Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Few things can get your blood pumping like a college rivalry game. Whether you are a player, coach, or fan, there is just something unique about a rivalry game. The Berry-Shorter volleyball rivalry is alive and well despite our move to NCAA Division III and out of the SSAC. This past Wednesday, we had the opportunity to play this game in front of our home crowd.
We had an enthusiastic home crowd, and our team gave them their money's worth as we defeated Shorter in four sets. As a coach, it was extremely rewarding to see their hard work rewarded with the victory. They improved in each of the areas we had specifically addressed in practice last week, and they played with composure, focus, and enthusiasm. Here are a few highlights from the match...Enjoy!
Up next...senior night versus Brenau and our final tournament at Emory where we will meet four quality opponents and hopefully put the capstone on a great season!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
One of the great things about college athletics is the opportunity that our team has to travel and experience interesting things together. For our fall break this year, we planned a trip to Florida to play in a single match and a tournament. In addition, we had the opportunity to do some community service AND spend some time at the beach. It really can't get much better than that, can it?
So, we headed out late Wednesday after practice and drove halfway to our final destination of the Tampa/Clearwater area. The first half of Thursday was spent traveling the rest of the way. Then we had a chance to eat lunch at La Tropicana Cafe in Ybor City to experience some authentic Cuban food and spent a few hours getting over the travel by playing some putt putt golf. The competition was fierce, but a good time was had by all. That evening took us to a match at Florida College. It was quite obvious how the Falcons won the USCAA National Championship last year as they attacked relentlessly and kept us out of system most of the night. By the third set, we finally looked like we had showed up to play, but it was too little too late.
After we finished playing, we headed to Indian Rocks Beach where we would spend our next few days while we were competing. It was more cost efficient to get a couple of condos than to stay in a hotel (especially when we factored in the ability to cook our own meals - a special thank you to Mrs. Quinn for doing all of the food prep during our tournament days!), so we had the great fortune of finding a great deal right on the beach. However, we would not have time to enjoy it for the next two days, as we would play five matches in two days making six total in a three day span of Thursday to Saturday.
After a three set victory over Carlow College on Friday morning, we faced a very strong Clearwater Christian College (having won nine NCCAA national championships since 1995 and the last five out of six) on their home floor. The match turned out to be a great one. We eventually fell in five sets, but there were great plays made on both sides and emotions ran high. Perhaps the toughest part was that we had to turn right around and play a third match against Trinity College of Florida. Despite exhaustion (both mental and physical), we managed to find our discipline and focus and beat Trinity in four sets.
Saturday brought even bigger challenges as we would face Point Park and St. Thomas with what felt like very little time to recover from the two previous days. I was proud of our team for leaving it all on the floor, but in the end we succumbed to both teams in four sets. While we did not walk away with the wins that we wanted, we did walk away having been tested and pushed to our limits which I know will pay dividends down the stretch.
Saturday evening and Sunday gave us much needed time to rest and enjoy family who had come to support us. We had a great cookout on Saturday night by the beach as we watched the beautiful sunset, and celebrated Claressa's birthday with a cake that her parents brought to share.
In keeping with Berry's motto of "Not to be ministered unto, but to minister," we had prearranged to spend Monday morning doing some community service in the area. We spent our time at Thurgood Marshall Middle School doing a volleyball/teambuilding/mentoring session with a group called Girlfriends which aims to promote self esteem, education, and confidence in at risk girls. I am not sure who had more fun, us or the middle school girls! We are continuing that connection by establishing pen pal relationships with these girls, and I am so excited to see how our team can have a positive impact from afar.
Monday afternoon was spent playing doubles on the sand with no absence of competitive spirit! Kiersten and Stephanie can certainly claim to be Queens of the Beach for this trip as they consistently defeated all challengers. It was a great way to finish a weekend of good competition, quality team time, and enjoying the beautiful weather and the beach.
Here are a few of the moments Kiersten captured on the trip...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Our week started out with a road trip to northeast Georgia for a rematch against Piedmont College. It was a bit of a long trip for a weekday game, but we managed to come home with the victory in 4 sets. I will not say that we played our best volleyball, but our team definitely showed its ability to be resilient and win points when it mattered.
The rest of the week was spent getting papers and midterms done and then preparing for a big home match against Maryville and enjoying Mountain Day! For those of you who have not experienced Mountain Day, it is Berry College's version of homecoming. There are nonstop activities, alumni galore, and lots of sporting events to show your Viking pride. As a coach, there is always the concern that your athletes will be overtired and stretched too thin to adequately prepare for the match. However, this edition of Berry Volleyball showed that they were more than ready to play in front of their home crowd again. They beat a well coached Maryville team in four sets with four different players finishing with double digit kills. Perhaps the most satisfying part of the night was coming from an 18-22 deficit in the fourth set to tie it at 23-23 and then go on to win 25-23. Our fans certainly got their money's worth that night!
Here are a few pictures from the Mountain Day activities (including the march).