Monday, April 30, 2007

Totally unfair photo captions with Russ Rose

A rare glimpse at Russ Rose's other passion in life: ventriloquism.

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Fun with USA coaching selections

You know that game people play where they add the words "in bed" to the end of any fortune from a fortune cookie? "You will reap many financial rewards" bed.

Well, I have the same compulsion whenever I read a release about a college coach being named to a USA coaching position. Let me demonstrate.

Wisconsin's Rod Wilde was just named head coach of the USA High Performance Select team.

"We have assembled a great staff," Wilde said, "and I'm looking forward to working with these young players to help them realize their dreams of one day becoming an Olympic athlete"...or a Wisconsin Badger, whichever comes first.

See how that works?

Try this quote from Anne Kordes on being selected as an assistant coach for the Youth National Team: "It is an honor to be selected as a coach for the Girls Youth National Team. It is an incredible coaching and learning opportunity for me" lure unsuspecting newbies into the clutches of her Billiken program.

Good stuff.

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Heffernan gets a Brazilian

While we're sure there's a faction out there, somewhere, that was hoping this article was about Washington State head honcho Brian Heffernan getting some kind of masochistic body waxing, it's not. Instead, Heffernan has made another hire, sort of. Brazilian Edgard da Gama e Silva Filho joins the Cougars as a volunteer assistant with the longest possible name. But don't worry about memorizing all of that because Filho "goes by the name Dega."

I think that's what Cher did, too. Rumor is her real name was Maria Sofia e Silva Skibinski.

Heffernan is super amped about his new hire, telling us that "Dega brings a tremendous skill set, knowledge base and expertise to our program." Not to mention a shiny pipeline to immense reservoirs of Brazilian talent, no doubt. But please, by all means, go with the "skill set" stuff.

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New Buckeye to be more Ifejika or more Stragliotto?

Looks like the Pavan Sweepstakes v2.0 are over, with the Buckeyes coming up the big winners (Rich Kern wouldn't lie to us, would he?). This gives everyone more time to start obsessing over Kelly Murphy's college decision now.

Oh, that's unfortunate. Funny, funny messageboard, beat us to the punch.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hilliard chases Swanson world record

After six years as an assistant, San Diego's Brent Hilliard has been named associate head coach for the Toreros. The announcement comes too late to surpass Scott Swanson's record performance for ascension to associate head coach status, about 5 years too late.

And if anyone deserved the promotion, it's this guy. Last year he was interim head coach while Jen Petrie took a leave of absence. So what did Hilliard do while Petrie was away? Rest on his laurels? Kick back and enjoy a fresh beverage?

No, Hilliard guided San Diego to the West Coast Conference championship as well as the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Championships, and was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year.

Might make conversations in the office interesting next year. Let's say, for whatever reason, the Toreros win their conference but only get to the second round of the tournament?

"I didn't wanna say anything, but, you know, last year I got to the Sweet Sixteen. Just thought you should be aware of that."

"Last year? When I took the team to the Sweet Sixteen? Here's what we did..."

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Halleluiah, Boos hath signed

Here comes closure to one of the bigger non-stories in the past few weeks. Quite a relief, eh Boos?

"I never had worries that it wasn't going to be done, so it's not that much of a relief," Boos said.

Yeah, that's about what we thought.

It should be noted, though, that Boos has some interesting incentives in his contract. For instance, if he's named national coach of the year, he gets a $5,000 bonus.

That's it? I mean $5,000 is a nice chunk of change, sure, but do you know how many MAC coaches have been national coach of the year since 1996? Zero. I'd be willing to be the number doesn't go up much more if you look at the all-time winners.

Screw the 5k. If Boos wins national coach of the year, they should make him president of the school, maybe even sports czar for the whole state.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

I don't get it

Here's an excerpt from the Orange County Register article about UC Irvine's men's team beating BYU in the MPSF semis:

UC Irvine knew the speakers would either play the Beatles or the soundtrack to the musical "Annie" after Thursday's men's volleyball semifinals in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

"Helter Skelter" or "It's the Hard-Knock Life"?

The Anteaters and their "Fab Four" [groan] — seniors Jayson Jablonsky, David Smith, Brian Thornton and Matt Webber — are loving tomorrow instead of lamenting their yesterdays with their 30-19, 28-30, 27-30, 30-27, 15-10 victory over BYU.

