell you something, it is DRY! We needed a water break after every drill! Later that night, we took it to the Wildcats and came out with another sweep!
After the match, we convinced the coaches to let us go to Chick-fil-a or In-n-Out for our postgame meal. Most of us went to Chick-fil-a and it was delicious! Shakes, chicken sandwiches, lemonade, waffle fries, etc. It was a great way to end our last conference road trip. We were all so excited to get back to Stanford where we could enjoy our Thanksgiving meals with our friends and family.
Everyone had a different plan. Some of our families came out and some of us piggy-backed off of a teammate. Jordan and her family spent the day in the city. Ivana spent her FIRST THANKSGIVING with her roommate. The Boukathers, Kennedys and Kelsey all spent the day together, and I heard things got a little crazy and competitive during the games they played. Rachel went home and was visited by Inky and Madi who were Thanksgiving nomads, stopping at different friends' houses, taking advantage of the free food. Brittany ventured down to Carmel to eat with her cousins. Mel and her entire family spent the day with their good family friends in the area. Merete and her family traveled to Half Moon Bay and ate at a local restaurant. Megan’s mom flew out and spent they spent the day together. Carly and Lydia’s families also came out to celebrate. So we were all over the Bay Area wolfing down meals!
Yesterday, was another great Thanksgiving with my family. My brother lives in the City (San Francisco) so my family spent the day cooking, watching football and overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge before we devoured my brother’s 18lb turkey. Taylor and I took care of the turkey while my parents did the mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, pumpkin pie, and rolls. All the while, we had Hootie and the Blowfish on the Pandora station in the background with a bottle of Martinelli’s (for me) and wine for the rest of the family. After dinner and washing dishes, we played a few games that made us laugh so hard we almost saw our meals for a second time! I couldn’t imagine a better, more Gilbert-style Thanksgiving. We ended the night with the movie Zero Dark Thirty and I felt pretty darn proud to be an American afterwards.
Now that the festivities are over, it’s back to business. We have a big match against Cal in a few hours and its Senior Night! It’s hard to grasp that this is Rachel, Mel, Carly and Lydia’s last conference match in their Stanford careers! It seems like yesterday that they were hosting Morgan and I on our official visits. Come out and support our seniors as we celebrate all of their contributions to the program!
God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving!
November 21, 2013
Hey Stanford friends and family!
This past week and a half has been very exhausting as we spent 10 of the past 12 days on the road! Once we returned from Utah and Colorado, we left two days later for Oregon! Oregon, though, is a trip we look forward to every year.
We arrived in Eugene on Wednesday afternoon and squeezed in a quick workout before heading to BJ’s for dinner. When the coaches left BJ’s to return to the hotel, a few of us lingered and called over our waitress and ordered Pazookies! If you don’t know what a pazookie is… well… that’s a shame. A pazookie is a half-baked cookie topped with ice cream! Oh my goodness, it is heaven on a platter! We devoured a few pazookies and felt no shame.
After dinner, we returned to the hotel where we spent time doing homework by the amazing fireplace at the Valley River Inn while drinking hot tea and wishing it was Christmas.
The next morning, we all gathered at breakfast and I had one of the more embarrassing moments of my life. I took a little spill… and when I say little… I mean big and loud. In my attempt to refill my bowl with Frosted Flakes, I was trying to crawl behind a few teammates in a corner booth. So I was on all fours, looking like a five-year-old, crawling behind Kelsey, and finally reached the end of the booth! I then attempted to swing my leg around, but it never made it to the floor. Instead, all my momentum was going forward, but my legs were stuck behind me and I went face first into the ground with a loud crash. Everyone started laughing, including Cal’s women’s volleyball team that was sharing the dining room with us.
Later that night, we took on the Ducks. Oregon is a very fun place to play. Their court is unique and they always get a good student section there. Oregon challenged us like they always do, but we stuck together and grabbed the victory!
The next morning was the moment we were all looking forward to: breakfast at the Pancake House! My goodness. There were all sorts of pancakes going on. We had chocolate chip, coconut, pecan, Swedish, Dutch babies, Apple Pie pancakes, tons of home-fries, scrambled and sunny-side-up eggs, toast, omelets, and more! The coaches planned it perfectly so that we had a solid 5 hours to digest before our next active event. But, pretty sure we were all still feeling our breakfast at dinner.
Speaking of dinner, after we wolfed down our pancakes in Eugene, we hopped on a bus and drove to Corvallis! From there, we drove another 45 minutes into the middle of nowhere and enjoyed an amazing dinner at Carly’s family’s house! Pulled pork with pretzel buns, beef stew, plenty of salads, breadsticks and more were all on the menu. While we ate, Inky made friends with Tucker and Rosie, the two family labradoodles and Brittany hung out with the cats! It was another great family visit with an amazing meal!
The next day, Saturday, we spent preparing for our match against Oregon State. Our focus and determination paid off as we came out of there with a sweep! After our match, Rachel, Inky and I sat in the lobby with my parents and Rachel’s mom for a few hours exchanging childhood stories. I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard. Hearing tales of Rachel and Inky as little kids was a great way to end the night and the trip.
It felt good to have another two wins under our belt as we traveled home to then prepare for our matches against Washington and Washington State.
Monday and Tuesday were tough days of practices while we concentrated on our upcoming match against Washington. I think we all upped our focus level because we knew just how big of a match this was for us. Beating a top 5 team would really make a statement for our team and let the nation know that we are still a threat.
I guess this week just wasn’t my week, though, because Tuesday night, the night before our big match against Washington, was a night to remember. As I was diligently working on a problem set with a few classmates, I decided to call it quits around 11 so I could get some good rest for the next day. I offered my classmate a ride home, as she lived so far across campus, but I forgot that my gas tank had been on “empty” for the past week. As we were driving, my steering wheel suddenly locked and my gas pedal was not working. I ran out of gas in the middle of campus in the middle of the night. But, huge thank-you and shout out to Stanford baseball’s Wayne Taylor as he pushed my car 200 yards to the nearest parking lot so that I wouldn’t get (yet another) parking ticket for not having the correct permit.
