Oh boy... where to begin. I am trying to forget this past weekend as quickly as I can, so here is my last attempt to rehash before I move on and put the weekend way way way behind me. From that sentence I am sure you can tell it was not a great weekend, volleyball-wise, for me and Tyra. We struggled from start to finish. Boy was it UGLY! Before the volleyball began, we did have some fun moments worth mentioning.
We arrived at the Harrah's Rincon Casino and Resort on Thursday evening and grabbed dinner with Hans Stolfus, Anthony Medel, John Moran, and Annett Davis. Tyra, Annett, and I pretty much listened and laughed the entire dinner. Those three guys are highly entertaining. They have opinions on pretty much everything so we shared quite a few laughs and had a great time.
Tyra and I did not have our first match of the tournament until Friday afternoon at 3:30. We tried to sleep in, but an unhappy, screaming child in the room next to us provided an early morning wake up call. We took our time getting ready and eventually made our way out to the courts which were across the street. We still had quite a few hours to kill, so we watched some of the women's matches and then moved around on the practice court.
Our first match was against Paula Roca and Heather Lowe. It had to be the longest match of the tournament at 1 hour and 15 minutes. The first set, we were down big pretty early. We made a late set rally which pulled us in close, but we lost 19-21. That momentum helped us win the second set 21-14. However, they adjusted and came out battling. We traded early leads, but were neck and neck at 13. We served 5 match points before finally winning 23-21 in the third. We were relieved to escape this one with a victory.
We only played that one match on Friday. Afterwards we watched Brooke Hanson and Lisa Rutledge play against Ashley Ivy and Lauren Fendrick. Brooke and Lisa were amazing. Lisa is putting up a great block. She is averaging 2 blocks a game. That is the same as Phil Dalhauser. If she isn't blocking the ball or getting a good touch on it, Brooke is digging everything else! This team looks really good. They made the final by beating several very good teams. They are definitely a force to watch out for!
Saturday, we did not play until 1 in the afternoon. We had Dianne DeNecochea and Carrie Dodd. I thought our funk from the first day would be done and gone, but it was there to stay. We started off this match making some good plays, but absolutely killed ourselves by making 11 errors as a team in the first set! The second set was not much better. We made 9 errors. You cannot beat good teams making that many errors in a match. We lost 18-21, 18-21. We moved to the Contenders' Bracket.
Our next match was against Ivy/Fendrick. We were still struggling. We were down early and had to chase from behind. At the end of the first set, we were able to set up a few points and win 24-22. The next game we started out with a lead but blew it. We were tied around 17 and then we came up with some plays to finished it out. Tyra had two huge blocks and I came up with a dig and transitioned it out. We won 21-17.
We had to play again right away against the Lindquists. One would think that two big girls like me and Tyra would have no problem against this team, but we did. We came out smashing the ball in the first set and won 21-15. The second set we tried to overpower them by hitting it hard at them. That is one thing you cannot do against that team. They are not afraid of hard hits! To beat them, you have to hit perimeters away from them. We did not do that and we lost. We had our opportunities, but did not capitalize on them.
We finished 7th place. I am extremely disappointed in that finish, but it is a long season and we have plenty of opportunities to improve.
After we were eliminated, I stuck around the tournament and watched a few more matches. It is hard to stay after a bitter loss, but I figured it would be a good humbling experience.
I was shocked to learn the news on Sunday that Holly McPeak is done. The San Diego Harrah's event was her last one. She will continue to do the television announcing, but she is hanging up her bikinis. She talked about retirement all last year, but when she started this season I did not think she would ever find the right time. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to play with Holly last season. She is such a great competitor and a wonderful friend.
On the men's side, I am so happy and excited to see Jeff Nygaard back in the winner's circle with John Mayer. This was Jeff's 8th win overall and first since 2005. Congrats to Jeff and John!
We have an off weekend coming up and then we have three tournaments back-to-back. We start off in Houston, then Tyra and I will be missing Huntington Beach in order to compete in the FIVB tournament in Osaka, Japan, then we fly to Atlanta. The summer is just getting started and I hope to see you somewhere at the beach!
On a side note, if you are looking for other players' blogs to read, here are some of my favorites:
Hans Stolfus - http://www.hansstolfus.com/
John Moran - http://www.provolleyballlifestyle.com/
Todd Rogers - http://toddjrogers.blogspot.com/
Also, if you are an Xmen fan, go see Wolverine-Origins. Awesome! It's summer blockbuster time and I am excited!