TRAVEL DAY 1
I started off in my same seat as always in the charter bus with Morgan Carlson next to me for this five-hour bus ride to Houston! I busted out some paperwork, put in my headphones and covered up with my blanket. We put in a few movies until we had to stop for an inspection on the highway that took forever! We finally were back on the road and into Houston. We stopped by the hotel to change and then got ready for practice at Rice.
Practice was crazy competitive we stated off with short court, which the coaches played with us. Then we did some game day defense and got into a five game match of Columbus, which is basically 5-on-5 where every time the ball goes over the net we rotate. It's crazy fast and competitive with no blocks! This is the game where people usually get hit in the face! It was two wins apiece where the coaches and seniors were on one side with a few freshmen vs. everyone else. It got down to the last game to 15 and coach decided he's going to make it interesting. He yells out next game wins the whole thing and gets dinner first! Well this sparks everyone's interest because it involves food, and we just really wanted to beat the coaches. It was probably the most competitive set of the match and my team won. We got iced up after shaking hands and went and ate Mexican food for dinner. After dinner we headed back toward the bus and we saw a homeless man walking toward our bus. He walked right up to the door and tried to get on and I turned around to coach Kim running up to him yelling sternly, "NO! NO SIR! STEP AWAY FROM THE BUS!" He replied with, "Well can I ride with you guys?" Kim answered back with, "NO!" We all couldn't believe it! We got back to the hotel a little late and got in bed quickly because we had to be up early.
GAME DAY 1
We all woke up and headed downstairs for breakfast. We had the entire conference room to ourselves. After breakfast we had mandatory study hall in our rooms, which is hard to do because we have to stay awake!! I got a lot of work done...gotta keep up with the classes that I miss. After that we headed out to pregame meal! We usually order our food a few days before and I never remember so it's like a game of what am I going to get today! Haha. Logan Bourque then braided my side bangs back like she does for every game and I heated up my shoulder and back. We take about two hours to prep for games, an hour of getting dressed and dancing and then an hour of warm ups on the court. My Houston fans came out in full force for the Rice match. My sisters, brother, mom and dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and all sorts of friends! Rice is a very fast team with some tall girls. We stayed right up with them but not enough to push ahead and win. Although, we were upset about the outcome we knew we had two very tough matches left to play. We fought incredibly hard, harder than any other match and that has become the new standard for Islanders Volleyball. After the match, we ate some pasta for a carb load before bed!
GAME DAY 2
We woke up at the crack of dawn for our 10 a.m. match and had to eat breakfast before 7 a.m. and leave before 8 a.m. We had a very solid warm up and a good strong match against LSU, but couldn't come out victorious. Although we have had a lot of unfortunate endings the team has grown tremendously with each point! We had a small break in between matches to go see friends and family. My parents were in the stands again, gotta love Houston!
We all came back then to scout UALR. During that match, we learned there were three Bosnia girls over the height of 6-foot-2 and could slam the ball straight down! That match went to five sets and UALR out powered Rice and took the match! We had three hours until our match. Coach was generous and said we could get some fresh air and go walk around the campus! Brianna Brink and I took off together as we always do and walked straight toward some cool sculptures! We headed back after an hour and into the gym for our last match of the weekend! We played UALR in a nail biting five-set match in which we won 15-13! It was the craziest match we have had to date! I was so pumped with the team! It was a great way to end the weekend! We then got back on the bus and headed back to Corpus.
DAY OFF/HOME OPENER
On Sunday, it rained so hard in Corpus that we had a severe weather warning and a flash flood warning. I woke up and went outside to go to rehab with TK, our athletic trainer, but I couldn't leave the house with how bad the rain and flooding was! It was crazy. The water was getting really high on the cars! Valarie Moehrig's exhaust pipe was completely covered and some of the girls were trying to get her out! It was a hilarious scene of the volleyball girls in the pouring rain trying to move cars! So we figured since we were already wet we might as well have some fun! There was a guy with a kayak in the bed of his truck and so I convinced Shayla Maldonado to go and ask to ride it with me! We asked and he took it out and gave us a paddle. We went all up and down the street in the knee-deep water. It was a blast! Shaquinn Parker and a few of the other girls came back and joined in. We were definitely a sight to see! That was one of the best days off I have had in my two years here!
Waking up the next morning I was ready for action!! Going to class was a struggle because I could only think about playing in our home opener. We did our walk-through practice around 2 p.m., we did the normal drills and went through the lineup. We finished and went back to the locker room to get prepared for the game! Coach then came in the locker room for his speech at 5:15 p.m. and then we did our full hour warm-up and drills. He gave us a pretty amped speech and we left in a frenzy of excitement! The match had a record attendance! We couldn't have been happier with that and although the match didn't turn out the way we wanted to we still fought and grew stronger as a team! We can't wait for our next home match and we hope the fans come out with the same excitement as this one!!
Tomorrow we leave for Arlington for the Hilton Maverick Classic. Thanks for hangin' with me and I can't wait to update you after our final pre-conference tournament.