So I returned to my room around 12 a.m. and hopped into bed, only to be awoken by the blare of the fire alarm at 4:45 a.m. Jordan, Carly, Mel, Rachel, Morgan and I all live in the same apartment complex, so we all suffered for 20 minutes outside while we waited for the fire department to determine that it was just a prankster yanking the alarm and ruining everyone’s sleep.
To add to the goodness of the past 12 hours, Wednesday happened to be the first rain (or torrential downpour) of the year. None of us were expecting it so we all showed up to pregame meal looking like wet rats, with ruined UGG boots, drenched clothes, and sopping hair. Despite the hectic and wet day, we took on the Huskies and swept them! A huge win for us! I have never played in a match where the entire team was so focused on every single point. It felt great out there on the court and now it’s our time to get into rhythm. Perfect timing as it is just around the corner for the NCAA Tournament! A huge shout out to Stanford men’s and women’s gymnastics for their support on Wednesday night as they distracted the Huskies!
Good luck to women’s soccer down in L.A. for its second and third rounds of the playoffs! Come back with a few victories and a bid to the Final Four!
Come support us as we take on Washington State this Friday! This will be another big challenge for us as WSU just beat USC. Our conference is coming to a close so make sure to come watch us play our second to last home conference game!
November 12, 2013
Hey Stanford family and friends!
Last week, I wrote about the great adventures that Colorado entertained us with back in 2011. Well, this year was no different.
We departed from the Stanford campus last Thursday at 2:15p.m. As we were driving off of campus, we stared with sad puppy-dog eyes at all of the football fans tailgating and preparing for the big game against Oregon taking place later that night. It’s no secret that our team was super bummed to be missing one of the biggest football games of the year… but duty called. However, being the dedicated fans and supporters that we are, nothing was going to stop us from watching the game whether we were on a plane, bus, or in the hotel lobby. A few of us bought the TV connection on the plane where we watched the first quarter. As soon as we jumped off the plane, we slowly walked to baggage claim and stopped at a few restaurants to glance at their TVs. We then hopped on the bus and gathered around two laptop screens while we watched the second and third quarters. Finally, we arrived at the hotel where we sat in the lobby until we watched the final seconds of the clock tick to zero and all of our fellow students rush the field! You can call us some dedicated fans.
The next day, we began preparing for our match against Colorado. We knew Colorado was undefeated at home so far this year and we had a tough match ahead of us, but we took it to them and stayed tough.
After the match we all went back to the hotel to get some good rest, which wouldn’t last long. Tthe hotel fire alarm started blaring at 11:30 p.m. and the entire hotel had to evacuate. Our awesome bus driver, Chris, was kind enough to open the bus for us until the chaos ended.
The next morning, our journey was to continue in Salt Lake City, Utah. But Colorado wasn’t done with us yet. As we all gathered in the breakfast area, Inky spilled the news that one of our freshman, Grace Kennedy, mistakenly drank Inky’s contacts that morning. Grace shared that she knew the water tasted soapy, but for some reason, downed the remainder of the cup of water, which was really contact solution and Inky’s contacts. Luckily, Inky was smart enough to bring an extra pair of contacts so that she wouldn’t be blind for our next match against Utah.
We arrived in Salt Lake City in the afternoon, squeezed in a quick work out and then hopped on the bus to spend some time at Grace’s house in Deer Valley, Utah! But Colorado STILL wasn’t done with us. In the Denver airport, the TSA agents reran Ivana’s laptop through security screening, but we were in such a hurry to get to our gate that Ivana left security without her laptop! But she took care of things and her laptop should be returning to Stanford’s campus shortly.
When we arrived in Deer Valley, Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy prepared an amazing meal for our team while we played ping-pong, finished homework and watched the LSU vs. Alabama game. We were all cheering for LSU to take down No.1 Alabama, but unfortunately luck was not in LSU’s favor. Later on that night, Madi passed on a message from her dad, who is an Alabama alum, saying “ROLLLLLL TIDEEEEE”. Deer Valley was another amazing “hometown” visit and made us all crave Christmas even more because of the mountain scenery!
Sunday morning, we all woke up bright and early as we had a Noon match that day. While we were eating breakfast, a man was eyeing all of our luggage in the lobby for a while. It turns out, he tried walking out of the hotel with Kelsey’s suitcase! Luckily, Jay chased him down and stole it back, but weird and creepy for sure.
The Utah game was another solid win for the Stanford Cardinal! We returned home safe and sound as we prepare for another week of traveling. This time, we are headed up to Oregon, another team favorite destination. We will be visiting Carly’s family and eating breakfast at the Pancake House on our day off!!! We do a lot of damage whenever we get the opportunity to go there for breakfast! We are very thankful to our coaches that they allow us to eat at such a wonderful place.
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for you this week! A quick shout out to our amazing bus driver in Colorado. We had a great time with you Chris and appreciate that you opened the bus so late at night to save our ears from the fire alarm!
Watch us on the Pac-12 network as we take on Oregon on Thursday. We are also playing at Oregon State on Saturday, but it will not be televised. Thank you for all your support! I will check back again next week with the adventures Oregon has in store for us.
November 6, 2013
Hey Stanford friends and family!
Yet another busy week on The Farm has flown by!
After our game against USC, we were all pretty tired from the two-and-a-half hour match. However, it was a night full of career-highs! Madi, Brittany, and Jordan all career-bests in various categories in the very intense match that, unfortunately, didn’t go our way.
However, knowing that Halloween practice was just around the corner excited us all! Another Stanford women’s volleyball tradition that we all look forward to is Halloween practice. Everyone wears their costumes to practice and we trick-or-treat through the Arrillaga Family Sports Center. We go around all of the different athletic teams’ offices and stuff our cheeks full of Kit-Kats, Milky Ways, Snickers, etc. Most of us try to keep our costumes a secret until the revelation because it provides that much more suspense and excitement!
