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    Bri Breaks It Down - Vol. 3

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    WE'RE HOME!

     

    Hi Seminole fans! So it's week three on my blog and this is going to be a very exciting one! Us Lady 'Noles were finally back in the comfy confines of Tully Gym and I couldn't wait to play on Lucy McDaniel Court again! We practiced all week preparing ourselves for the two matches we would play: Miami and Notre Dame. Friday came around and it was Match Day - we wore our new t-shirts that our marketing department gave us that say, "Volleyball Match Tonight! See You in Tully!" and we got a lot of people asking about our match! It all started with the Hurricanes - and everyone I talked to on campus was like, "please beat Miami!" We had to get revenge for our football team! We had our pregame meal delivered to Tully and we were getting treatments and getting ready for serve and pass. As we came back into the locker room to wait for the coaches it hit me that we were starting ACC play tonight! The matches we play in the ACC season are very important to us as a team because each match we play and hopefully win will continue to bring recognition to our program as a whole and make us known amongst some of the big contenders across the nation.

    After the coaches gave us the "speal" - or as my mom would say the "blab blab" - about Miami and what we needed to do in order to win, we walked up the stairs from our locker room to the main floor of Tully.  There were two things I was excited about: 1) Hoping that the stands would be packed with Garnet and Gold Fans and 2) THE BAND!!! When the Seminole Sound comes to Tully, it makes everything SO much better! The energy and excitement they bring to the game is incredible and it is by far one of my favorite parts of playing at home! As warm ups started and the seats were becoming more and more full I was so excited to start playing! One of the traditions that I love about being a Seminole is when we leave the locker room in our jerseys and make our way back up stairs Nikki and Mira lead the way out our door and we each touch the sign that says "Play like a Champion Today" then bang on the wall in the hallway. As we run down the hallway we all begin The Chop and sing the War Chant at the top of our lungs. It always gives me goose bumps and I know its game time!

     

    As the match started we struggled at times but were able to make plays when needed and won the first set. As we switched sides we came together in a huddle and decided that we were going to play like Florida State could play and from then on we improved in every aspect of our game.  It showed in the next two sets. We won in three which was huge for us because last season we had lost to Miami twice! And playing in front of over 1,000 people was an amazing feeling for sure!! As we made our way through the massive crowd to make it to the doors to thank everyone for coming I saw lots of familiar faces, which made me pretty happy! After each match I try and find my family and friends to take some pictures - and one from this weekend will stick in my head for a while. My second cousin Quinn - who is 6'11 and his girlfriend Amanda and friend Jenny came to my match with tye-dye signs! I help out with their Intramural volleyball team - Team Skittles - and I am one of their biggest fans! And one of the signs said "Team Skittles + Bri = Undefeated!!" LOVE IT! Another part of our home matches that I love are the Painted Guys - we don't know them by name but they seem to know us! Each match they pick three new girls from the team and paint their bodies with our numbers and names. It takes a lot of confidence to stand in Tully shirtless for an entire volleyball match. Friday was Jenna, Jordana, and Mira's night, and Jordana had one of the best sayings that we've seen so far.

    CP said, "I am very pleased with the way we continued to improve as the match went on. I thought in game one a lot of parts of our game were good but our offense wasn't very good. In games two and three our offense picked up better and our blocks stayed very good through those two games. That allowed us to be much stronger as the match continues on. That gave us a lot of confidence." We left Tully with one ACC win under our belt but we had our next match on our mind - one that we couldn't take lightly. We were to play Notre Dame - a team right on the verge of being in the top 25. But we had some fun to have first!

