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    Bri Breaks It Down - Volume 2

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    "Bienvenido A Miami!"

    Hello again Seminole fans! I'm back to let you guys know how our weekend down in Miami went. We boarded our plane and headed to Miami last Friday excited to see what was in store for us at the FIU / Miami Tournament. After arriving in Miami we headed to FIU's campus to have a short practice to get used to the gym, but unfortunately traffic was a little bit of a problem so we didn't get to use the gym that day. But we did get to go straight to Dave and Buster's for dinner! When we got to our hotel we had time to relax a little before we as a team were going to watch game film on Middle Tennessee State - the team we would be playing against the next morning. All week in practice the coaches had been stressing the fact that their team runs a very quick offense and what we needed to do stop them. As the video is running and the coaches are explain key points in the footage, I look around at my team and think to myself, "It finally has come ... being ranked nationally and being on a team that performs to the best of our abilities each and every day we go out and play. This is awesome!!"

    It's finally game time and we emerge from the locker room into the gym - only to see about 50 people in the stands - and most of them are part of the Romanelli family! This is always funny because the crowd in volleyball is always a helping factor. So when you can hear a pin drop in the gym due to no fans, it gets a little tough to find some energy. But we were ready to play and before we knew it warm-ups were over and we were lining up for the National Anthem. As we line up in numerical order I find my place between Stephanie Neville and Taylor Wilson. I have sort of a little tradition I do while they the play the National Anthem - I squeeze the hands of both Steph and Taylor twice before the song is over. It gets my mind right and it gets me ready to playing.

    We ended up beating Middle Tennessee State in 3 - and we had numerous girls register high numbers of kills and we played well and got our job done. Like last weekend we didn't have the chance to celebrate much because we had to get ready for FIU later that night. We went back to the hotel to change and eat and watch game film with the coaches. We played FIU in the spring so we knew some of their tendencies but as we got to the gym we realized that one of their top outside hitters was not going to play because she hurt one of her fingers in a previous match. We got to the locker room and Mallory Greathouse our trainer set up our own little taping station so we wouldn't have to go into the jungle of FIU's training room again. It worked perfectly! And once again it was game time!! 

    The gym was filled more for the match against FIU, which was good for us because that means there was going to be energy in the gym. Our match against FIU was an interesting one because some of our previous tendencies came through - we lost the first game 26-24 and we were very up and down with our playing. CP said, ""We started a little slow but made a few adjustments after we lost the first game. Our block and quick attack then took over." Just like our coach said, we took control of the match in the next three games and ended up with a win. I was really proud of my team in that even though we lost that first game we stayed composed and came back stronger and played much better to win the match. Sunday came around early and we had one more match in our tournament - against Albany from New York at noon. We got to go to Panera for breakfast, which I was very happy about! We ended up playing in Miami's gym that day so when we got to the gym and we got taped and treatments we then went out for serve and pass to get used to the gym. And then it was game time and this match was an interesting one as well. Our coach explained it perfectly, ""It was a great weekend all the way around. Albany was a very scrappy team and kept forcing us to make plays, which was great for our mentality. It was not a great game on our part, but we kept finding ways to win, which is a positive." We didn't play the best but we did pull the win out in the end, which is what matters - and everyone got to play in this game and the girls contributed when they came off the bench into the game. Winning this match made us tournament champs and it felt great to win three of our preseason tournaments. That is a big accomplishment for sure!

    We showered quickly after our match because we had to catch our flight back to Tallahassee. It was a great feeling to bring another tournament championship back to FSU! When we got home we got another email from CP - which always make me smile because we realize how much our coaches believe in us and how they feel. He said "I'm proud that EVERYONE contributed to the wins this weekend and found a way to battle, even when we were not playing as well as we were capable." So Mira and I made the All-Tournament Team for the weekend - but I could never do anything without my teammates. CP said, "Congrats to Bri and Mira for making all-tournament. They certainly deserved it and were the most consistent throughout each of the three matches. However, we also had others that had big matches this weekend and all of you need to realize how important you are to the program. It takes more than a few people to be successful. In fact, it takes depth in practice every day to make everyone around you better." It's good as a team to realize that every single player is needed for us to be a powerful machine - and within our team we have so much depth that I am never worried about someone coming in and performing in the game and helping the team in certain situations.

    MONDAY MONDAY MONDAY ... Oh Monday's - that means rankings are out!! And the best part about Monday of this week was that we had NO PRACTICE! It was an amazing feeling for sure! As we were getting treatments for aching injuries at the Moore Center with Mallory, I constantly kept checking the AVCA Web site. I wanted to know the rankings now - at 10:30 in the morning! We found out that they won't be posted until 3 or so - aw man! So we were going to have to wait until then. I had class then Duygu and Fatma (our Turkish players) went to the mall to have some retail therapy and we had a great time. But as we were driving over there the rankings were posted. As I scroll through the e-mail on my phone I see Florida State - #19. WOOOOOHOOOO! We moved up from last week and now we're top 20! It was a fantastic Monday for sure! CP said, ""It is a great honor to be ranked in the top 20 in the country and brings a lot of publicity to our program." We constantly keep improving each weekend and the results are showing because now we are nationally ranked and people are finally realizing the power behind FSU! The highest the program has ever been is 17 - so now we found our new goal for the season!

    As we practice through the rest of this week we prepare for ACC play to start this weekend with Miami at home Friday and then Notre Dame on Sunday. I am so ready to start ACC play because now is the time to do big things. We have built up a great resume so far with our preseason victories, but if we can prove to people within the conference that we belong to be top 20 then we have accomplish our goals for the season. Well that's about it for now - if you're in Tallahassee come to our match Friday night at 6 p.m. in Tully Gym! And come back next week to see how your Lady 'Noles are doing!

    -Bri #5-

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