The four seniors thought it would be hilarious to dress up as the coaches… and they were right. Carly dressed as Coach Dunning, Mel dressed as Denise Corlett, Lydia dressed as Kasey Crider, and Rachel dressed as Nina Holley. They were spot on! Literally, Mel and Denise showed up wearing the exact same outfit and Carly could have easily passed as John. Lydia even completed her outfit with the classic Kasey side-swoosh styled hair. They could not have done a better job!
After the excitement of Halloween practice, it was back to business. We prepared for UCLA and took it to them! After the match, we had another weekend off which was spent recovering from a very tiresome week. It is a rarity that student-athletes find time to “relax” when they’re in season. If you’re not practicing, you are either in treatment, physical therapy, class, doing homework, studying, eating, or sleeping. So, the few off-weekends we receive, we treasure and soak it up!!!
I spent the weekend sleeping and spending time with my family. My brother lives in the City (San Francisco) so I am fortunate enough to be able to visit with him a good amount of time. Last weekend, we grabbed our laptops, hopped in a taxi across town and worked at a small, hidden coffee shop in the City. It was fun to be able to spend some time with my big brother even if our eyes were glued to our computer screens the majority of the time.
This week has been pretty tough so far. Practices have been very demanding physically and mentally, but we are continuing to get better in every aspect.
We are headed to Colorado and Utah this weekend, which we are all excited about! The last time we were in Colorado we had a bit of a bus disaster. Let me explain. In November 2011, the Stanford women’s volleyball team boarded a charter bus upon arriving in Denver. It is a bit of a drive from Denver to Boulder, but we were able to enjoy the beautiful snowy scenery. Things were going very smoothly until we made a wrong turn... into an apartment complex. Normally, wrong turns are an easy fix… when you’re in a car… but we were in a bus… in a cul-de-sac. You would think, “Oh, just back out”. Well another vehicle happened to follow us into the complex and parked on the narrow road, so we were stuck. We spent an hour in this tiny cul-de-sac maneuvering in every which direction. This pickle eventually lead to our bus driver nearly clipping a car, almost running into a building, and finally backing into a fire hydrant leaving a hole with a 12-inch diameter in the side of the bus. It was quite the adventure and I hope Colorado has more adventures in store for Stanford women’s volleyball this year!
Watch us on the live stream against Colorado and on the Pac-12 Networks as we battle against Utah this weekend!
October 29, 2013
Hey Stanford friends and family!
In honor of Halloween, this week’s blog will take a slightly different approach. I will fill you in on the highlights of the week and will conclude with some “spooky facts” about the members of the Stanford women’s volleyball program!
Last Wednesday we took on the University of Oregon Ducks. The Ducks played some crazy good defense and kept rallies going when we didn’t expect them to. We stayed tough though, and earned the win in the end.
If you attend our games, you know our tradition of dancing with the band after every match. Well, I am not the type of person who likes to be the center of attention and dance in front of hundreds of people so I try to stay toward the back and mind my own business. So, as we are dancing around and clapping, I suddenly hear “Give the stick to Kyle!” My immediate thought is “Oh no”. I turn my head to the right and see Brittany Howard starting to make her way toward me with a big smirk on her face. Naturally, I started running but there was nowhere to escape to. She picked me up and placed me dead center in front of the band with the stick in my hand (see blog photo). I was forced to face my biggest fear and I survived. Revenge will soon be mine, though.
The next day, our assistant coach, Jay, needed a sitter for his dog, Bochy. Of course, he picked me for the job! Bochy and I spent the day roaming around the campus, chasing squirrels and meeting a ton of new friends (even a celebrity)!
On Friday, some members of the team and I filmed a commercial (that you will see very soon). We aren’t the best actresses in the world, but I think our fans will laugh and appreciate our effort, as well as cheer really loud for Stanford volleyball!
Another tradition our team enjoys is Professor Appreciation Night. Each member of the team invites one of their professors to join us for pregame meal, watch film in the locker room and sit in preferred seating at our match. Last week we had Bill Durham, Sam Chiu, Cathy Haas, and Andy Hammann all join us on game day! Cathy Haas was probably the most interesting because she teaches sign language. A few of our teammates took her class and it was awesome to watch everyone communicate through motions! I wish I hadn’t already finished my language requirement, otherwise I would have definitely taken Professor Haas’ class!
After we took on the Beavers, we were given the entire weekend off! Two whole days to do whatever we wanted!! So, I studied for another midterm. In fact, half the team had a midterm on Monday so we were all in different coffee shops in Palo Alto grinding it out (pun intended).
Now that midterms are over, we are all focused on our match against USC on Wednesday. It will be another tough match for us and we are hoping to get a big crowd! So come support your Stanford Cardinal and wear PINK to support all those who have been affected by breast cancer!
Now, the moment you all have been waiting for… Spooky Facts about your Stanford women’s volleyball team!
Lydia Bai knows just about every line to every comedy movie that exists. She also can sing “I Will Always Love You” about as good or better than Whitney Houston.
Carly Wopat can be seen riding around campus on a shark. Last year, she made a skateboard that looks like Jaws. (But we don’t allow her to ride it during season)
Morgan Boukather has no bones. Her body can configure into impossible positions. Sometimes, I don’t understand how she can get back up after she does the matrix to avoid getting hit by a ball.
Kelsey Humphreys has the loudest voice I have ever heard. She sings “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with more soul than all the Temptations combined. Kelsey and Grace fight like cats and dogs over shampoo and conditioner as well.
Rachel Williams has the most contagious laugh on the team. She can also recite every line of the movie Remember the Titans.
Ivana Vanjak received a package from her mother containing 15 pounds of chocolate. She also makes fun of how our team wears our game socks: “Its so American”.
