Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Sheila Shaw? It's already been broughten. must have gotten a fantastic response to their Q&A with new arrival Sheila Shaw, because they quickly followed it up with a journal entry from her today. I'm all for it. Shaw has what we like to refer to as "personality," and we'd like to see a video blog with her, Senior Ham Jillian Davis, and Courtney Thompson. Plus it's hard to dislike anyone who refers to their home state as "home of the best cheese curds :)".

Shaw relates how the team played in a local college tournament, and a conspicuous "Editor's Note" lets you know that they beat Oregon, Colorado, Western Nebraska CC and Colorado State, in case you'd heard differently.

"Dude, I heard they lost to Western Nebraska!"
"Nah, man, I read it in that Editor's Note that they won."

Ever wonder how WNCC got invited to this shindig anyways? Let's see, we'll get the USA squad, some other D1 programs, and's the most random school we could also invite?

Best part of the article is when Shaw describes doing the "incline," which is apparently a very steep and treacherous set of steps on the side of a mountain (Whitney Webb! Lookout!). Shaw says "It's one of the steepest trails I’ve ever seen, but then again I am from Wisconsin."

Good point. Not a lot of steep trails in Wisconsin, are there. Oh, and apparently Tom Hogan is out of traction.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tayyiba Haneef's "From Russia with Love"?
Not so much.

We honestly couldn't wait to read Tayyiba Haneef's online journal after enjoying Danielle Scott's so much. And we were not disappointed. Haneef plays in a Russian volleyball league, so we're betting she has some great experiences to share with us.

"Whoever said 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' must have lived in Russia."

Eep. That's, that's not a good sign.

"On most days we wake up to Grey skies and cold weather."

Oh Lord. This is gonna be ugly, isn't it.

"It is springtime but you would never know it by looking outside at the grey skies and snow covered ground."

Yeah, I'm, I'm gonna go read "Cat in the Hat" or something after this, cheer myself up.

But then again, might as well find out what life is like in the former Soviet Union. Turns out things in Kazan, Tartastan, Russia, are not exactly organized. Haneef reports that traffic is a "disaster," where "everyone makes their own lanes," and that she sees 4 or 5 accidents a day. (That's no different than the 405, is it?) Haneef also writes that hot water is not always easy to come by, and that Internet connections are few and costly.

"We do however have a McDonald's and an Ikea."

Wait, wait, wait. Kazan doesn't have lines on their streets, hot water you can count on, or reliable Internet service, but they do have Happy Meals and easy-to-assemble Swedish furniture? Maybe Russia should reconsider capitalism. I'm beginning to think they're not ready yet.

However, life isn't all doom and gloom. Haneef and teammate Therese Crawford, have Lloy Ball and Clay Stanley in town, "so we are able to go hang out with them for fun."

Yes. Hanging out with Lloy Ball and Clay Stanley is fun, isn't it.

As the article comes to a close, it's obvious that Russia isn't for Haneef. She's looking forward to returning to California, as well as her impending marriage and subsequent honeymoon in Jamaica. Living in Kazan, Tartastan, Russia has led her to "truly cherish what I have at home":

Family, friends, good food, clean water and a nice home to say the least. Once you have lived in another country you value even the little things, such as peanut butter or pancakes and eggs, SO much more!!!

Peanut butter. Pancakes. Eggs. God bless America.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wade wades into international waters

According to the Pacific website, head coach and former Caesar's Palace headliner Charlie Wade has been named head coach of the Bring it Promotions/USA Volleyball Federation Senior Select Team!

...yeah I don't know what that means either.

"The team will consist of collegiate players who are not playing with the USA Training Team, A2, or Junior National Team this summer."

That leaves Wade with, what, 9 players? Good luck with that. But at least we know what we're talking about now. For all we knew, "Senior Select" meant Wade was going to be coaching players 65 and older, which kinda makes us chuckle, picturing Wade trying to explain to a retired librarian why he needs to cover the outside hitter.

"Son, I fought in Korea. Don't tell me what I have to 'cover.' You ever serve in the Army?"

Labels: ,

Spartan Spirit goes "National"!

Michigan State's Katie Johnson has been chosen to be a member of USA Volleyball's A2 team. The 6'3" junior will play in the USA Open Adult Nationals in May with other A2 members.

Michigan State skipper Cathy George said "Katie is a tremendous outside hitter, who I truly believe has the ability to compete at the national level."

...well, yeah, that's kinda what she's been doing the past three years, isn't it? Unless Coach George is one of those people who's a master at back-handed compliments, a guru of passive-aggressiveness. "Katie made the A2 team? How sweet. I think that's a really, really great honor for her...almost too much."

But George has never struck us as that sneaky, so I'm sure I'm imagining things.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Totally unfair photo captions with Todd Dagenais and Daune Koester

Todd: "So you really think I should shave my head?"
Daune: "Absolutely."

Labels: , ,

The Utes come home; All is well

So perhaps we were a little hasty in deeming the Utah Utes' trip to Europe as a disaster waiting to happen. And, yes, we might have erred a smidge when we claimed the Utes had been kidnapped by a nefarious Italian cocaine syndicate.

We say all this because journal entry #7 by Hilary Taylor and Lori Baird finds the volleyball team alive, not incarcerated, and hanging out at the Roman Coliseum. The team reveled in the historical ruins: "Many of us wished we could go back in time to see how all of the events really took place."

Well, you would wish that, until you saw what passed for dentistry during ancient Roman times.

The team also fell for the oldest grift in the books, the ol' "Make a Bracelet / Gimme a Kiss" scam. Apparently, young Italian men make a bracelet for you, asking only a kiss on the cheek in exchange.

Does that actually work? Apparently so, because the Utes were besieged with the young herpes enablers, and their favorite target was Stephanie Hodgman "because after she gave one Italian boy a kiss on the cheek, so many guys were chasing her to get the same."

