Throughout preseason practice, members of the Minnesota Volleyball team will write daily blogs about their experience gearing up toward the preparation of the 2008 season. Be sure to tune in to the Gold Zone and watch Friday's season opener at Creighton live in the Gold Zone!
August 26 - Rachel Hartmann
I probably don’t need to mention that the breakfast and other meals today were amazing, but I will anyways! Today’s schedule was a little different than usual, and that always makes for an exciting day. After breakfast and lift, the rest of the team had a few hours off while the seniors and Mike made a trip to the Minnesota State Fair. We made our appearance at the University of Minnesota booth along other Gopher athletes. When we were done, we quickly made our way around the fair to find our favorite foods. We made a stop for one of my personal favorites, the funnel cake! The four of us huddled around the plate and made quick work of it before heading back to campus to prepare for our scrimmage. We went through our game warm up and played four sets. We are getting closer and closer to playing an actual match and I can’t wait until we play this weekend!
August 25 - Ashley Suapaia
This morning was a fresh morning with lasts. Today we had our last two-a-day, our last PT, and our last Monday of preseason. We of course started our day off with the amazing breakfast by our favorite people! Then we headed down to our last day of PT (physical training.) We were all hoping maybe since it's the seniors last ever we would be able to play rugby and not have to run. Guess what happened?!?!? We ran.... It was not the killers with dives, so we all were okay with that!! After that we had our normal breathing session before practice.
For our morning session of practice we all felt great from having a day off and ready to dominate practice. Throughout this whole preseason we focused on specific details like posture and have improved on them greatly! Today was a day we made those details crisp! After we did the drills, and planned for the day, we played six-on-six to get the competitiveness going in the gym. Everyone worked really hard and not only had volleyball on their mind, but also moving, school, and much more. The coaches realized we all had other things that were stressing us out and decided to be Gods and give us the afternoon session off!! We all jumped and screamed for joy!!
August 23 - Alex Blatt
Today our morning practice was focused on the small details. Even though the drills weren't very exciting, the coaches said that being disciplined on the little things is what will make us win important matches. We had a longer break today, which was nice and gave us time to mentally prepare for the upcoming scrimmages later on in the day.
The second practice we did our game warm up followed by a series of sets to 25. Today was especially exciting because it was our first ball girl practice of the season. They helped us shag while we scrimmaged, and then after all the playing we introduced ourselves and all of us were assigned to our little sisters. My little sister's name was Nina and she was going into 6th grade and has played volleyball for a year. Her sister was a ball girl last year, so Nina wanted to take after her and decided to be one also. After that we had an amazing dinner, which was probably the best yet-fettucini alfredo. We were all really excited for our day off so that we could get rest and have some time to make it to the State Fair.
August 22 - Ariana Filho
Today was a good day. It started right with being able to sleep in an extra hour and a half. Even if we would only get five minutes to sleep in, the team would jump with joy. We love our sleep. Today was our day to prepare for playing in Hawaii. Our first day of playing in Hawaii we have to play back-to-back. So practice today was adjusted to prepare us for it.
After our late breakfast, we got a little time to hang out in the locker room and mentally prepare. We then had a team meeting about the game, warm-up and preparation. We worked on our actual pre-game warm up. Warming up also included shagging all our balls in between drills. We wouldn't shag all of them in a real pre-game warm up, so this made us really appreciative of our ball girls and all the effort they put into shagging balls for us. They are awesome! Then we went straight into scrimmaging. We played three sets to 25, and each set was a different line up on each side of the net. This was very beneficial for our communication and chemistry. It is forcing us to work differently with other people, and to find the best ways to win with each other. After the three sets, we had 45 minutes to eat and prepare for another game, which is exactly how it is going to be in Hawaii. Bill and Frida had sandwich bags all prepared for us upstairs already. We all thought it was just going to be a basic sandwich but it was so good.
We then went out to play our second round. Little did we know that the 1:15 time set by the coach was actually the time the whistle was going to blow for the game to start. We thought that it meant to be out there at 1:15 to warm up. So we basically all showed up, and then Mike blew the whistle for us to play. We quickly learned that we need leadership, and responsibility to get out and warm up on time. We played three more sets with three more different line-ups.
Another lesson learned was how to keep a good pace on the court. After a good day of playing and working hard we were all ready to get some sleep. It was almost 3 p.m. and dinner was at 5p.m. We all went our separate ways and then came back for our amazing dinner. Tater Tot hot dish, with a special zone diet dessert! It was delicious, and our day overall was very productive!