Megan McGehee enjoys eating hardboiled eggs with Nutella. Megan is also the tech-wizard on our team who is always up-to-date with the latest and greatest software.
I (Kyle Gilbert) was nicknamed “Gogurt” by a camper and it stuck. I am also the team dermatologist.
Inky Ajanaku has blown up her kitchen twice. She has the scariest, most mischievous sneer this earth has ever seen… she is always up to trouble.
Brittany Howard, Inky’s counterpart, is always the quickest to snap blackmail photos of her friends. She is also always the quickest to crack a joke and she enjoys eating donuts from Jimmy V’s.
Merete Lutz likes rocks. She’s thinking about studying Geology.
Grace Kennedy is a diehard Walking Dead fan. She wants to be a zombie hunter when she grows up. Her nickname is Gra.
Mel Luck is part of a very small population on this planet that does not find Will Ferrell funny.
Madi Bugg loves donuts. She also won a huge golf tournament in my backyard this summer. Madi has the biggest bed on the team (California King).
Jordan Burgess loves volleyball. She also loves going to the Farmer’s Market every Sunday to buy fresh fruit and strange fruit.
Well there it is! Come watch us take on USC and UCLA this week: Wednesday at 7:30 and Friday at 8 in Maples Pavlion! We need your support!
October 22, 2013
Hey Stanford Friends and Family,
I’m writing to you as I take a much-needed break from studying for my first midterm! My midterm is conveniently scheduled to take place just hours before our match against Oregon tonight. It’s crazy to think about how much studying has been going on the past few days between classes and volleyball. There is so much information to acquire and all of it is critical, whether it be on the court or in the classroom.
Anyways, we just returned home from our annual trip to the Washington schools. We arrived in Spokane on Thursday night as our three-day “weekend” began. Friday morning, our team woke up early for breakfast and finished up some homework before we road-tripped out to Pullman. For those of you who have never ventured to Pullman, I will gladly share that it is the epitome of a small town where the university is the heart beat keeping it alive. On our drive out to Pullman, we somehow managed to get stuck behind a giant tractor/truck going up hill at a max speed of 20 mph for a period of time. We saw plenty of farm houses, cows and empty rolling hills. These sights are so rare, yet intriguing, to our team since we are located in the tech capital of the world. We finally arrived at WSU, took care of business, and hopped right back on the bus and went back to Spokane.
The next morning we ate some breakfast and headed over to the airport as we boarded our flight to our next destination: Seattle. I, personally, love Seattle. This is the perfect time of year to visit because of the beautiful colors of all the leaves and the crisp weather outside! Our program is lucky enough to have a very hospitable alum in the area who invites us over for brunch and football! Shane Kim played on the men’s volleyball team a few years back and now resides in Seattle with his wife Dana, and their kids Sarah and Eric. In my time at Stanford, our team has visited the Kim’s house twice and both times have been highlights of the seasons. We arrived at the house and ate some delicious homemade banana bread, blueberry muffins, sausage patties and links, frittata, fruit, coffee, and more! While we were enjoying our savory meals, we watched our football team dominate UCLA! A few of us sat outside under the heat lamps with the big screen in front of us. I couldn’t have imagined a better day.
During commercials, Carly, Inky, Brittany, Merete, Kasey and I had a competition. The Kim’s have a huge deck that overlooks their outdoor basketball court. So, of course, what do we do? We decided to have a competition to see who could sink the first shot into the hoop off of the balcony. Inky consistently recited “Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up! It’s bobsled time!” before every shot hoping it would help. It didn’t.
After a solid 20 minutes, Carly Wopat was the first to drain the 40-foot shot. And then Brittany followed. The competition got a little heated and some smack talk was thrown around. I’m pretty sure I told Brittany we weren’t friends anymore, but we made up over a bowl of peanut M&Ms. A special thanks to our permanent rebounder, Kasey Crider, who sat under the hoop and returned the ball to the five of us, over and over again until we tired out. We couldn’t have had as much fun as we did without him.
A huge thank you to Dana and Shane Kim! It was hard to leave the Kim’s house but I hope we can return again next year! After we gave our bellies a little time to digest, we headed over to UW for a quick practice.
Later on, our team was given a few hours to roam around the amazing shopping center down the street from our hotel. A few of us did some serious damage at a few shops and came home with new wardrobes, but what can you expect from a group of 15 girls? Brittany, Madi, Rachel and I sat down to a nice dinner at a deep-dish pizza joint. The pizza was great, but the best part was the 10-inch, freshly baked, chocolate chip cookie. That meal is a highlight every year.
The next day was game day. We started focusing and strategizing early on to prepare for the big match. It was another great match with Washington that challenged us. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win but we know we are capable of playing better against them the next time around.
We returned home disappointed yet encouraged to get better. We always have to remember that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and that getting better each week is our number one priority to help us reach our ultimate goal. This week, we picked out specific areas to focus on and I definitely see us improving each and every practice.
After practice yesterday, we needed some comic relief. Our two stooges, Brittany and Inky, cooked up a plot to scare a few members of our program. We have a laundry bin in the locker room that has a lid that can be opened and closed very easily. So Inky climbed in while Brittany helped indicate when a victim was close. When Brittany whispered the code work, “Bazinga”, Inky popped out and terrified the innocent passerby. Kelsey, Grace and Rachel were all victims of Inky and Brittany’s plot. Rachel then tried to lock Inky in the laundry bin from the outside, but just wasn’t quick enough, otherwise Inky probably would still be locked in the bin right now. But, they weren’t done. They just had to go for the top of the food chain: Coach Dunning. Brittany asked John to observe the moldy towels at the bottom of the laundry bin, and as he slowly walked toward the bin, Inky jumped out and nearly gave John a heart attack. Just another day for the Stanford women’s volleyball team.
Come support us as we take on the Oregon schools this week! October is breast cancer awareness month so make sure to wear pink to support all those with or affected by breast cancer!
October 15, 2013
Hey Stanford friends and family!
