VOLLEYBALL BLOG: Ashley August edition (10/10)
Monday, October 3
5:12AM-Awaken for lifting
5:54AM-Depart for lifting
6:00-7:00AM-GET BIG!

Coming back from a 1-1 weekend, we knew we were in for a week that demanded our full mental focus as well as self discipline on and off the court.

Right before practice on Monday, we had a quick team meeting. The key word from the coaches was “Simplify”. With all of our minds racing, this was the perfect way to begin practice for the week. Each player had their goals clearly in front of them so we each knew what we needed to work on and make improvements on.

Both Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s practices flew by as each player did their best to stay focused on what they needed to change and improve upon the most. Each one of us had our ‘eureaka!’ moment, and was able to feel what discipline is supposed to feel like. Ending practice on Wednesday, we were eager to employ our new improvements on the court against ETSU and USC Upstate.

Thursday, October 6
8:00am-Depart for ETSU

With a long bus ride ahead, we all joyfully placed our cell phones into the size 10.5 Nike shoe box with hopes of experiencing great team bonding. A few hours in, a group, including Coach Shaun, decided to play Catch Phrase. I would like to report that the team of two seniors, me included, as well as Coach Shaun, lost the game. It came down to the last round and absolute last seconds.

As we stopped for dinner, we gazed to our right and our eyes lay upon a hill. Remember in geometry class how 90 degrees is perpendicular? Well this was approximately at a 76 degree angle. Coach (Christina) Diaz and Shaun looked at each other and both just began walking towards this steep, steep hill. We knew that it was on! With trainer Cindy’s (Bennett) camera rolling and Alliya’s (Drzewiecki) count down, Coach Diaz and Shaun bolted up the side of the hill! I will not say who won, but it was a great race! Both coaches did well.

After awakening the next morning to a breakfast of champions of bagels and Gogurts, followed by study hall, we headed to our first practice in ETSU’s gym. Before even leaving the parking lot, Coach Diaz had us all pumped by blasting our teams favorite songs. Nicole Teplitz turned the aisle of the bus into her own catwalk and strutted her famous dance moves. Cari Whitmire joined in as well as did Kendall Courtney doing the jerk. We arrived to the gym in style listening to ‘The Way You Make Me Feel,’ with Ms. Chaunia Graves doing her unattainable impersonation of Michael Jackson. For those of you who haven’t seen this, please, I’m begging you, please come to a home game and watch during our warmups; this girl has some serious skills! DJ Diaz was fantastic and we felt that this was the perfect way to relax and simplify.

The victory at ETSU was sweet, but as Shaun said, “it means nothing if we don’t win on Saturday”. USC Upstate is a solid team that really does a good job of being aggressive and keeping the ball in the court.

The loss on Saturday truly frustrated not only the coaching staff, but the team as well. With a truly heartfelt and encouraging speech in the locker room from Cari, each and every one of us felt a new passion. Even if it was just for a moment, we all felt our passion for the game reignite and in that moment we were all on common ground. No statistics, no coaches, no classes, just us looking to make a change so that we can work together as a team, to promote and encourage each other to reach our potential.

After the long, long ride back to Jacksonville, Coach Shaun said it the best: “this week is over. We have a big week coming up and we need to move on.” As Coach John always says, “etch-a-sketch it”.

Our next home game is this upcoming Friday, October 15 at 7pm. Hope to see you there and Thank you all for your support.

- Ashley