January 7, 2002
Well Stanford Fans, what an unforgettable journey this season has been for
all of us. Reflecting backward, the Final Four is a mere microcosm of our entire
experience over the past months. This year, weve run the gamut of emotions;
we accepted that sentence at the beginning of the year, when we committed to
our goal of excellence. Overall, our team holds our heads high weve
done some amazing things this fall. Most importantly, this season has been fun,
and has taught us all a great deal about volleyball and life. Before I get to
the specifics of the volleyball, though, I must include a glimpse of what we
were lucky enough to experience in New Orleans.
Right when we arrived at the baggage claim, rather haggard after a long days
journey, we were all greeted with southern accents, big smiles, and Mardi Gras
beads. Our hosts did a fabulous job welcoming us, as well as taking care of
us for the next few days. After getting our bags, we hopped onto our bus, and
panicked. Flashing police lights, everywhere! But not to worry, we were just
getting a police escort back to the hotel. Needless to say, that made us all
feel pretty special so as not to forget the moment, we made sure to get
pictures with the police officers and cop cars before they left. Once at the
hotel, there were more beads, as well as a brass band playing for us. What a
Over the next few days, we ate great meals, saw the sights, and did some practicing.
The night before competition, we attended the Audubon Zoo for a fabulously put-together
banquet. Held in the elegant Tea Room, this banquet honored all of the athletes,
coaches, and others involved in this outstanding NCAA tournament. Overall, it
was a beautiful event, and we all felt very honored.
Now on to the competition. In general, the facilities were excellent, and the
tournament ran flawlessly. This made playing against such tough competition
even more exciting. As most of my teammates would agree, we couldnt have
asked for a more intense grouping of teams what a strong final four!
It was wonderful to play in a venue with that kind of energy, and each team
brought all they could to the court.
As most would agree, playing in that environment after months of hard work
is a very intense experience; it takes nerves of steel, a true relentlessness,
a great amount of teamwork, and some luck. All of the teams were great match-ups,
and we were proud to make it to the last match. Although our team never gave
up, USC pulled away as the better team that day, and won a good match 3-1 to
win the 2002 National Championship.
Certainly, this was not the ideal way to end the season, but we are trying
to reflect on our season philosophically. We cannot look at our loss as the
summary of our season; instead, it is just the ending of a great experience
that will motivate us all the more for next season. One of the amazing things
about sports is that you get new chances to start over, with different players
and dynamics, every year. After going through three seasons, Ive learned
to love the process of finding a fresh team core that rises to the years
challenges valiantly, as our team did this year.
Finally, we as a team all feel honored to take part in womens athletics.
It is truly amazing how much we can touch young girls lives, so that they
may have positive, strong role models, and consequently gain confidence in themselves
and their athleticism. Without a doubt, what we do at Stanford Volleyball is
incredible. Thanks to all who participated in this unforgettable experience,
and go Cardinal.