Well, duh.

Report #8 detailed a trip to the Vatican City, where many of the players on the team got a chance to see the actual pope, Pope Benedict XVI. Which made me wonder: How many of the Utes are Mormons? And how do they feel about the pope as a Mormon? Does he hold any significance to them at all? Where does the pope fit in with the Mormon movement?

Oh yeah: the trip was a success, everyone loved it, life goes on.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring matches: Why?

"I am looking forward to getting out and competing in some matches," head coach Jeff Nelson said. "This tournament has a very strong field and is a great way for us to kick off spring competition."

"We can't wait to go to Middle Tennessee this weekend and compete against some other teams," Messersmith said.

"It's great to be able to play these games," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "We practice with individuals in the spring and this is a chance to bring everyone together and see how we're coming along."

What do all these quotes have in coming? Besides being terrifically dull? They're all about spring schedules, the college volleyball equivalent of preseason football.

Spring competitions are lame. The matches don't mean anything, which doesn't stop some messageboard cowboys from dissecting every contact (lookin' at you, Wahine fans). There are people missing, hurt, some schools don't even have enough players so they have to force seniors back into action. OR a school will sucker some poor sap into leaving high school early and enrolling in college in the spring (Because, honestly, the 12 weeks of preseason practice is just not enough for these poor schools).

And once again I find myself wishing that one of these coaches would say what's really on their minds.

"Look, I'm just trying to get an idea of what these yahoos can do," New Mexico coach Jeff Nelson said. "This is like an experiment. I'm Dr. Frankenstein, and I'm trying to see if I've just spent a whole spring creating a monster or not."

"I hate these competitions," Arkansas coach Chris Poole explained. "It's just one big ankle injury waiting to happen. All I want is to play these stupid matches without anyone getting hurt, and get the heck out of here."

"Why are we here?" Stanford coach John Dunning continued, "Honestly I'd rather be trying to get up and down out of a sand trap with a ball stuck in a 6-inch divot."

Labels: , , ,

Fun with Typos, Paladin style

OK, maybe it's not a typo. Maybe Furman really is looking forward to a spring dedicated to the means of production, or perhaps they're putting on a production of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll House." Either way, it's not nearly as entertaining as Florida's plans to hose Georgia Tech.


Sheila Shaw, come on down!

Sheila Shaw, Wisconsin native and now National Team Training somethingsomething Roster member, participated in the much-ballyhooed USAV Q&A, giving us yet another piece of the national team puzzle.

For instance, who does Shaw think is the funniest person on the national team? Lindsey Hunter. This throws kind of a monkey wrench in our belief that Jillian Davis was Senior Ham within the program. How many comedians can one program have? Are we at risk of a Two-Many-Cooks-In-The-Kitchen kind of situation?

Shaw also proves to be a bit of an enigma, as she cites brats, pickles, and cheese as her favorite foods, like all good Wisconsinites should. But when it comes to Shaw's favorite restaurant, she goes with The Olive Garden. The Olive Garden? Not the Nitty Gritty? Or the Great Dane? Or anywhere other than The Olive Garden?

Also mentioned is Shaw's favorite TV show, "The Hills," which we totally agree with because there's nothing more interesting than when Lauren and Whitney totally gab about Heidi and El Schmucko (Spencer) and what was that birthday toast? but there's not time for that because Lo is back! and Jen's all "It's just a boy" and Lauren's all "You are SO off my show" and the clueless dude is all "Where are you from?" as if "Laguna Beach" never happened and...

...well, you get the point.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nevena Djordjevic has no idea what she's getting herself into

In January we brought you the Xmas plans of some Oregon Ducks, and reader "bruce" informed us on the differences between the Serbian Orthodox Christian Church's calendar and everyone else's.

Now, with winter fading, the Duck website brings us news of different players' spring break plans. For the most part, those plans are fairly tame, although Kristen Forristall is going to Italy (Maybe she can save the Utes!).

Lindsey Stone's plans, however, are perplexing. On the one hand she claims she will "bask in the wonder of doing absolutely nothing!", but then goes on to recite a laundry list of activities she's going to undertake with teammate Nevena Djordjevic, including eating grass. Totally not kidding:

Nev and I are going to trek through the forest, ride horseback, make campfires, eat grass, wreak havoc on anything and everything, and come back a little crazier.

I'm gonna assume, for the purposes of legal liability, that Stone isn't talking about actually eating marijuana (Although that might explain the "come back a little crazier" part). But I wonder if Nevena knows about all these plans?

(Lindsey will) try to make my spring break as crazy as possible and hopefully she'll teach me how to ride a horse, which would be amazing.

Horse riding! That is crazy! Horse riding is insane! But I still don't understand the whole grass-eating thing. Is it possible that Lindsey got the activities she and Nevena would be doing with the daily activities of the horses? Was that a subtle hint to Nevena that Lindsey was going to make her horse riding dreams come true? Is this the last time coach Jim Moore lets the team make their own spring break plans?

Labels: , , , ,

Fun with Jason Kepner and Chris Beerman

"I am smiling. You smile."
"That's not a smile."
"Oh, like you would know?"
"You look like you're getting dental molds."
"Whatever. I'm taking the C of C job after this season anyway."
"Sure you are."
"Shut up."
"You shut up."
"...nice shirt."
"Nice tie."
"That's mature."
"Oh like you are."

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Attn. This is "Where Are They Now?"

The Arizona volleyball website, in an obvious effort to one-up the Wisconsin website, has posted a Where Are They Now? story about former Wildcat Stephanie Rempe.