August 21 - Ashley Suapaia
Today was the normal two-a-day schedule. We had yesterday off, which helped us all be able to rest up and come back strong! Today we started our day off with delicious pancakes, sausage and eggs, and oatmeal. Normally college students think they are going to be eating macaroni and cheese and ramen, but that is the complete opposite! Every meal I would consider a gourmet meal!
After breakfast, we rushed down to get dressed, plus watch some Olympics. After we got ready, we walked over to Ridder to lift with Sara Wiley. We then headed back to practice, which was mainly focused on communication. We had to communicate which balls were which players when the ball was in between us. This slight detail was hard to grasp in the beginning, but we were all able to accomplish this task. The worst part of practice is when you can smell lunch and your mouth starts to water! We all were trying to guess what lunch would be, and Chuck was the winner. We had tacos or taco salad.
After lunch, we were all rested up to continue our hard work out on the court. We have three MAJOR details that we work on through out every practice. The first one is to stay in "go" posture, then IPE, which stands for In-play efficiency, and first to eight and first to 20. The statistics show that the first team to eight has an 83% chance of winning, and the first team to 20 has an 87% chance to win that game. Everyone worked hard to keep our energy high, and challenged each other in whatever we did. We ended our day with a great spaghetti dinner by our favorite cooks!!
P.S-- We are all very surprised how fast the season is approaching. We leave in a week for Nebraska!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
August 19 - Jessica Granquist
Today the coaches rewarded our hard work with extra sleep. We arrived at the Sports Pavilion for breakfast at 10 a.m. Bill and Frida prepared another to die for breakfast like always. After breakfast, we had a two-hour team meeting that went very well. We got a lot accomplished. We were happy to walk back upstairs to eat a wonderful lunch. Then we had off until 3 so some of us just hung out and watched the Olympics while the others slept.
Time flew by and it was time to start practice again. The defensive players and the setters went in early for some extra ball handling work. When it was time for the whole team to practice, we started with our full game warm up like we will be doing before every match.
We were blessed with the presence of Jess Brynes, Erin Martin, and Paula Gentil giving our scrimmage a high intensity level. It was very fun, the gym was on fire and everyone was giving there all. So that concluded a great day of practice and hard work. Now its time to get some sleep and do it all over again.
August 18 - Brook Dieter
Today began with a bang, with the culinary styling of our co-chefs Bill and Frieda. We were served a wonderful assortment of breakfast food such as French toast, pancakes, eggs, bacon, and sausage. Surprisingly, even though our menu is Zone approved our food is simply delectable. Thanks to the wonderful decision making of senior captain Kelly Schmidt we had warm milk today! Only trying to help, Schmidty accidentally turned the temperature of the refrigerator from nice and chilly to boiling lava hot. Oh, and I may have had a hand in this alleged milk excursion.
Next we’re on to my favorite activity of the day: lifting. As we walked over from the Pavilion to Ridder Arena we were greeted with a friendly smile from strength coach Sarah Wiley. Lifting is always a great time for the team because we are able to visit a new venue and get buff.
After lifting, we went straight to practice where we focused on ball control. The entire morning session we were only allowed to use our hands in order to improve our setting skills. Obviously today was a great day to be a setter, and not so wonderful of a day to be a hitter. However, with this new technique we were introduced to new drills, which proved to be quite exhilarating. We had many competitions in which Rachel (Hartmann) and Alex (Blatt) were a hot commodity.
The second practice was spent scrimmaging each other the entire time. The team always enjoys these practices for obvious reasons. I love scrimmaging because it gives us a chance to compete against one another and also work on everything we had learned up until that point. Lastly, we finished off the day with dinner. As always, it was a magnificent feast consisting of Chicken Marsala, Caesar Salad and mixed veggies. Being a mushroom lover myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. All in all it was a fun filled day of great food and exciting competition and I’m looking forward to the upcoming season.
August 15 - Lauren Gibbemeyer
Once again we started our morning off with another great breakfast prepared by Bill and Frieda. We quickly ate and went down to the locker room to change for lifting. After working out to an awesome CD made by Kelly Schmidt, we all headed back to the Pavillion to watch a little bit of the USA/China Olympic volleyball game before practice. The first practice of the day consisted of ball control drills, middles footwork and blocking, and counter attacks. We were all feeling a little tired today, so we all knew we needed to step it up for our second practice of the day.