     

     

    Saturday morning we had practice and then we had the rest of the day to relax. Since my parents come to every match I was able to go to lunch at Jim and Milts BBQ with them and my sister. Jim and Milts has been a staple in my family since we lived in Tallahassee when I was younger.  I can remember sitting there eating grilled cheese watching the 'Noles on TV. One thing I was looking forward to that night was dinner at Jenna, Jordana, and Steph's apartment where Mrs. Romanelli was making dinner for us! And oh my goodness was it delicious! We had the infamous pizza dip and chips and some spinach dip, which was very yummy! And then for dinner we had lots of pasta and salad and garlic bread - and we ate about all of it!! And of course we had some very tasty deserts - a chocolate trifle and lemon bars! And we had our own form of entertainment: Steph just being herself! After we left, very full and happy, Nikki and I were scheming up a very fun plan! We went to Wal-Mart and found some glass markers and we drove back to Jenna's apartment. We came up with the idea of drawing on our teammates cars as well as our own, then the next day completely play if off like we had no clue who had done it! We started with Jenna and Jordana's car - and we almost got caught about three times! Next was Taylor's then back to Nikki's where we painted our own. It was a fun night! As we got to Bagel Bagel the next morning for pregame meal, Nikki and I tried our hardest to keep our story straight and not let anyone know that we were the ones who painted everyone's cars! Little did I know that my team could recognize my handwriting and they knew almost the whole time!

    As we made our way back to Tully to get ready for our final preseason match - little did we know that this was going to be one of the most intense games we would play all season! As warm-ups began and Tully was once again filling up to the brim, I knew it was going to be a battle to the end. Tonight was my night for our Painted Guys and it made me laugh the entire match.

     

    BOOM - the match was on. We started the first set kind of slow and we weren't playing like we knew how to at all. We lost the first set and as we switched sides we kept our heads up and stayed strong and won the second set, making it 1-1 going into the intermission. Our coaches kept it short and sweet and we knew exactly what we had to do. We ended up losing the third set and we knew we had to leave it all on the court to beat this team. We were down in the fourth set 15-20 and as I looked to my team I could read on each face - WE ARE NOT GOING TO LOSE THIS MATCH! And from that point we were fighting until the end!

     

    We won the fourth set and as we started the fifth set we hit an unexpected road bump. Taylor and Fatma were going after a ball and didn't see each other and all of a sudden they collided and fell to the floor. As I landed from my block and turned around all I could see was Taylor grabbing her face and not getting up. She released her hands to show us a very swollen eye and a cut beneath it. She wobbled off the court and we were very worried. We didn't know what to do. Courtney came in off the bench and we kept playing. I rotated out and while I was getting PowerAde all of a sudden Tully erupted in cheers and I had no clue what happened!! As I looked up I saw Taylor in her white jersey strutting her stuff back to the court to finish the match that she started with a little oomph in her attitude! She wasn't about to lose this match now and we all felt it and grabbed on for the rest of the ride! We went up 8-4 and as we switched sides I felt confident in my team! But then the match turned in favor of Notre Dame and the score got closer and closer. The coaches called a time out and the only thing that was going through my mind was the Journey song, "Don't Stop Believing". And I didn't! I knew that we were the stronger team and it was going to end well! As the score became 15-14 with a kill by Steph I held my breath as we served the last serve of the match. As the Notre Dame outside hitter hit the ball and it sailed out of bounds with no touch the referee blew the whistle ... FSU POINT! WE WON! I think I jumped higher in celebration than I ever have in the game itself. I was so proud of my teammates! After the match I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off - trying to make sure I talked to everyone that needed to talk to me then go sign autographs with my team! I saw Julie my friend from class, who works our matches and she said that she hadn't felt that nervous in a very long time!! And the worst part for her is that she isn't allowed to cheer - so she has to stay calm and professional the entire time. I wouldn't be able to do that! My mom took a picture of Taylor and her battle wound but she wouldn't take the ice bag off!

    As I left Tully on Sunday I couldn't stop shaking with excitement and the feeling of pride in what my team and I just accomplished! I summed up our match pretty well when I said, "If we were the team we were last year we would not have had the strength to come back like we did. We definitely depend on each other and I am really proud of my teammates." What a way to end our weekend!! Now all we had to do was wait for the rankings to come out the next day! My Monday was a very relaxing one in that I did my treatment for my shins and got to not think about practice - I went to class and after it was over Rachael and I went grocery shopping with my mom. As we were dropping off Rach the rankings came out and we moved up one spot to #18! It's great to see how the strong preseason matches that we've played are really helping us show the nation how good we really are!

     

    That's about it for this week! Come see your Lady 'Noles take on Virginia Tech Friday night at 7pm in Tully!

     

    -Bri #5-

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