First sign that it's a better effort than Wisconsin's? Rempe isn't a volleyball coach that you see nearly every weekend. She is in athletics, however, as associate A.D. and S.W.A. at Oklahoma. Rempe is also a marathon runner, member of some Stiletto gang, etcetera.

It's quite an illustrious and interesting career she's had so far, and one that most Wildcat fans are probably glad to read about.

Now, hop to it, Pete: Pauline Bresky. Where is she these days?

Labels: , ,

Airial Salvo isn't telling us something

Things are not what they seem...especially that hat.

So we come across report #6 of the Utah Utes trip to Europe. We've come a long way.

There's been bloodshed, fiendishly dangerous staircases, Mitsubishi-wielding stalkers, deadly surprise spider attacks, but then suddenly, in report #6...nothing. Airial Salvo, author of this report, tells us about site-seeing, castle escalators, billion-year-old buildings, and Perugian hot dogs.

Salvo's report goes on to describe the Utes' match against a team called Marsciano, and how they did, and what a wonderful experience these matches have been.

Something's obviously wrong.

There's simply no way that the Trip o' Doom has suddenly calmed down to such a level that Salvo has nothing odd or death-defying to report. I think we can only assume that the Utes are being held against their will in some Italian hellhole, and this latest journal entry is a desperate cry for help without tipping off the kidnappers.

For instance, early on Salvo says, "To our surprise we saw some snow. It felt like we were back in Utah." Even a junior cryptologist can tell that this is code for "We were abducted by cocaine dealers, like the kind we have back in Utah."

And the whole bit about the "tough battle" against Marsciano? Everone knows that the Marsciano gang control the Italian underworld. There's more:

...liberos can't serve which results in middle blockers serving and playing defense for one rotation...there are automatic time outs when the first team reaches 8 and 16, and we line up on the sideline instead of the end line.

You know what I get from that? The Marsciano Gang keeps the liberos on the Utah roster separated from the taller players to make sure that the middles don't put the liberos on their shoulders to see out the teeny, tiny windows in their cells. The "automatic timeouts" at 8 and 16 are actually the two times a day that the Utes are allowed out of their cells, 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. But even then they have to stand right next to each other.

The final, damning evidence is Salvo's cryptic signoff: "G2G". Are these coordinates for their location? Could "Gitoogi" be the name of the building in which they're being held?

Tune in next time as we continue to follow the events of this international thriller as they unfold. We can only hope that MI-6 or Scotland Yard or whatever are on their way to this "Gitoogi" place as we speak.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fun with Google News

Beach volleyball outside? It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for 'em.

Labels: ,

Sacred Heart Volleyball wins the lottery of life

In your life, you undoubtedly encounter concepts that are tough to wrap your brain around: quantum physics; Schrodinger's Cat; Sanjaya not getting drop-kicked off "American Idol." Then there's Sacred Heart landing Rob Machan as their new volleyball coach.

I think my head's gonna explode. Ever see Scanners?

Do you think Sacred Heart even understands how HUGE this hire is? The program is 20-91 over the past four years. Machan is a quality coach with a track record of nothing but winning, both at the club level with Asics Power and in college with USC. In fact the only criticism we can find is that Machan seems to have forgotten the location of his Schick Quattro.

Sacred Heart A.D. Don Cook said, "We are very fortunate to have been able to attract someone like Rob from an area so rich with volleyball tradition." Ya' think? No kidding you're fortunate. Almost...too fortunate.

Obviously, a deal with the devil is out of the question, as the religious nature of the campus would preclude the administration from such an agreement, lest a plague of locusts engulf the campus, devouring everything in sight.

Is there perhaps some kind of connection between the Sacred Heart booster club and the Fairfield, Conn., mafia? Did someone in a $1,000 suit and pinkie ring extend a proposal that Machan couldn't in good conscience reject? (i.e. make him an offer he couldn't refuse)

All I'm saying is that if Joe Pesci shows up at a Machan family picnic, we'll know something's up.

Utah Utes: Report #5 is the harbinger of doom

A desperate cry for help.

Report #5 for the Utes' trip to Italy and Croatia's not looking good. Dark clouds are gathering. Some of the girls rode bikes to a nearby beach where there was "some mysterious guy in a mitsibishi [sic] that was following them Connie says?" That can't be good. Guys in Mitsubishi's are shifty.

Although the author of today's journal, Kate Robison, doesn't seem to have much respect for teammate Connie Dangerfield's account of the incident. But when your last name is Dangerfield, that's what happens: no respect (ba-dum bum, 2, 3, 4...).

Things didn't get any better when Whitney Webb--fresh from splitting her melon--warned Hilary Taylor that an obviously man-eating spider was descending upon her, whereupon Taylor immediately whipped out a knife and somehow knocked Airial Salvo out of her chair.

I think I'm going to need a diagram to completely understand that chain of events. Spider (A) descends on Taylor (B), who brandishes a knife she apparently always carries for just such an occasion(C), knocking Salvo out of a chair (D).

Rube Goldberg would be soooo proud.

The rest of the report involves getting locked out of rooms, actual volleyball competition and practicing, along with some English as a second language instruction. But I'm telling you, the signs are undeniable: stalkers, knives, and mysterious "locking doors" preceded by head-splitting...GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN, BETH! RUNNNN!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Totally unfair photo captions with Jim McLaughlin

"I'll never forget what Emilio said to me once, he said, 'Dude!' and Penn's all 'No way!' ...good times. OK let's get a sideout."

Labels: ,

USAV slips one past us

Did anyone else notice this? posted a story on February 22 that seemed like just your run-of-the-mill announcement of changes to Junior Olympics Lite, aka the invitational tournament.

But those changes are nothing if not tantalizing. One, the invitational is being opened to teams outside the U.S. The press release only mentions Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, so it doesn't appear that the Dutch will be sending a contingency anytime soon.