It is midnight and I’m checking in from the Huang Engineering Center in the Engineering Quad (aka my favorite building on campus). Its only the fourth week of school, but midterms are around the corner so late study nights are upon us! I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but this week I might need to succumb to the caffeine itch.
This past week has been yet another busy week on campus. Between classes, office hours, practice, weight lifting, scouting, and managing some sort of social life during season, we really start to appreciate the glimpses of free time that rarely comes our way. My favorite activity to do when I’m passing time between classes is people-watching at Tressider Union. At Stanford, there are always interesting people walking by or events happening during every hour of the day.
Today, I experienced something comical, at least in my opinion. I sat for about an hour at the outside tables at Tressider. I was sitting right next to where most students park their bikes when they go to eat lunch. Well, it just so happened that a few of the bikes were not locked to any racks and could very easily be knocked over. Throughout the hour, I witnessed seven different people knock over the same three bikes while trying to maneuver around them. The first time I noticed, the sound of falling bikes startled me, but as it kept happening, I started to chuckle, giggle, laugh, and then I finally reached the point of shaking my head in disbelief. Over and over again, students would have to put down their backpacks, coffee cups, smoothies, books, cell phones, mechanical engineering projects, etc., just to pick up these three bikes that were so inconveniently parked. Those are the little things in life that give me so much joy. So, cheers to whoever parked their bikes so terribly, you made my day!
Anyways, last weekend we had two great matches against Utah and Colorado. Both teams are dangerous and have beaten good teams in the Pac-12. We could not overlook them. We handled both matches very well. To say it simply, we played Stanford volleyball. I think one of the main reasons we played so well is because on Monday we watched film of our USC match, which was absolute torture. From that experience, we decided, along with the coaches, to turn things around. The word we chose to focus on last week was “effort”. I think our team increased our level of effort tremendously and it was very evident last weekend.
Leading up to the Colorado match, our team has a tradition of doing “buddy gifts”. This is a very creative system in that we rotate surprising a teammate with either their favorite candy, or a note, cupcakes, or cool toys, etc. This week Lydia surprised me with a huge bucket of cheese puffs (check out the pic on Instagram)! I, unfortunately, have the appetite of a twelve-year old boy so my teammates always buy me candy, gold fish crackers or other snacks that sixth graders would eat. Anyways, I love my cheese puffs and I paraded them around during pregame. But don’t worry, I didn’t open them until after the game!
After the Colorado match, we had autograph night. It was amazing to see how many fans come to support us while we signed autographs for a straight hour! So to all of those who waited in line, thank you for your support! You guys help energize us with all your cheering and presence.
Also, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to the band and the tree! You guys are seriously the best! You bring so much energy to our matches and keep the crowd entertained. I even catch myself singing to some of the songs sometimes when I need a mental break from the game. I just wanted you all to know how much we appreciate your support!
This week we’re off to the Washington schools. Seattle is my favorite location to travel to so I am stoked for this trip! Both matches will be challenging for us so make sure to watch on the Pac-12 Networks and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
October 8, 2013
Hello Stanford family and friends!
It is yet another beautiful day on The Farm! There isn’t a cloud in the sky, the sun is shining and it’s a perfect 75 degrees out. I’m checking in at my lunch break at Tresidder Union, where a large amount of the student population enjoys their lunches while listening to the bearded saxophonist play some soothing jazz. This moment is just another reminder of how blessed I am to be at this awesome school playing my favorite sport!
Before leaving for LA, we had just two days to practice. In those practices, our team was able to experience something very inspiring and motivating. Stanford alum, NCAA champion, Olympian, and Stanford Hall of Fame inductee Logan Tom practiced with us! For those of you that aren’t very aware of the volleyball world, this is the equivalent of having Lionel Messi, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, or Kobe Bryant playing right alongside you. It’s a pretty big deal. Logan has a great sense of humor and is such an amazing player to watch and play with. It’s hard not to be star struck when she’s passing right next to me.
We arrived in LA on Tuesday night and immediately cracked open the books in order to keep up with all of the classes we were missing last week. We missed three full days of class, forcing us to learn new material on our own. These are some of challenges we have to face as student-athletes, but we learn to be disciplined and how to manage our time wisely.
Wednesday was split between schoolwork and volleyball. In the morning, we were given a few hours to dedicate to homework and studying, but at 1p.m. we closed the books and began to watch film and talk strategy. A few hours later we headed out to our pregame meal at my favorite restaurant- California Pizza Kitchen. It’s a team joke that I eat there for almost every meal, but it’s pretty accurate. Every chance I get to order CPK take out, I do it. After we filled our bellies with BBQ chicken chopped salad, cheese pizzas, tortilla soups, club sandwiches, etc., we headed over to UCLA for the match.
The match went better than expected. We played very well as a team and things clicked. After we won, we didn’t waste anytime. We jumped on the bus, headed back to the hotel and began studying USC.
The next day, we woke up and headed over to practice at USC. John had us do some serving, passing, blocking and running some offense before concluding practice and driving down to Newport Beach. Like I said in a previous blog, one of the perks of our program is going on hometown visits! This time, it was Morgan’s turn. We hopped on the bus and drove to the Boukather abode.
When we pulled up, sitting outside to greet us were Moose, Samson, Teddy and Bernard. These are the names of the Grace, Kelsey and Morgan’s dogs that also attended lunch at the Boukather’s house. After saying hi to the pooches, we walked into the house and straight for the chips and guacamole! We then destroyed the taco bar that the Boukather’s so kindly prepared for us and proceeded to feast on cookies and ice cream for dessert. Lunch at the Boukather’s was another one of those special team/family get-togethers that we always look forward to. The Buggs, Ajanakus, Williams, Kennedys, Humphreys, and Bais were all there as well. Lydia’s little brother, Julian, was in some type of Star Trek/Ninja Turtle battle that none of us could figure out. I’m pretty sure a few of us had limbs cut off by one of his make-believe weapons, but no one but Julian really knew what was happening.
