VOLLEYBALL BLOG: Elly Raush & Jenna Orner edition (8/29)
What a busy week it’s been! We had two major milestones this week – our classes started on Monday and a few days later we left for our first tournament of the 2011 season. It’s exciting to start classes – that feeling of a fresh new slate is always good, and we all have high hopes academically to continue the strong Dolphin Volleyball tradition of a high team GPA.

We practiced hard during the week in anticipation for our first tournament at Georgia Southern. We left Thursday afternoon, all wondering how Hurricane Irene would affect our travels. Actually, the storm tracked further north, so we didn’t receive any rain or wind. After a four-hour commute, we stormed onto the court Friday in anticipation of a great tournament. We started out strong, beating Montana State in our opener 3-2. It was a great way to begin the season!

From there, things did not go as well. We played many close matches, but none of the remaining three ended up in our favor as we came up short against Stephen F. Austin, Georgia Southern, and South Dakota State. We would have liked to come home with better results, it was a great learning experience. With eleven of the sixteen on the team being freshman and sophomores, we are a young team with huge upside potential. We will take the things we learned from the weekend, make some adjustments, work hard in the gym and come out a better team next time we return to the court. We don’t have long until our next match, which is Tuesday when we’ll travel to Daytona Beach to meet up with Bethune-Cookman. Starting Friday, we’ll face some tough competition as we head to Gainesville to play host Florida, Clemson and Florida Atlantic before finish at Florida A&M in Tallahassee.

This past weekend also gave us a chance for some team bonding. Some of it was great as we enjoyed eating out and having fun together; other forms of bonding will not be remembered with as much enthusiasm as we had some “excitement” on the trip home. After dinner at Moe’s on Saturday night, we got in the vans to head back to JU. Elly already hadn’t been feeling too great and when suddenly a very bad smell came over the van, she and Jenna decided to hold their noses. The coaches said we were passing a paper mill and that is what caused the terrible smell, but you have to remember that we had eaten burritos for dinner… so you never know!

Before long Elly threw up, causing quite a commotion in the van. Coach (John) McCallum pulled over quickly just in time for Chunia (Graves) to jump out of the van where she also through up. Coach (Shaun) Kupferberg got more than he bargained for as a volleyball coach as he helped the girls out of the van and their teammates helped clean them up. It was some true team bonding and we made it back safely to campus after taking the little detour.

Off we go to a week of hard work in the gym, and more team bonding, whatever form that comes in!

-Elly Raush & Jenna Orner