Riverside put on a great AVP tournament this past weekend. With only 3 months of prep time to get ready for us, the city did a good job. The tournament was held in a park and parking lot near the Riverside Convention Center.
It was a scorching hot weekend. Friday was mild with temps in the high 80s, but each day it got significantly hotter. Sunday, my car thermometer read 101 degrees. I love playing in the heat and that is certainly what we got.
Tyra and I arrived in Riverside on Thursday evening in time to get in a light practice. We then ordered room service, showered up and went to sleep. We had to be up early Friday morning for the KTLA morning show with Gayle Anderson. We made our appearance there and then started our preparation for our first match of the day.
We played two rounds on Friday. Our first match was against a new team to the Main Draw from Florida, Flarity and Sweat. We won 21-9, 21-16. Our next match was two hours later against Paige Davis and Brooke Langston. We won 21-10, 21-10. That was it for Friday.
The next day, we had a 12 noon match against DeNecochea/Dodd. We had to be at the top of our game against this team. They are big and physical, like us. We came out a little shaky and fell behind. We were down 9-12 at the time out. We pulled ourselves together and came out of the time out strong. We made some big plays which earned us points. We pulled ahead and took the first set 21-19. The second set, we controlled our side of the net and took care of every opportunity we had. We got a big lead, up 20-14 and closed it out. It was a big win. We did not play our next match until 8:45PM that night.
It was hard to gear up for the night match. I usually go to bed on the early side, so getting amped up to play at 8:45 was a challenge for me. We lost two very close sets 19-21, 18-21. I could not pass a perfect ball to save my life! Yes, they are one of the best serving teams in the world, but I can usually pass pretty well. This presented us with problems in our side out game. We scrambled pretty well, but we just did not have a consistent side out game going. We were disappointed, but it was our first loss, so we were still alive. I had that night to stew over it, but I had to be ready to play again the next morning.
We went back to the hotel and tried to get to sleep right away, but neither one of us could. We had to get up and play at 9:30 the next morning. I tossed and turned for quite awhile going over play after play in my head.
The next morning we played my old partner and friend, Brooke Hanson and her new partner, Lisa Rutledge. Brooke is such a good player. She had to sit out the 2008 season after having her shoulder reconstructed. She is back at 100%. She led the tournament in digs with an insane amount per game. This will definitely be a team to watch this year.
We came out strong and jumped to an early lead and pretty much kept our pace throughout the match. We won 21-12, 21-16.
An hour later, we played Kessy/Ross. We did not play our best match. We lost 16-21, 18-21. I made stupid mistakes and was not aggressive. It is frustrating, but I did learn a lot about this team that you can only learn from playing them again and again. While Tyra has played them over 15 times in the last 2 seasons, that was my 3rd or 4th time. It is frustrating to lose, but Tyra and I have played in only 2 tournaments together. The first was Panama City which turned into a single elimination event and we only played 3 matches. Riverside we played 6 matches. We only have 9 matches under our belt as a team. We will get better. We are still figuring each other out.
In other news, we added a new member to our team a few weeks ago. We hired Canyon Ceman as our new coach. Canyon retired after last season and was attempting to move into the job market. Even with a Stanford education and multiple Masters degrees, he is having a hard time finding a job in the current economic climate. Lucky for us, he loves the sport and is not ready to step away completely. We have worked with Canyon for the last 6 weeks or so and we really like what he adds. We will be taking him on the road, which is great news for us. I always think having a coach on your bench is a big advantage.
We were supposed to be competing in Brazil this week, but I have a knee injury that needs some rest. Nothing too serious, but a week off was the doctors recommendation. We are home and taking the time to recover and then we will hit it hard to get ready for San Diego. Valley Center, California to be exact, in San Diego County at the Harrah's Rincon Casino.
On a completely separate note, my husband, Jeremy Akers, tried out and made the team of Notre Dame Football Alumni traveling to Japan this summer to compete against a team of Japanese All-Stars at the Tokyo Super Dome! I am so proud of all his hard work to get in shape for the tryouts and for his commitment to continuing his training for competition. He is blogging about his experience. You can follow it at www.onemoregame.blogspot.com.
Lastly, I was asked to write about what my diet looks like in a typical day. I did it and if you are interested, you can take a peek here.
That's all for now!