After mingling with the families and being attacked by invisible spaceships, it was picture time! Our team gathered around a sandpit on the golf course that Carly wrote “Stanford Volleyball Rules” in. Just as we were about to take the photo, the sprinklers came on! Just imagine 15 girls running and screaming because of these big, bad sprinklers spraying water and getting our hair wet. It was chaos for about 30 seconds.
The next day we spent doing more homework, consuming an alarming amount of food, and preparing for our match against USC. The game didn’t go in the direction we were hoping for, but USC is a very good team. They exposed areas we need to strengthen which is actually to our benefit. The good news is that the Pac-12 is a crazy conference and it is rare that teams go unbeaten. This loss has only given us more motivation to improve our side of the net and it will be exciting to see how much better we will be in a few weeks!
We returned to campus Saturday morning and were given the rest of the day off as well as Sunday! I spent my weekend shopping, sleeping, studying, and watching our football team beat Washington! Something new that Stanford has created is a student tailgate on the soccer practice field before the football games. A few of us attended the tailgate which was so much fun! There was music, corn hole, and tons of food! Fun fact: Brittany and I are corn hole champions, we didn’t play at the tail gate, but if Stanford had corn hole as an NCAA sport, there is a possibility that we would be the best team in the country.
Well that’s all I have for this week! We have four days to prepare for our matches against Utah and Colorado this weekend at home! Keep following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
September 30, 2013
Hello Stanford family and friends!
I have successfully survived the first week of school! Something you might not know is that the first week of school is the most dangerous time of the year. Why? Because of all the new freshmen learning how to ride a bike on campus. I am not sure of the exact statistic, but there are plenty of bike accidents. There are two ways to avoid a catastrophic crash with a freshman. The first, the one I have resorted to, is walking to class. The second is identifying a freshman by noticing a Stanford lanyard around their neck and biking in the opposite direction. Lucky for us, every player made it through the week unscathed!
Another reason why the first week is so dangerous is that all students return to campus and bring germs! It is not uncommon to get sick the first week of school as Inky already caught something and was kind enough to pass the sickness on to me. The good news is that we both have gotten our sicknesses out of our systems so we should be good to go the rest of the year! A few highlights this week include our matches against Cal and Arizona State, and football’s game against Washington State!
We learned that Inky would not be able to play in our match against Cal on Wednesday. She is a key offensive player for us and we knew being without her could affect us greatly no matter who the opponent was, but Megan stepped up and did an amazing job. She led both teams in hitting with a .562 attack percentage. What a stud. This just shows how much depth we have and how we support and play for each other. The icing on the cake was that we defeated the Bears in their house. Being a Stanford student-athlete, the most satisfying feeling and sweetest taste in your mouth is beating Cal.
After a quick celebration, we had to prepare for ASU. The Pac-12 is a strange conference. All of the teams are so competitive that anyone can beat anyone on any given day. Earlier in the season, we lost to Texas in four. ASU then swept Texas the following week. We have to take every team seriously and prepare for them like it’s the national championship. So, that’s what we did. We prepared for their fast offense and their 3-4 combinations. Our preparation paid off as our blockers had a hay-day at the net. We served tough and passed well and we ran our offense. It’s no secret though that ASU is a dangerous team.
After the match against ASU is about the time I started to not feel well so I spent all day Saturday on the couch watching college football, drinking tea and smoothies. It was awesome watching our boys demolish WSU. What a cool opportunity they had playing in the Seahawks stadium! Aside from Jordan Richards’ pick-six, one of the best parts of the game was this guy WATCH.
This week we head down to my favorite half of the state, SoCal, to play UCLA and USC. These will be two huge matches for us! Be sure to watch on the Pac-12 Network and follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@stanfordwvb)!
September 23, 2013
Dear Stanford family and friends,
Sunday was a wonderful day because it was the first day of fall, the greatest season of the year! Why? Well, we have football, pumpkin spiced lattes from Starbucks, we can wear boots, and the leaves are beautiful! But, it also means that we are starting school today. I have mixed emotions about that part.
Last week was much more mellow for Stanford women’s volleyball. We moved into our permanent housing last Sunday on our day off, and what many people don’t know is that moving is actually an extra weight lifting session. After we moved in on Sunday, we resumed practice and preparation for our upcoming games.
Tuesday morning we helped all the incoming freshmen move into their dorm rooms. Although it was a very early morning (7a.m.), it was really encouraging to be able to welcome the new students to campus and see the excitement in their faces! Men’s basketball, men’s water polo, men’s swimming, our training staff and other members of the department helped out as well!
Last week was very exciting for our four freshmen! They finally met their roommates and the rest of the students in their dorms! The first week at Stanford as a freshman is very unique. There are plenty of activities planned out, lectures to attend, performances to watch, fountains to be hopped, etc. I am so excited for all the fun our freshmen are about to experience and to finally become a part of the family!
Wednesday we played Cal Poly. It was another good match for us as we continue to learn how to play together. Again, we didn’t have much time to celebrate because we were in the weight room early the next morning. Our practice that afternoon focused specifically on the Saint Mary’s offense and how to stop the quick outside sets. In our match the next night, our preparation paid off as we won our fifth straight match!
Saturday we had a quick lift and then all attended the football game against ASU! Despite the torrential downpour, the game was awesome! The Red Zone was packed with students and was very loud. Our team played great and pulled out a decisive win against a very good team.
We finally had a real day off on Sunday. I spent the day finishing up some details for my apartment, getting my nails done, relaxing, and baking cookies! Some of my teammates were lucky enough to attend the Colts vs. 49’s game in San Francisco!
That’s all for this week! Wish us luck on our first day of school and for our two tough matches this week! We play at Cal on Wednesday and then home against ASU on Friday. Come support!