Also new for this year is the stipulation that a team may play in BOTH the standard Junior Olympics and the invitational. So why would a team that qualified for JOs want to play in the invitational? I imagine the USAV thinks that the lure of playing international competition may be enough to bring teams.

Why would international teams come here to play in JOs Lite? At first, they may not come in droves, but you can foresee a day when the stronger teams start to come if they know they can play Mizuno Long Beach, Sports Performance, and the like.

Of course, allowing international teams to come means -- potentially -- more teams in the invite. But, what if...

What if one day the top teams decide it's more prestigious to play in the newly international invite instead of JOs? Is there the chance that Front Range skips JOs to save their energy for the invite? Will that lessen the prestige associated with a JOs title?

"Well, you won 16 Open, but Golden West wasn't there."

...that's all I got. Not a whole heckuva lot going on right now, and I kinda got all Mike Wallace for a moment.

Labels: ,

Vermont: Why not?

In our continuing survey of universities that do not offer women's volleyball, today we look at...Vermont!

Best known, at least recently, for their men's basketball team's wild run in last year's NCAA tournament, Vermont boasts on their website that they offer 11 varsity sports for women. Not one of them is volleyball.

Basketball, cross country, field hockey, hockey, lacrosse, skiing, soccer, softball, swimming, and track & field. Lacrosse and field hockey, well you figure that a school tucked away in the northeast is going to have those. And skiing, OK, Vermont, that makes sense. Honestly, there's nothing that stands out as being odd. But why no volleyball?

Maybe we can get a sense from Vermont's high school athletic association website, which is actually the Vermont Principal's Association. That doesn't sound good. High school athletic associations are far from perfect, but at least they're made of peope that have some understanding of sports. A principal's association sounds like a bunch of guys in shirt sleeves with really bad breath.

Looking through the list of fall sports, there's soccer, cross country, field hockey, and football. No volleyball. In fact, volleyball isn't offered at all in Vermont as a varsity sport! But I guess we shouldn't be surprised coming from a state whose state bird is the hermit thrush. I mean, come on! The hermit thrush?

Plus, you know what is an exhibition varsity sport as of this year? Dance. Oh yeah. Remind me, wasn't "Save the Last Dance" set in Vermont? I think it was.

And these dance people are serious about their dance competition or whatever. According to the online guide, at the state championship, a number of rules must be followed, including "Teams must furnish their own music and someone to operate the music player."

"So what do you do on the dance team?"
"I push 'Play.'"

But most important (because it's emphasized in bold in the guide), when it comes to uniforms, "no bare midriff is allowed." I guess that state motto of "Freedom and Unity" doesn't extend to varsity dance uniforms. And I think we all know bare midriffs are the devil's playground.


Finally! Resolution to Michigan sports, um, resolution

According to headline in the Manchester Enterprise, it looks like we're on the verge of FINALLY getting some closure on the whole Michigan high school sports calendar issue, you know, the reason why volleyball is a winter sport there?

This thing has been dragging on, and on, and on for years. Every time you thought it was going to be resolved, someone would file a new lawsuit. So finally, according to the headline, here comes closure! Let's dive into the article:

"The fate of the state high school sports seasons lawsuit" -- Here we go! This is it! -- "might be decided next week."

Oh fer cryin' out loud.

"The U.S. Supreme Court's nine justices are scheduled to discuss the Michigan High School Athletic Association's appeal of a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling at their weekly conference on March 30."

OK, that sounds promising.

"There is a possibility that the case won't be discussed that day. If not, it will be bumped to the next Friday's conference, a court clerk said."

...aaaand we're back to an endless loop of bureaucracy. But it doesn't end there. If the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't choose to hear the case, then the volleyball season changes, and it's all over.

HOWEVER, the article goes on to say, if the high school sports lawsuit is one of the approximately 100 cases the U.S. Supreme Court chooses to hear from a cluster of over 8,000, then the season doesn't change, and the Supreme Court hears the case in their next session, which doesn't start until October and...

You know what? I've lost interest. We shouldn't have to hear anymore about this case until there's ACTUAL resolution. Fair thee well, Mitten State.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

MC Escher strikes again

In the second journal entries for the Utah volleyball trip to Europe, we got some answers, and learned about the tricky architecture of Croatian staircases.

Seems that junior OH/MB Whitney Webb is used to the taller, more elongated stairwells of your traditional American buildings. In Utah's Croatian hotel, Webb jumped down a couple of stairs, conked herself on the head, and promptly started bleeding.

Whitney! Don't you know that that stairwell was probably built in the 1840s? Croatians were much, much smaller then! (The tenets of communism demanded it) In America, we've torn down all those pesky old buildings or completely gutted them to appropriate our larger, 21st century stature. I knew this trip was a bad idea!

So they took Whitney to the hospital, got her stitched up, and had an X-Ray that discovered there was a hole in her head.

"The doctor was really confused until he figured out it was from the elastic in her pony tail!"

Ah, the beauty of post-Soviet Union medicine.

As for the answers we got, remember the "skate-or-die" pictures from the first update? Turns out those are when "you jump in the air and make a weird pose while someone takes your picture." Learn something new every day. That's what Jack Lalane says anyway. Oh, and "bok bok" means goodbye. It's like those Croatians have a different word for everything.

Labels: , ,

Iowa campus planners got some work t' do

No, but she wants to, so that, you know, they do.

"(For us) it's a whole issue with money and location. Our push is to have a volleyball competitive facility as well as a practice facility."

That's Iowa's Cindy Fredrick on, bemoaning the state of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Now, we assume she means she'd like to have a practice facility in addition to C-H Arena. The Hawkeyes did beat perennial hotshot program Northern Iowa, but finished 13-19 overall and 2-18 in the Big Ten. That's hardly deserving of two new buildings for the program, but, hey, knock yourself out.