OK, so the "Annie" reference is for the song "Tomorrow," and if we assume Orange County Register reporter K.J.M. Singleton is following some kind of chain of logic, then the Beatles reference is "Yesterday."

That sense.

"Yesterday" is a sad song, so I'm guessing that would be playing in the speakers if UC Irvine had lost. But "Tomorrow" is a song about not worrying about how bad things are today because there's always tomorrow. And since they won the match, they wouldn't really be looking forward to tomorrow in the way the song describes.

Why try so hard to be so clever? Instead of "soundtrack to the musical 'Annie'" Singleton could have used...virtually ANY of the THOUSANDS of songs out there that are more, what's the word, "positive."

And if he wanted to stick with "Yesterday," Singleton could have gone with something like "Right Here, Right Now," couldn't he?

Am I alone in this? The whole thing just doesn't work...I don't know why I'm so annoyed...just, give me a moment.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Villanova signs TV character actor

Ask anyone and they'll tell you Josh Steinbach is a solid guy, so it's nice to see him get the job at Villanova after Gilad went to San Francisco because Jeff Nelson went to New Mexico because what's-her-face left.

I don't know why, but I swear Steinbach played the medical examiner in like 12 episodes of "Law & Order." Am I wrong? He just has that look, you know, a cup of coffee in one hand, his other hand rooting through the gastro-intestinal tract of some dude found dead in an entry way at 72nd and Amsterdam by two snooty socialites? Too much?

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Judy Green's level jumping our relationship

We appreciate that coaches want to put their conference in the best light possible, but is Alabama head coach Judy Green perhaps jumping the gun?

“I think when people look at the SEC now, they consistently see one of the top three volleyball conferences in the nation,” Green said.

Back up there, Judy. The Big 12 called. They want their token Top 3 designation back. We don't want to take anything away from the SEC, but when you have the national champs, and three times as many teams in the top 30 than the SEC, you win.

Of course we love the SEC, but we feel uneasy when people make these proclamations about which conferences are the best (1. Pac-10 2. Big Ten 3. Big 12, and that's FINAL!!!). Plus, the SEC is coming along nicely, what with 7 teams in the NCAA tournament, which was 2 more than they deserved (give or take 1).

But, hey, Judy (JudyJudyJudy) is entitled to testify on behalf of her SEC brethren. And now I'm sure someone on Volleytalk will tell me why I'm wrong. Enjoy.

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Journalism 101 from across the pond

Bringing up "Oprah" is not completely random: the talk-show queen has just launched a campaign to rein in rappers in the aftermath of a controversy that saw white radio host Don Imus sacked after calling the members of a black women's championship volleyball team "nappy-headed hos" on air.
--The Guardian, London

Wait, what? Hey, don't drag us into that whole Imus debacle. We're over here minding our own business running beach volleyball tournaments on the side. But I guess simple details such as the type of team Imus bad-mouthed can get lost alllll the way across the Atlantic Ocean. It's not like you couldn't Google "Imus+nappy" and get the correct team in around 3.4 seconds.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Odds, ends...odder ends

  • More people think Florida's Kari Klinkenborg is hot. The Gator was named Hottest Female Athlete at Florida for the '06-'07 school year by So if you tell Klinkenborg she's hot, it's not a pick-up line; it's empirical data. Of course with a name like "Klinkenborg," her hotness rating is...Seven of Nine. (That's just for you, Trek dorks.)

  • Mike Hebert has weighed in on the text-messaging debate: "It's just the culture now. Instead of fighting technology, we should find ways to embrace it." Yes, embrace the yummy technology of our computer overlords...which I think is how Skynet got started in "The Terminator."

  • Former Baylor head coach Tom Sonnichsen's 10-year lawsuit against the university has just been resolved. Only 10 years? What's the rush? Do you think when Sonnichsen was informed of the decision he said, "Lawsuit?"

  • According to, Utah State's Hailey Jeppson and Beth Hodge are leaving the team. The former because "school wasn't Jeppson's thing" and the latter because of nagging injuries. No histrionics, no conspiracy theories. That's how you do it, people! According to head coach Grayson Dubose, Hailey "just said, 'Yeah, school isn't for me.' What do you say to that?"