After eating lunch, I took my usual two-and-a-half hour nap until it was time to get ready for practice number two! We were all excited for our second practice since we actually play in front of people other than the coaches. Although we were very tired during the three sets to 25, we were successfully able to eliminate many unforced errors which is one of our main focuses this season. Finally, after practice we got to shower and go upstairs to the club room to hang out with all our great booster members and of course, eat a delicious meal!
August 14 - Pam Luiz
I came to this team seven days ago, and all i can say is that I am really anxious and excited for the season to start. As a transfer im leaving everything again, making new friends, adapting to the conditions of leaving my previous school and adapting to the new city. Everything has been great so far since i arrived. Practices and conditioning are hard and exhaustive for me right now, but i can not wait to start playing. I dont know a lot about the teams we will play yet, but i think that with intensity and persistance we can go really far this season.
August 13 - Katie Vatterrodt
Today we were back to the gym rested, albeit a little sore, but ready to start session two of our preseason camp. The day started as usual with breakfast. Bill and Frieda have been keeping us well fed throughout camp and are a great addition to our volleyball family. Thanks to their hard work we have a home cooked meal three times a day, and I cannot say enough about how great they have been.
After filling up on breakfast we headed over to Ridder to lift weights with Coach Y. After an hour lift it was back to the gym for our first practice. Practice consisted mainly of ball-control work. Serve receive and defense have always been a top priority for Minnesota volleyball, and it is because of all the time we spend perfecting these skills during preseason. After practice it was down to the ice baths to try to get rid of some of that soreness. Lunch was meatball subs, and they were the best meatball subs I have ever had!
After some downtime in the afternoon we started our second practice session. This practice was an overview of all the different sets that we run as well as some work on blocking. After skill work it was time to play. We played a few six-on-six drills to work on these specific skills before ending practice with a game of six on six. We have been very competitive and played well when we scrimmage. The improving competition in these scrimmages not only makes practice a lot of fun, but it is a great indicator of the progress we are making every day as a team.
August 10 - Kyla Roehrig
We have two of the best cooks ever! Bill and Frieda made us French toast that was zone approved. Who knew that it would taste so good? After breakfast we headed over to lifting. This was our fist chance to get going with the weights. It was a successful morning. After lifting we came back and got ready for the morning session. During the morning session we worked on some defensive moves, coverage, pass and serve, and some competition games. We played three-on-three and it was so competitive. Practice went really fast and it was over before we knew it.
After practice we have mandatory ice baths to help recover our legs. Once again lunch was amazing. After lunch is a time to relax. Most of the players usually sleep at this time, but today we watched the Olympics. Christine, Ashley, Hailey, Arie and I watched women’s beach volleyball China vs. Greece. It was a good game. For the afternoon practice, we got to work on defensive moves and scrimmage a lot. Practice goes so fast before you know it, it was over. For dinner we had game hen. Simply amazing!!! Well I’m off to bed for another busy day tomorrow.
August 9 - Kelly Schmidt
The first day of preseason.... this is always a highly anticipated day for any team. For this team in particular, we have been ready to get this season going since the second our last match ended this past fall. We have trained during the spring, and all summer, with a chip on our shoulder to get our team on the track to where we want to be on for this fall.
It was really exciting to watch all of our progress in the spring. Our team trained much harder, with better attitudes, and with a great sense of team chemistry. We were beginning to look like a team that could do great things. So, today was the day where we got to welcome even more players and more talent to this core group that was developed this spring.
As we went through the day; testing, training, playing, eating together, ice-baths, etc, I felt a sense of urgency today form everyone. I felt a sense of urgency to not only get to know each other and play well, but to play well together as a TEAM. It is always exciting to play with new girls, but it can also be a little nerve-racking.... will they fit in, will they be on the same page as everyone, will they love this place as much as everyone already here? While these questions can be huge ones, these girls that we welcomed in today as Gophers seem to have fit right in and want to make an impact in our gym right away.
It was a great feeling knowing that this team seems to already have great chemistry on the first day! Personally, it felt great to be back in the gym today. You train all summer long to get into shape for volleyball, and when you finally get to be back in the gym with your teammates its such a great feeling. Especially after a day of meetings about desire and goals, it feels so great to be in the gym working towards them. If we continue on the path we started today, by the time these 19 days are over we should be ready to take on any one of our competitors.