"She wants to build a new facility with a seating capacity of about 5,000 that could be used specifically for volleyball and wrestling and perhaps gymnastics," the article goes on to say. Hm. So she wants a "competitive facility" of "about 5,000" in addition to a practice facility?

"Fredrick said her rebuilding job is being hindered by the fact Iowa doesn't have its own volleyball facility."

That's a big issue with many volleyball programs. Volleyball-only facilities are big selling points in the marquee conferences such as the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12, SEC, and Carver-Hawkeye Arena is not an ideal volleyball venue. So what does the athletic deparment say?

A.D. Gary Barta acknowledges the problems with C-H Arena, but he seems only prepared "to meet Fredrick halfway" and build a practice facility for...wait for's and women's basketball. SHOCKER.

"We don't have a new (volleyball) arena in our long-range plans," Barta said. "Carver-Hawkeye is difficult to get set up for a great environment where the fans are close and gives us that home-court advantage."

Will that be enough to quell the Great Fredrick Aspirations?

Labels: ,

Monday, March 19, 2007

Someone at Ohio obviously hates Geoff Carlston

Seriously, you can't find ONE photo of the guy smiling? Not one? Is it that hard? Are ya' trying to scare people away?

Labels: ,

I see job openings

So, with Glad-handing Gilad Doron on his way out West (I swear I saw him in a 'Nova shirt in Denver this past weekend), Villanova's open, baby! Who's interested? Before you start throwing your resumes and calling all your references, perhaps we should take a closer look at what awaits you in the City of Brotherly Love.

The most important thing to realize is that the Big East is a whole new world now. It's no longer the private playground of 2-3 programs. Louisville, Cincy, et al have made things just a smidge tougher. And with a whole new world comes a whole new currency rate, kinda like the implementation of the Euro. A 16-15 Big East season last year (Villanova's '06 mark) would have been a 19-11 season before The C-USA Invasion.

So, your conference has a higher profile, sure, but you're gonna have to not only face Christina Kaelin for three more years, you'll also have to throw down against Rui Liu, Tatyana Kolesnikova, and lots o' other big timers.

But the most important information you need to know is that..."The Sixth Sense" was filmed in and around Philadelphia. That's right. If you take the job at Villanova, you could have access to the world's foremost supernatural savant, Haley Joel Osment. Who knows what kind of havoc you could wreak on the Big East if you had access to the same powers that Jennifer Love Hewitt, Patricia Arquette, and Jeff Goldblum have?

Labels: , , , ,

Utah volleyball survives first day

As we pointed out earlier, Beth Launiere has taken her Utes overseas where there's a smidge of risk they could fall victim to the plot of a really, really bad horror movie.

But the truth, revealed in their first player journal, is pretty mundane so far: "All the flights went well and everyone's luggage showed up."

Snoozeville. Where's the international intrigue? When will Airial Salvo get caught up in some kind of Cold War / espionage / double agent power struggle? Apparently no time soon, as the players were busy "taking pictures of anything that we saw. Cars, buildings, fields, roads, and even the famous 'Skate or Die' pictures."

Famous "Skate or Die" pictures (Totally should have taken that art history class in college)? Were they then stolen in a well-planned heist that was a mix of James Bond and Thomas Crowne?

"We all bought bird food and fed the birds and many of us had 5-6 birds on us at one time."

Well, that's not really that scintillating. Is it too much to ask for Coach Launiere to say "Shaken, not stirred" just once? Or to have her coordinate efforts with Chloe from the CTU bunker?

Labels: ,

Bruins all P.R. and stuff

Nana Meriwether, a.k.a. POY 1A (if Pavan was POY, then Nana was POY 1A), and Katie Carter have left the cozy confines of Westwood for the lush tropical paradise of Puerto Rico's professional volleyball league.

How's it goin'?

"I miss being a Bruin," Carter said.


"The fans love you if you do well and hate you if you mess up."

Fickle fans! BLAST their hides! You know, we took care of Cruz and Cepero, the least they can do is take care of Carter for us.

"There is a lot of pressure for me to perform well because each team is limited to two foreigners on its roster."

You know, it's that kind of policy that might've kept Lewis' men's program from mucking things up a few years back.

"But it has been a great experience playing here."

Uh-Huh. We feel for Carter, though. For every positive story about someone playing in a professional league elsewhere, there's at least one negative one. It can't help that a recent All-Star game between the native Puerto Ricans and the "reinforcements," as they're called, was won by the non-natives. The island hosts couldn't have taken that too well.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rules of Engagement: Part the Third

It's time for installation #3 of our official mockery of the history of rule changes in volleyball. There have been zillions of changes, and we'd like to make fun of each one, as well as tie them in to American society at the time. These are actual rule changes that have been made to the game.

The Serve Toss - During the late '60s - early '70s, volleyball couldn't make up its mind about the serve toss. In 1968, servers had to toss the ball in the air before serving. But a scant two years later, the powers that be decided no, you don't have to toss the ball in the air. Then finally, in 1976, the ball had "be released" before it was served. Is there something we're missing here? Is there a deadly ball-in-hand serve that we don't know about? Or were people just bored and thought,

"You know that ball toss rule? Let's change that."


"I dunno. I've got nothin' else."

1974 - Antennae were added on the net, one ball's width outside the sidelines: This rule came about because volleyball wanted to capitalize on the CB radio craze of the '70s. Rule makers thought that by adding antennae they could attract the young hip crowd they so desperately sought. "Convoy" became a hit song two years later.

1994 - Prosthetic limbs may be worn if the referee determines the player will gain no artificial advantage: Mick Haley is the first to try and gain that artificial advantage, as he attaches two extra arms to his middle blockers. When officials claim the prosthetics are illegal, Haley stands with his hands out at his sides, looks around confused and plaintively cries "Whaaat?"