    "Thanks for the heads up"?

Utah student newspaper columnist shows us his goodies

Utah sports columnist Cody Brunner has been through a lot this past year, and he's afraid that the Utes sports program--well, let's let him describe it:

"Since nobody else has the balls to say it," -- (Oh no...) -- "I'll go ahead. This has been one of the most disappointing years of U sports in recent memory. "

I don't know if it's about having the chutzpah to admit that Utah athletics had a down year. Perhaps it's simply a mutual understanding that everyone has? Nevertheless, I don't think involving your "junk" in the discussion is necessary.

Brunner goes through the sports he feels have let the Ute faithful down, and says that although he "had the pleasure of covering (Utah volleyball) last semester" and "was impressed with everything about it," he's disheartened by recent events.

"The program took an immense hit in the form of its two key players quitting," Brunner said. "They gave no reason as to why they were walking out, either, leaving many fans and casual observers scratching their heads."

Cody! Cody, Cody, Cody. Have you not been reading this site? We told you that Salvo and Anderson were leaving because of a complicated plot involving the Vatican and Tom Hanks' hair.

Or maybe he didn't read the "change of scenery" mea culpa. Or the various messageboard illuminaries' dissection of spoiled kids v. coaches out for themselves.

I just hope the only legacy of this whole incident isn't that it pushed Brunner to use the word "balls" in the opening sentence of a column.

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Hoosiers tired of being disappointed by only Americans

According to, Indiana has recruited their first international volleyball player ever. First ever. That's kinda shocking, isn't it? All these years, and not even one Canadian? Not one Serb? No Scots, Brits, or Spaniards? Never considered bringing in a Portuguese Man-o-war? A Dane? A Swiss Miss?

Martyna Popik, the fuzzy foreigner in question, comes to Bloomington from Liceum Stefana Zeromskiego in Poland with an exceptional resume. She won four Polish 1/4 Championship Tournament titles, and in 2004 and '05, MKS Bielsko-Biala won the Polish 1/2 Championship Tournament crown, and...

Oh what's the use. She could be totally making all of this up and we wouldn't ever know the difference. I have no idea what a Polish 1/4 Championship is. For all I know it's the equivalent of the South Dakota Middle School State Championship. "Liceum Stefana Zeromskiego"? What in the world is that? Polish 1/2 Championship? Who knows.

Recruiting foreign athletes is a lot like talking with the mechanic at your car dealership.

"Mr. Franklin, that rattling sound was a blown MKS Bielsko-Biala."

"Ah. What?"


"I'd like to come play at your school."

"What did you do in Croatia?"

"Well, I was Grand Poobah for the Catalytic Converter Institute Tournament in Minsk..."


"...and followed that up with a win at the Transaxle Brake Fluid Invitational."


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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Katie Olsovsky's USA Journal!

You know what we haven't had recently? A journal from a USA National Team member. What with all the Utah "stuff," we need a palate cleanser.

And just like that, Katie Olsovsky gives us an update on her glamorous life playing pro ball in Italy and living near Rome. Personallly, I didn't even know that the former Trojan was still a part of USA Volleyball, but then what do I know.

After telling us about her favorite things about Rome, such as the weather ("It is just like Southern California, never snows!!"), her experience with his royal Popeness ("I went to the Vatican for midnight mass and sat inside the church for the Pope’s service."), and her familiarity with places I've never heard of (Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Condotti), Katie tells us that the drivers are nuts in Italy:

Making a left hand turn and yielding to oncoming traffic doesn’t even cross someone’s mind here! It is a very different way to drive, and for my first time being here I decided not to drive.

Crazier than the 110 at rush hour? C'mon, Olsovsky!

"I probably pass by the Coliseum two or three times a week and just say, 'Oh there’s the Coliseum again.'"

Kinda like "Look, kids! Big Ben, Parliament!"

But the one thing I really admire in professional athletes is their discipline and dedication, and Olsovsky's no exception.

"The day I got here I went on the Tiramisu diet."

OK, so she's kinda on a modified regimen. But that's OK because she hasn't forgotten "the real reason why I am here, to play volleyball!"