September 16, 2013
Hey Stanford friends and family,
Another exciting week to be a member of the Stanford women’s volleyball team! We landed in our nation’s capital on Monday afternoon and headed to our first scheduled event which was… wait for it… a trip to the laundromat! We spent a solid three hours at the local laundromat washing all of our gear while watching the Eagles play the Redskins. After washing all of our gear, we finally headed to our hotel. Upon arrival at the Double Tree, a brown bag filled with 40 of Double Tree’s famous cookies was waiting for us at the front desk!
The next morning, we woke up and fit in a two-hour practice at Georgetown University before heading over to the CIA Headquarters. What an incredible experience that was! Our tour just touched on the surface of things because, of course, it’s the CIA and everything is top-secret, but it still was awesome just being there. We even saw Osama Bin Laden’s personal gun that he was found with during the raid!
Wednesday was a jam-packed day full of lectures, tours, and dinners. Our first stop was the Supreme Court. We roamed around the museum for a little and read about Stanford’s very own Sandra Day O’Connor who was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court! We then attended a lecture where we learned about some of the specifics of the courtroom. After the Supreme Court, we reluctantly walked all the way across the street to the Library of Congress. I say reluctantly because it was way too hot for any human to be outside, but we survived the 50-yard journey without heat stroke!
Before our tour of the Library of Congress, we were fortunate enough to have Dr. Amy Zegart, a Stanford Professor and a fellow at the Hoover Institution, present to us her thoughts on why 9/11 occurred. Her thoughts were more about how members of Al Qaeda were able to slip through the fingers of the CIA and FBI because of a lack of communication. The fact that was most eerie and discomforting to me was that the hijacker of flight 77, the plane that hit the Pentagon, was living in San Diego, my hometown, before the attacks. However, on a lighter note, listening to Dr. Zegart was very thought provoking and an absolute privilege! We then toured the beautiful Library of Congress. It is astounding to think that the Library of Congress has two copies of every book, movie, comic strip, etc.
After our tour, we walked down into the basement of the Library of Congress into an underground tunnel system to reach our next destination: The Rayburn House. We wolfed down a three-course meal that consisted of tomato basil soup, salmon with veggies and a choice of cheesecake or tiramisu! By far the best meal of the trip! While we ate, New York Congressman Christopher Gibson spoke to us about the events in Syria and his opinions regarding the possibility of the United States military strike. We then had a Q&A session and the Congressman answered any question thrown his way. He was a captivating speaker who had the ability to relate to every individual in the room, I was extremely impressed! Dinner with the Congressman was an awesome way to end a very long, yet incredible day.
Thursday was a day that was more dedicated to volleyball! We woke up nice and early (4 a.m. PT) to go to our first practice in the Pentagon! We were told to leave 30-45 minutes in order to get through security… they weren’t kidding. It is safe to say that the Pentagon is very, very secure. We were told to bring two pieces of identification and phones were prohibited. If we were caught taking a photo, we would be fined $500 and our phones would be stripped of all memory… so we left our phones at the hotel just to be safe! The Pentagon was insane. It had seven food courts, candy shops, nail salons, flower shops, a Best Buy, a CVS, and much more! You could basically live there if you had the right badge. We finally reached the gym and had a short practice before we toured the area where flight 77 hit.
Being a third grader at the time, it was hard to really understand the extremity of September 11. But walking through the halls of what once was complete destruction made that event much more personal and emotional. Reading the names of those who lost their lives going about their everyday business by serving our country was disturbing. Our tour guide explained that if the plane hadn’t bounced off the ground before hitting the Pentagon, a lot more damage would have been done. After the tour, I now have a better understanding of just how amazing this country is and how blessed I am to have been raised an American. We will never forget 9-11-01.
After the tour it was time to get down to business! We took on Air Force and beat them in three! It was a smooth match and we took control. After our game, we had a banquet with all four teams participating in the tournament. Yale, Air Force, Army and Stanford players intermixed while we ate and learned more about each other’s college experiences. I thought that being a student-athlete at Stanford was difficult, but after hearing the Air Force and Army girls talk about their everyday lives, I reconsidered. During the banquet, all of the seniors on each team spoke briefly about their teammates. To put it short, it was a very impressive crowd. From accepting a job offer from J.P. Morgan to building missiles to playing volleyball professionally overseas… it was a room full of smart, athletic, hard-working girls!
The next day we played Yale in the morning and Army in the afternoon. Both games were great competition. I especially enjoyed competing against Yale because I know a good amount of girls on that team! I played with/against three of them and one of them is my neighbor! After our victories, we hopped on a five-hour bus ride to attend the football game the next day!
Saturday morning, we enjoyed an amazing breakfast of omelets, waffles, fresh fruit, potatoes, muffins, cereal, COFFEE, and more. We then arrived early at Army to go on another tour! Holy cow, that place was a military playground! There were three helicopters on the ground, five tanks, and huge cannons that were all open for climbing on and, for us, pretending like we were actually in battle using our everyday artillery. It was so cool, I didn’t want to leave!
Leading up to the game, all we (most of us) could think about was rewarding ourselves with a hot dog and dip n’ dots at the football game. We waited patiently… not really… in line for our reward and proceeded to our seats. After we finished wolfing down our self-awarded hot dogs as if we hadn’t eaten in weeks, we then cheered on our football boys as they helped Stanford go 2-0 against Army that week!
Wow! What a week! Now it’s time to prepare for our upcoming matches against Cal Poly and Saint Mary’s on Wednesday and Friday, respectively! Be sure to come cheer us on!
September 9, 2013
Hello again Stanford family and friends,
This past week has been full of some great excitement combined with some… well… tough learning experiences.
We returned from Santa Barbara late last Friday night and enjoyed a luxurious day off on Saturday. Our team took advantage of this rare opportunity by lounging at the pool, taking over some shops in downtown Palo Alto, cheering on our fellow fall athletes at the field hockey and soccer fields, and sleeping.