Marketing Case Study: Ohio U Volleyball Camps

Far be it from me to criticize the way anyone else runs their website, but, what exactly is it about this picture of Ohio head coach Geoff Carlston that Ohio's webmaster thinks is going to attract campers?

"Come to our camp and YOU TOO can receive the disapproving scowl of Coach Carlston!"
(limit one scowl per camper)

Labels: ,

Friday, March 16, 2007

The British think they're sooooo superior

I tend to get annoyed when people pick on volleyball. Especially if they're British. It seems that some British dude, Lord Mawhinney, is proposing that soccer games--"football" for those of you who lost the American Revolution--that are tied at the end of regulation be decided by shootout.

Well, Clyde Tyldesley of the Telegraph is quite outraged. Sure, a shootout "would be an exciting way to settle all drawn games," Tyldesley writes, but "so would Russian roulette or strip poker."

OK, that's pretty funny. Good show, old chap, shepherd's pie lorries bangers and mash, etc. But not very relevant. Is Mawhinney that out of line for proposing a way to eliminate those deeply satisfying ties? Afterall, competitions are held to decide a winner, not to knock yourself out for 2 hours and then decide, "Eh. Let's just agree to disagree."

But fine, purists argue about this in hockey and soccer all the time, so, peace be with you, live long and prosper, enjoy your 3-3 ties and we'll enjoy another Pac Man Jones arraignment. Now here's where volleyball comes into play:

"Why introduce the kind of gimmick that a fringe sport such as beach volleyball might resort to? Why not thongs instead of shorts?" "Fringe sport"? "Gimmick"? Ya' see, Jeeves, beach volleyball might be a fringe sport to you because the sun only comes out for 15 minutes each glorious English summer. But they don't have to resort to gimmicks such as thongs because...well, a lot of the women's suits are close to thong status already. But Walsh and the gals wear those suits by choice! Conscious choice!

And at least our fringe sports are what we like to refer to as "wicked awesome." Beach volleyball, snowboarding, street luge. What kind of fringe sports do you guys have? Night cricket? Street crocquet? Modern dentistry?

And if beach volleyball wanted to resort to gimmicks, they'd bury land mines around the courts, hose down the women in whipped cream, or idolize a pretty boy who marries a Spice Girl.

But then perhaps I've said too much.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Quote we think we understand, but wouldn't swear to it

We had our last "river" today and everyone passed so now we get our locker room and equipment back just in time for our first spring practice... TOMORROW!!
- Cincinnati DS Natalie Dossman, from her CATSBlog

Now, I'm assuming that a "river" is some kind of physical test...either that or the Bearcats have been covering old Joni Mitchell tunes and are apparently re-enacting reruns of "Survivor."

Labels: ,

Louisville Spring Break: Where the Ribs Are

Louisville Volleyball: Who's got a wetnap?

Louisville's Sam Dabbs leans in while teammate Elena Pilnikova--a native of Moscow, Russia--scarfs down some ribs during a spring break trip in Florida. Are there BBQ restaurants in Moscow? Perhaps a Tony Roma's right off of Red Square? The article also lets us know that it wasn't all fun and ribs on the trip. There was dirt cake, too.

Labels: , ,

Utes take their lives in their own hands

Utah volleyball head coach Beth Launiere is taking her Utes overseas to play in Italy and (gulp) Croatia.

Am I the only one that saw "Hostel"?

The article promoting the trip promises photos and player journals: Day 5. Locked out of our hotel! Met a friendly guy who told us about a great hostel nearby. Coach Launiere wasn't sure it was a good idea, but we all said "Why not? What's the worst that could happen?"

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gilad goes West!

So it's come to this: Gilad--former assistant at Temple, head coach at Villanova, a man of few words--is leaving his Philadelphia home to take his multimillion-dollar aerobics empire to the University of San Francisco.

And San Francisco couldn't be more excited. "This is an exciting day for me and for USF volleyball," said athletic director Debi Gore-Mann.

Told ya'.

"Gilad Doron is a great fit for USF. He brings a welcome combination of technical knowledge and genuine passion to USF volleyball along with his phenomenal organizational skills."

Yes. Phenonmenal organizational skills. You should see his sock drawer.

Gilad is "really looking forward to this opportunity and the chance to be part of something special with USF Volleyball." Although, as has been pointed out on messageboards, Gilad will have to commute to work everyday from his home in Philadelphia because of the out of control real estate market in NorCal.

Labels: , ,

I'll take "Can of Worms" for $200

Let's get this out of the way. John Amaechi hooked up with a men's volleyball player inside a second floor bathroom in Rec Hall, never saw the inside of Chumley's, cared less for Penn State football and knew even less about the exploits of women's basketball coach Rene Portland and lesbians.
- from Jon Blau's review of Man in the Middle, published in the Penn State Daily Collegian

You can almost hear the Penn State alum brains spinning, doing the math, thinking back to those halcyon days, figuring out who was on the team then, and trying to answer the obvious burning question: "Did I ever see Amaechi at Chumley's?"


Miss Volleyball, and her military future

East Kentwood senior Lauren Jones was named Miss Volleyball for the Mitten State. Jonesy will be a freshman at Kent State next fall.

Which reminds us, how do you think the whole military coup at Kent State is going? It's been 90 days since Army head coach Glen Conley assumed command of the Golden Flashes, and among the rumored changes are:

  • Outside hitters now called "101st Airborne."
  • Conley refuses to recruit anyone with the last name Crosby, Stills, Nash, or Young.
  • Now refers to Ohio, Bowling Green, Miami, and Eastern Michigan as the "Axis of Evil."
  • Keeps yelling "Fire in the hole!" right before someone hits.
  • Huge "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner unfurled after every home win.

