Hey Seminole Fans! It's week four of my blog and things just keep getting better for me and my team. This weekend we had Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia coming to Tully, and it was an interesting weekend - one day we didn't play the best we could, and then the next day we were more like ourselves. After practicing all week we were ready to play our second weekend in ACC play. First off was Virginia Tech on Friday. As our food was delivered to the locker room and we were getting ready for serve and pass, our music was blasting loudly in the locker room. It's crazy that when you walk down the hallway in Tully you can hear the music pretty clearly! As we got back to the locker room and got ready for the match, my teammates started dancing - which is a common pregame ritual - but this time it made us laugh so much more than ever. I caught a lot of it on my camera! Led by our fearless dance leader, Stephanie Neville, the girls danced to "I like to Move it," 'Ice Cream Paint Job," and "Jock Jams."
Only I wish we could have brought that energy to the court that night. We started warm-ups and things just weren't clicking like we were used to and we started off the match very sluggish but won the first set 25-23. A lot of the girls - including myself - realized that this was not the way FSU played and tried to pick it up as much as we could. We ended up winning the match in four but it wasn't a pretty night for us at all. CP summed up the match perfectly by saying, "I was really proud of the girls for pulling it out. I thought Virginia Tech did a great job of taking us out of our offense. There are some things that we can learn from this match and hopefully get in and get better from it. Anytime that you can make mistakes, not play your best, and still win, that's a bonus." We had girls step up and play well which helped our team pull out the win. This season I love how we have six different offensive weapons that we use regularly and, say some girls aren't having a good game, we could look to the other girls and they are able to make plays for us. Once again we got awesome support from our fans on Friday - with signs by my friend Julie and even a guy dressed up as a Banana with a sign saying, "Banana Sean <3's Nole Volleyball!" And our painted guys of course!
Saturday morning - only meant one thing in Tallahassee ... FOOTBALL! Our 'Noles were taking on the USF Bulls and it was our White Out Game. Duygu, Fatma, Drew and I made our way to Doak Campbell Stadium in our white attire Saturday morning hoping for some fun! The only thing that was the worst about that day was that it was SOOOO hot and we were sitting outside waiting for the game to start. No joke, I had four bottles of water within two hours! Whenever clouds came over for even a minute everyone was so happy! We ended up leaving after the first quarter. One, because it was way too hot and two, because we needed food before our practice we were to have that afternoon. Drew and I met up with Nikki at Pita Pit and we were just happy to be in air conditioning!
As we made our way back to campus and went into Tully I got a phone call from our associate head coach, Holly Watts, and she had very exciting news to tell us. Coach Cecile Reynaud is the former head volleyball coach here at FSU and she had a guest with her, and they were both coming to the training room to talk to us before we went up for practice. Can you guess who the mystery guest was? Well she is 6'3", she played volleyball here at FSU, she became a professional model, and she played beach professionally. As I walked down the hallway to the training room there in front of me stood one of my biggest role models, Gabrielle Reece! I don't think I stopped smiling the entire time I was in the training room. I couldn't believe that she was here in Tallahassee! It was crazy!! She was such a down to earth woman and so easy to talk to. The best news was that she was going to be at our match the next day, which got me even more excited to play on Sunday!! We had the chance to take some pictures with Gabby before she left and these pictures are great memoires that I can't wait to share with everyone I know!
Sunday was a crazy day for us! We woke up that morning and got all dressed up for the Champions Beyond the Game Brunch where we celebrate past Lady 'Nole athletes and get the chance to meet some incredible women. I was extra nervous that morning because I had to introduce the 2009 Post Scholarship winner, Courtney Draper. And the best part about getting to do that is that I knew Courtney when she played at FSU in 1997. I was about eight years old and I was the ball girl for the FSU matches. I got to watch her play and got to experience them winning the ACC Championship in 1998. And now almost 10 years later I had the chance to introduce her to the girls that I am now in college with. What an incredible feeling! I got through my introduction ... a little shaky because I was a little nervous ... but Courtney was so thankful and it just made my morning that much better. But I had to do a complete a 180-degree turn and switch gears because it was GAME TIME! As I made my way to Tully I was ready to take on Virginia and complete the weekend successfully. And we were off - the match started and we were playing like our normal selves again, which was great to see. We had our confidence back and we weren't going to let anyone get in our way. As our painted guys walked in, who are Kyle, Eric, and Tyler, they were carrying some new hardware with them. Tyler had a big Florida State Seminoles Flag that he proudly waved as they walked in, and Eric had a New Zealand flag. As we saw them someone said to Rachael, "Aww Rach that stinks they got your flag wrong. It's Australian." And Rachael's response was, "Uh nope, that's the NZ flag people." It had us laughing for about five minutes!
With Gabrielle Reece watching from the stands my team and I were able to defeat the Virginia Cavaliers 3-0, which brought a good feeling to us as a team and the coaching staff. Seminoles.com said, "With the triumph, the Seminoles completed the month of September with an unbeaten record for just the second time in school history as the 1982 team was the only other squad to do so when it went 5-0." Who knew! As we ran to the front lobby to sign autographs for the fans, it hit me that we were 3-0 in the ACC...WOW! I am so proud of my team and they way that we have been playing that I can't wait to see what else the ACC is going to throw at us and how we are going to keep getting better and better and continue to prove to the nation that we are here to stay! As Tully was clearing out and the facility guys were starting to break everything down I got one more chance to see Gabby. And I got to take another picture! Getting the chance to meet her will be one of my favorite memories of being here at FSU.
Later that night my teammates and I had a great plan to surprise our painted guys and show up at their intramural volleyball game! I talked to my cousin Quinn who is on the team with them and he said that they would probably freak out if they saw us. So as Jordana, Jenna, Rachael, Duygu, Fatma, and I walked into Tully and sat behind their court, you could tell that they got a little nervous. We were probably the loudest people in the gym that night and we were cheering on our best fans just like the cheer us on every weekend! We finally got to meet them after they played and it was too funny because we weren't in our uniforms and they weren't covered in paint! It was a perfect ending to a great weekend.
It's just another Manic Monday but a little less manic due to no practice! The day after a game is always a relaxing one for me because I don't have class until 1:25 so I get to do a lot of stuff in the morning. I went to see our trainer, Mallory Greathouse, and got some much needed treatments for my sore self and then I got a text from Brandon Mellor, our Sports Information guy. He wanted me to come by his office later that day to do a phone interview with a guy from ESPN.com ... wait ... WHAT? They want to interview me .... about my team ...SWEET! I was super excited and honored to have been picked to do so. I talked to the ESPN.com correspondent for about 30-45 minutes and we talked about pretty much everything concerning my team and the program here at FSU. And that moment I found out that we had moved up one more spot in the national rankings - tying the school's all-time record for highest ranking ever! CP said, "I'm very proud of the girls and my staff is doing an excellent job in helping get this program turned around. It takes more than a few players to build a program. It takes an entire staff and a full squad to meet the demands of training and preparing every day." That was a great thing to hear and it made me even more excited to continue to play through the ACC season and see how far we can go this season!
One last quote from CP: "We will do our part to continue working hard and being great role models on and off the court. I would encourage the fans to continue supporting our volleyball program and help us to create an atmosphere that is one of the best in the country." PERFECT :)
That's it for me this week! We have Georgia Tech and Clemson coming to town this weekend so if you're anywhere near Tallahassee, come see your No. 17-ranked Lady 'Noles on Friday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 1 p.m.!