However, our freshmen weren’t able to relax as much as they would have liked because they had to prepare for the annual Fall Athlete Dance-Off! Every year the fall athletic teams (women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, field hockey, men’s soccer, and men’s water polo) require their freshmen to choreograph a dance to entertain the upperclassmen. Each dance crew is judged by a member of each team sitting in the audience based on the 1-10 scale, the scores are added up and a winner is then named. Our freshmen killed it again this year as we took home our second consecutive Dance-Off Championship!
However, that wasn’t the only excitement of the week. Monday night we were lucky enough to have dinner at Brittany’s house! Brittany’s parents prepared an absolute feast for 15 mouths with large appetites. But, the chocolate ganache cake was definitely the highlight for me. I’m not ashamed to say it, I went back for a second piece… and maybe a third. Anyways, our team has recently come to enjoy the game of ping-pong; we might even have some future professionals on the team. The ping-pong table was set up for us in the backyard, and despite the rain that was sprinkling down, we competed. Unfortunately, Amy and Kasey already had a few games under their belt allowing them to barely squeak past Brittany and I resulting in our loss. But, we will schedule a rematch in the near future and will have our revenge.
Wednesday night we hosted the University of Pacific Tigers for our home opener. We loved playing at home with so much support in the stands! Our entire football team was there, as well as women’s soccer, field hockey and men’s soccer. So thank you to all who were there cheering us on!
After our victory, we didn’t skip a beat. We practiced the next morning to begin preparing for the Nike Big Four Classic in Austin, Texas. We hopped on a plane very early Friday morning and were welcomed by the sticky humidity that is nonexistent in California. It took a few drops of sweat to get used, but it wasn’t so bad. Inky said it was nothing compared to Oklahoma.
Once there, we attended the Nike Big Four Classic banquet that was held in the Texas football skybox! Greeting us outside of the stadium was none other than Bevo, the Texas mascot!
Unfortunately, he was only there to look at, I really wanted to pet him. We took an elevator up a few floors to get to the skybox and when the doors opened, everyone’s jaw dropped at the sight of the Texas stadium. I knew Texas loved their football, but holy cow (pun indeed intended)… this was the most amazing stadium I’d ever seen. After taking pictures, we sat down and enjoyed the famous Tex-Mex everyone always hears about. It didn’t disappoint at all. The queso was on-point and the guacamole had a little bit of a kick that was delicious with the steak fajitas! The banquet continued as one member from each team was called up to answer some questions. Carly was our spokesman and represented Stanford very well. We left the skybox with very satisfied tummies and in need of some sleep for our match against Florida the next day.
Both matches against Florida and Texas were great learning experiences for us. The matches were close and could have gone either way, but we know what we need to work on and the areas where we need to improve. All that said, we are excited to get back in the gym to get better in order to take home that big trophy in December!
Our final night in Austin, we were dropped off on 6th street in downtown Austin to search for some Texas BBQ or Tex-Mex to appease our bellies. A group of us walked a solid mile and a half to find the best ribs in town. We were very successful and left the restaurant with sticky hands and BBQ sauce on our cheeks.
It is now Monday and we are all on the plane headed to Washington D.C., which I will update you with next week! We are going to be doing some really awesome things so be sure to stay tuned and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (stanfordwvb)!
Thanks to everyone who journeyed out to Austin to cheer us on! Especially the army of Buggs that made up 75 percent of our fan base! Have a wonderful week!
August 30, 2013
Hey Stanford Fans!
I hope everyone is ready for the 2013 season! Our team has had a solid start as we just clinched our first win against UC Santa Barbara. As most of you already know, Santa Barbara is the hometown of our very own Carly Wopat. One of the many benefits of our program is that our coaches try to schedule games in the hometowns of the players.
This trip was unique, though. Normally when we travel to games, we get on a plane. This time, we got on a bus for four and a half hours. But I’m not complaining, I actually really like driving and going on long road trips. On the ride down, we had some snoozers, a lot of movie watchers, and tons of snackers. Rachel was nice enough to share her diverse collection of DVDs with the team. Lydia and Grace watched Star Trek, Carly watched The Shawshank Redemption, and Brittany and Rachel watched Drumline. For everyone who made the mistake of falling asleep, photos were indeed documented to use as blackmail in the near future. And Jimmy V’s provided a snack-pack for our drive down complete with, not one, but TWO cookies!
Once we arrived in Santa Barbara, we went straight to practice. The Thunderdome, UCSB's gym, was very cool. It was old school and all wooden. During every practice, there is always an unplanned moment of comic relief... most of the time including Inky. This time was no different. We were consumed in a very competitive drill when all of the sudden Inky slipped on a sweat puddle. If you can picture how cartoon characters fall when they slip on puddles…that’s exactly what Inky looked like. Luckily she was fine, but it was a moment that I won’t forget for a long time.
After practice was the moment we had all been waiting for: Dinner at Carly’s house! We drove all of three minutes to arrive at the Wopat home where we were greeted by Mama Wopat’s famous bear hugs. I’m going to be honest and say that her hugs are the best hugs I have ever received in my entire life. Carly also has some awesome pets! She has two dogs, Kona and Keko, and a cat named Kiko, and plenty of chickens. After mingling with the friends, family and animals, it was time to eat.
Dinner was amazing. The menu consisted of teriyaki chicken, BBQ tri-tip, baked beans, brown rice, salad, tons of fruit, rolls, and more. The best part though was dessert. Chocolate-chip brownies with powdered sugar on top. There must have been 50 brownies that were an inch and a half thick. So delicious!! Just in case you weren’t aware, our team loves food and we get very excited for home cooked meals!
The next day we woke up early, had some breakfast and headed over to the Thunderdome. The UCSB match was a great start for us. We won in three sets and stayed tough the whole time. We have a long road ahead of us, but it will be a very exciting process as we get better each and every day.
Thank you to the family and friends that were in attendance at UCSB! We had a wonderful, supportive crowd and loved your energy! We are on the bus once again and I am going to pop in my headphones and catch some Z’s! Keep following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!