    Labels: , ,

  • U.S. Open: Now with more sand

    So you know the U.S. Open volleyball tournament? That annual multi-day excuse to get your buddies together and drink? (OK, there's some volleyball, too.) Well, the USAV is taking that concept and moving it to the beach.

    That's right! There's a new tournament in town: the US Open of Beach Volleyball! Sponsored by...Corona Extra! (Didn't see that coming, did you.) Divisions will be open for men, women, and co-ed two-person, four-person and six-person teams. There will also be "master's" divisions for men and women 37 and older and 45 and older...because they don't want to restrict the heatstroke to just the young.

    As we mentioned, Corona Extra is a big sponsor for this new beach extravaganza. Timm Amundson, vice president of marketing at Crown Imports states that "The unique lifestyle of beach volleyball lines up perfectly with the brand image of Corona Extra." Yes the propensity for drinking at beach tournaments and the durability of a volleyball player's liver does line up perfectly with Crown Imports' desire to sell beer. It's allll coming together for Timm.

    Turns out that this tournament has long been a dream for Karch, who is going to be heavily involved in the new venture. "For years I have wanted to establish an event that would bring serious beach volleyball players together in Southern California, the birthplace of the sport."

    Yes, because there aren't any there currently. You can walk for miles and miles along the beaches of SoCal and not come across a group of serious beach volleyball players.

    I'm surprised no one's thought of this before. Maybe we should establish some kind of tour or something. You know, play at various cities across the U.S., 16--no 17--no 18--cities! And we'll charge admission! (Well maybe, in some cities we'll charge, or on certain days--we'll work out the details later.) Get Geeter to announce! And we can have stands! And music! And contests! And we'll get it on NBC and have Chris Marlowe do the broadcast!!!

    ...nah. It'll never work.

    But this new Karch idea, this is just the kind of thing that Huntington Beach needs to raise its annual number of severe dehydration victims to a respectable level.

    The main problem I see--and seriously, there aren't many. This could be like the Manhattan Beach 6-Man. But with volleyball--is that the tournament is going to be September 21-23. Doesn't that limit your potential pool of players? Summer vacation is over for the majority of people out there, the women's college season is in high gear.

    Labels: , ,

    Sen. Carper is ruining our rep

    So, there's a story making its way around the wires about Delaware senator Tom Carper and how he broke his foot in a volleyball charity match between Democrats and Republicans--and didn't even know it was broken.

    We're going to forego the usual punchlines about the battle between Democrats and Republicans getting more fierce than ever, blah blah blah, because, frankly, it's enough already.

    Instead, we'd like to chastise Carper for hurting our sport's image. You know, we're trying to grow the game of volleyball, and it doesn't do much for our street cred when a 60-year-old senator can break a bone in his foot and keep playing.

    You never hear about this kind of thing happening in one of those X Games sports. A senator goes down snowboarding, he goes down hard, winds up in traction with compound fractures, further increasing the cool factor that makes snowboarding so hip to begin with.

    Thanks a lot, Sen. Carper.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Did you put the Baum on? Who told you to put the Baum on?

    There's a new update to Arizona Wildcat Kristina Baum's blog, but we don't want to give it too much pub because she's mocking us by throwing her team's spring break trip to Hawaii in our face.

    Labels: ,

    The End is Nigh: Karch taking his pink hat and going home

    The best volleyball player ever is retiring (And don't give me that nonsense about Jason Stimpfig).

    Karch Kiraly, at 46, is finally hanging it up after this beach season. You know what we appreciate about Karch? The way he makes us feel like we're complete and utter slackers compared to what he does on a daily basis (Not all of us, McPeak, Youngs, etc. Not you guys. You're freaks, too).

    The man is FORTY-SIX and still competing on the AVP, and still competitive. He won a beach tournament two years ago. That's just sick.

    I remember a story from a couple of years ago where some bigshot from BYU had just graduated and tried to do Karch's workout with him. The BYU guy had to quit after like 5 minutes. That's not unbeatable service, is it?

    Karch is like that old Army commercial; he gets more done before 8 a.m. than most of us accomplish, well, probably all week.

    Labels: ,

    We take the USA Volleyball Quiz!

    Get out your #2 pencils and dive in to the latest bit of fun at, a 13-question quiz that tests your knowledge of the 11-member national team training roster! Weeeeee! I can't wait for the hidden picture contest and word find next month!

    #1 - Which three players on the current U.S. Women’s National Training Team played on the same volleyball team for at least one season with their sisters during college?

    A. Don't insult my intelligence. Nu'u, Bowman,, I'll come back to this one.

    #2 - Which player on the U.S. Women’s National Training Team played in two NCAA championship matches at different positions?

    A. Don't be distracted by the presence of Huskies on the roster. The answer is Busboom. Next.

    #3 - Lee Maes was this current U.S. Women’s National Training Team player’s club coach prior to attending college.

    A. Again, it's quite easy to look in the wrong place. Answer: Allison Anderson, who played for Golden Bear.

    #4 - Yoshie Takeshita and Tiger Woods are the favorite athletes of this current U.S. Women’s National Training Team player.

    A. I don't even know who Yoshie Takeshita is, let alone know who's in love with him. Her. Whatever.

    #5 - Which player is one semester short of a psychology degree?

    A. Tom Hogan.

    #6 - As a sophomore, this player led NCAA Division I with nine triple-doubles.

    A. The only player I remember getting triple doubles with any regularity is Misty May when she set at Long Beach, and Bowman used to set AND hit rightside, so Bowman is the answer. Bowman.

    #7 - After her volleyball career, this player envisions teaching ESL to young children.

    A. Tom Hogan.

    #8 - Which player captured the Class D 100-meter high hurdles title at her state track and field meet?

