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    Bri Breaks It Down - Vol. 6

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    "Road Warriors"

    Hi Seminole fans! I can't believe that it's already my sixth entry for my blog - our season is going by so quickly! Craziness! So, what's going on with us this week? Well, we had three practices in preparation for Wake Forest and Duke - our first conference-match weekend on the road - and they went well! Thursday came around and we boarded the plane to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The weather was BEAUTIFUL ... wish it would travel down south to Tallahassee. We got to our hotel and then went to Macaroni Grille for Dinner. We had a special guest with us this weekend - Reid Ferrin, our Seminoles.com video guy - and he was able to capture the true side of me and my teammates and we had a great time entertaining him with our antics. :) As we left dinner we were on our way to campus to watch our very own soccer team take on Wake Forest - we were quite loud, making sure everyone in the stands could hear us as well as our own team. We had lots of fun that night! We got back to the hotel after the game finished and went to sleep - making sure we got enough sleep to be ready for our match the next day.

    Friday morning we went to cute little restaurant named Midtown Café where we got to eat breakfast as a team. I had very yummy chocolate chip pancakes! We made our way back to the hotel and had some time to relax and get some homework done if we had any and watch game film. We checked out of the hotel that afternoon as we went to Wake Forest's gym to have our practice before the match that night. We had a successful serve and pass and I felt pretty positive about the way things were going. And then it was time for food! We went to Jersey Mikes Subs - which is pretty sweet because they originated in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, which is about 10 minutes up the road from Sea Side Park, New jersey where I spent a lot of my summer breaks when I was younger! As we drove back to campus I had a crazy thought run through my head: "This is the last time that I will be playing at Wake Forest in my career here at Florida State". It finally hit me - this was it. We were going to prove ourselves this year - and I was so excited to be a part of it. Definitely pumped me up for the Wake match! MATCH TIME! Seven o'clock came around fast and we were lining up for the National Anthem. My mom took a sweet picture that explains my saying of the weekend: "One Team ... One Heart." For us to make it to the big time this season we have to remember to play like one - rely on each other in the hard times and push each other every day to make ourselves better. And we definitely did against Wake that Friday night. We started the match off on a good foot and never looked back. We beat the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest 3-0, which is the second team in the ACC that we have beaten in three-straight sets. CP said, ""We played pretty well tonight. I was very pleased with the hitters. I think tonight was one of the best all-around games this year for our hitters as all six of them hit the ball well. Overall, we had a couple of close games but we played tough until the very end and that is something we have been working on." We had numerous girls step up and play very well that night and it helped us push through the match and finish strong. And we needed that strong finish because it was going to help us get through the Duke match the next night - which was going to be a battle to the end!

    I got two surprises that night at our Wake match - my cousin Danielle made it to the match and a girl named Jordan was there too. I met Jordan about three years ago at Wake Forest when a little group of FSU fans from North Carolina went up to my mom and started talking to her about me and my team. We've stayed in contact all this time and it was amazing to see her one last time in my career here at FSU.

    The sun came through the window of our hotel room and it signaled it was time for us to get up for breakfast. We made our way downstairs to the breakfast buffet. We had a very important day ahead of us. If someone was to say something about 11 years we as a team wouldn't think twice about it. But this was very important to me and my teammates. The year was 1998 and it was the last time an FSU volleyball team beat the Duke Blue Devils at the Cameron Indoor Stadium. Little did we know that we were going to make history that night. We made our way to the Cameron Indoor Stadium - home of Coach K Court - where the basketball team plays their home games as well. Nikki Baker on my team has always said it's the "Church gym," which is pretty funny because it does look like that. We took a picture of us seniors standing in the gym, which is going to be an amazing memory for us. We went through our serve and pass and then made our way to dinner at a very yummy Italian restaurant. As my team and I made our way into the visiting locker room many of us all said the same thing; we remembered that we almost won in years past and came back into that locker room and were so upset about what happened. And we DIDN'T want to feel like that again! As we were about to go out onto the court, the coaches said their last few words to us and the one thing that stuck in my head was that they had full confidence that we were going to be victorious that night. We had the confidence we needed and the skills to prove to ourselves that we could win that night.

    And BOOM game time baby! As we warmed up and saw the soccer team and golf team decked out in garnet and gold sitting in the stands cheering us on, I got a surge of energy and thought to myself, "We aren't going to lose tonight." The game went back and forth and back and forth and finally it was the fifth set. We came together as a team and pulled off the unthinkable that night. We beat Duke 3-2 and finally broke the losing streak we have had in Cameron Indoor Stadium. YIPPEE!! It was an amazing feeling for sure! And of course as soon as the ball landed on Duke's side and match point was called, the entire soccer team and golf team ran to the court and began jumping around with us!! It was so cool to see such amazing support from our other women's sports and we appreciate it SO much! We had some girls on the team step up HUGE for us that match and I am so proud of them! Jordana Price, Fatma Yildirim, and Rachael Morgan get my award for MVP's of the match for sure! CP stated it perfectly when he said, ""It was an amazing match tonight. There were times that we played very well over the weekend and particularly against a very good Duke team. We had good balance again on offense and we had different people stepping up at times tonight to make some big plays. We let the fourth set slip away and could have folded on the road, but we came back in the fifth set and refused to lose. I'm proud of the entire team and the effort they showed tonight."

    As I found my parents after the match and I gave them a big hug and saw my two aunts that made it to the match, I couldn't stop smiling. FINALLY! It had been a very very very very very LONG three-and-a-half years of losing close matches to Duke and tonight we finally did it. I turned to look at Nikki, who has been with me since freshmen year, and she was crying and then it came over me as well. I walked to her and gave her the biggest hug and said, "Finally Nik we did it!"

    And what is the best way to celebrate a win like that ... ICE CREAM! We got to go to TCBY and get ice cream as our treat! We were quite excited but then the bad news crept back in ... we had to be up at 5a.m. the next morning to go home ... aw man!

    BLAH! 5 a.m. wake up calls are no fun! But the one good thing was that we were home in Tallahassee by 11:30-ish in the morning. Some girls and I went to lunch as we returned to Tallahassee and we were just so happy to be home again. We were thinking all about what this week was going to bring us. Monday came around and it was a lot like last week's. We had practice because we leave for Maryland and Boston College on Thursday. We anxiously awaited the AVCA poll to come out because we wanted to see if we moved back up or not. Monday was a great day in the name of Florida State Volleyball: we moved back up into No. 17, Jordana was named ACC Player of the Week and Rachael was named the Player of the Week by the American Volleyball Scouting Report. What accomplishments!! Concerning Jordana, CP said, "Jordana played outstanding this weekend and continues to give us great effort every play she is on the court. Jordana has a great mind for the game and really works to prepare herself for each opponent." And about Rachael he said, "Rachael has made incredible improvement over the past year. She came in with a ton of potential, but simply needed to catch up to the speed and intensity of the college game. Rachael worked very hard over the spring and summer and her play this season has increased in every part of her game. Only a sophomore, Rachael is getting better and better every week and had an outstanding weekend." I couldn't be more proud of those girls and more proud of my team so far this season! I can't wait to see how the rest of the season goes! That's it for this week! Watch us on GameTracker this weekend as we take on the Maryland Terrapins and the Boston College Eagles!!
    -Bri #5-

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