    A. Busboom. She's got that hurdler look to her. I'd love to say Candace Lee, just because the idea of a libero zipping over high hurdles is appealing.

    #9 - Which player wants to become a college athletic director after her volleyball playing career is over?

    A. The thing you have to ask yourself here is, Which one of these players appears to be a person who could survive despite the constant annoyances of the A.D. job? Who would excel in the soul-grinding minutiae of being an A.D.? Here's where I go with Courtney Thompson. She could throw a drunken cross country runner off a team for public drunkenness in the blink of an eye and still find time to enjoy that day's Ziggy cartoon.

    #10 - In addition to volleyball, this current training team player competed in the triple jump in college for one season.

    A. Trick question. None of them.

    #11 - Which player is obsessed with Shark Week on Discovery Channel?

    A. You could go with Candace Lee. She seems to be the silent-but-deadly type that appreciates the efficiency of a shark, but I think I remember The Ham (Jillian Davis) saying she enjoyed this show.

    #12 – Which current training team player moved to middle blocker as a college junior after playing her first two collegiate seasons as an opposite?

    A. It's gotta be Tomes, doesn't it? The next tallest player is 5'10", and while I know Bowman is multitalented, I don't remember her cracking any 1-balls for the Gophers.

    #13 - Which player competed on four state high school volleyball championship teams?

    A. This is tricky. You'd want to pick Drury because she's from Louisville, and in all likelihood that means she played for Assumption, and they lose to an in-state school only once every 30 years. No, I'm going with Fenton, because Marysville is nutso for volleyball in the Mitten State.

    Who will be the next player added to the U.S. Women's National Training Team? (answer not provided on answer key page)

    A. What? No answer to this one on the key page? You didn't want to announce who made the team by posting it as the answer to a fun web page quiz? That's...actually very decent of you. I have no idea who the next player added will be. Hunter's been around a while, but Busboom's a crazy good athlete. So I'm gonna plead the 5th and wait. I got time.

    The answers reveal that we got 9 out of 13 right. Not too bad, but I'm guessing Bill Kauffman isn't impressed.

    Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    VanMeter on the Road

    We haven't heard much from in a while, ever since their epic tome in January exalting the status of the program.

    So we read with great interest the "Illinois volleyball notebook" released on March 2, but we were disappointed by the low word count (Only 440 words? It's like they're not even trying anymore). There's a quick snippet on Vicki Brown training with the National Team, news of an honor for recruit Laura DeBruler, a quick report on spring practice...

    Then there's an update on alum Rachel VanMeter's performance in the Korean Professional League. Through 12 matches, she's leading the team in points and is hitting a stellar .412 for her team...

    ...the Korean Highway Association. I had no idea that public utilities sponsored Korean professional athletic teams, or that they even could. Things are flat-out weird in foreign countries. No way this happens in America.

    Allen Iverson would never play for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

    Labels: , , ,

    Badminton world even more delusional than we are

    Skyline College, in San Bruno, Calif., is all fired up for a new BADMINTON SEASON! What does that have to do with volleyball? Well, seems that badminton is implementing this WILD new scoring system called "rally scoring," to -- get this -- "make matches more easily televised."

    Aw. That's adorable. See, years ago the Volleyball Powers That Be believed that rally scoring would get us on TV, too, make our matches "more easily televised."

    How'd that turn out for us? Not exactly a lollapalooza of televised matches out there. And if it didn't work for us, it's sure as hell not working for a sport that uses a "shuttlecock."

    It's just sad to see another sport get their hopes up because of the promise of rally scoring. It's just like when Springfield fell for the monorail flim-flam: The cosmic ballet goes on.


    Arnott, or...not

    Hawaii's Alicia Arnott will not take advantage of her fifth year of eligibility this coming fall. The story about Arnott's decision doesn't go into a lot of depth as to why she isn't returning, only that it's something "she has decided."

    Question: Is this a riot-worthy turn of events? I mean, I know the Wahine fans are crazy for their team, but just how far does that insanity extend? And if not riot-worthy, what about a skirmish? A spirited protest? Maybe just a mild letter-writing campaign.

    Or perhaps this is seen as just another bruise on the papaya of life. You don't want to riot for no good reason, after all. You should probably hold that trump card for only the most dire situations, like if Kim Willoughby decided her freshman year to quit school and follow the teachings of SpongeBob Squarepants.

    Labels: ,

    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    The Travel Gnome sold somebody a bill of goods

    USA Volleyball has announced that Portland, Ore., and Green Bay, Wis., will host the first two weekends of domestic competition when the U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team plays in the 2007 FIVB World League.

    I'm assuming Fargo, N.D., and Yuma, Ariz., were busy on those dates?

    According to USA Volleyball grand poobah Doug Beal, Portland has hosted matches before, "including the sold-out matches"--Oh, I stand corrected. Perhaps Portland is a solid choi--"between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1985."

    The Soviet Union in 1985? Pardon? Well, I'm sure not much has changed in Portland in the last 22 years...right?

    As for Green Bay, Beal states that "Its support of the Packers is unmatched in any other NFL city." Yes, the Packers, not men's volleyball. Unless you can cite previous sellouts during the Eisenhower administration.

    "We hope to get similar support for our team."

    Yeah, and I hope Jennifer Love Hewitt moves in next door. This ain't "The Shawshank Redemption," Douglas, and you're not Morgan Freeman.

    Labels: ,

    Oh wow that's bad

    "Unbeatable Service"? What is this, Jiffy Lube? Are we supposed to feel threatened because these guys know how to change an air filter? Thank goodness BYU is actually a quality team because this poster / wallpaper / whatever is about as threatening as a newborn kitten.

    Next year their slogan is rumored to be "BYU Men's Volleyball: Now with Free Checking."