As a player in the BBC 1Classe Roma league, her greatest hurdle has been the discrepancy between the short socks her teammates wear ("because I was told it makes your legs look sexier") and her new-fangled American style ("I think I am a forever long sock lover!").

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Quote adjustment with John Dunning

Schools across America are signing both juniors and seniors to letters of intent, which means we're reading the same kinds of quotes over and over again: She's a great player, unlimited potential, we're lucky to have her, on and on. Take this quote by John Dunning on the signing of...Das Klineman:

"Alix has high level skills because she works very hard and has had excellent coaching. She is one of the few players each year who can have a serious impact on the college game."

Once again, wouldn't it be great if a coach for once told us what they were really thinking?

I tell ya', this was a big mistake. HUGE. I really wouldn't expect her to have much of an impact, let alone play, any time in the next four years. I seriously have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to recruiting.

Or this:

Look, I'm gonna be honest about this one: I owed a buddy a favor. But just keep that between you and me, OK? Hello?

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Georgetown P.R. machine not doing its job, apparently

"We try to get people to dress up for team volleyball games; not that many people even know that we have a varsity women’s volleyball team."
-Outgoing Hoya Blue President Kurt Muhlbauer in The Hoya.

Really? How big is Georgetown? I suppose it's tough to spread the word on volleyball, what with all the distractions, like rumors of a new Starbuck's opening. But, I mean, am I going to get lost in the panoply (Ding! SAT word) of activities and/or sports being offered and not realize there's volleyball?

To the P.R. Mobile, Hagan!


Monday, April 23, 2007

American dudes exposed to Greek ruckus

Remember a few weeks back when some Greek volleyball fans when nutso after a match and a guy was killed? Well, according to a new article on, it turns out that Reid Priddy plays for the men's team for one of the clubs involved, Olympiakos Piraeus, and several other Americans also compete in Greece.

Kevin Hansen, a national team setter, related details of another such incident where after a match the volleyball hooligans actually threw flares at fans as they left the gym.

"Every single car window in the parking lot was smashed," Hansen said, "and luckily the police were there to catch them.”

To catch them? What about, you know, being there to stop them before they broke all the car windows? What kind of parking lot security is going on over there when hundreds of cars getting their windows smashed and no one notices until they're all done?

"Looks like they're done, boys. Round 'em up!"

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More collegiate beach odds and ends

So on Monday makes you navigate to the lame Collegiate Nationals website where we finally get a rundown of the tournament. The story really only covers the finals in any kind of depth, but it's better than nothing. The pictures are still from last year, and the video gallery is "Coming Soon!"

Yeah, whenever "soon" is, I'll probably have moved on to stamp collecting or something.

As it turns out, Texas was this close to getting into the semis, but lost out by points to Nebraska. In fact, Texas was the only team to beat Nebraska in a 15-13, 16-18, 23-21 barn-burner.

And we got this fun quote from Pavan:

"It was nice and warm at the beach, but I didn't get to hang out with the cows as much as I do at home."

You know, every time I think I want to visit Canada, someone says something like this, and I lose the urge.

Then there's this quote from Florida's Angie McGinnis:

“You could definitely tell who had played on the beach before and who hadn’t,” McGinnis said.

Lookin' at you, Minnesota and Penn State.

"But for having not played 2-on-2 on the beach before and having only a few practices, I think Marcie and I did really well."

OK, looking at McGinnis, too...and Hampton.

Oh, and FYI, lists the original seeds for the tournament as the order of finish:


UPDATE: The offending wrong order of finish has been removed from the page. Apparently the final order of finish remains a mystery...

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D'Errico part of shady '80s flashback?


Here I thought that this was an award sponsored by Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael, something to do with "Careless Whispers."

Turns out it's some kind of "Sportswoman of the Year" given out by the Women's Sportsday Luncheon. A nice honor for future Nittany Lion D'Errico, but, you know, we were hoping for some kind of "Wake Me Up before You Go-Go" thing.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fun with headlines on Google News

You know, I'm no anatomy whiz, but...


Mitten State controversy just won't quit

Remember that whole ruckus over getting the Michigan girls' high school volleyball season switched from winter to fall? In addition to switching girls volleyball and basketball, the MHSAA also decided to switch girls and boys tennis from fall and spring, respectively, to spring and fall. And no one is happy.

Accoring to an article in The Ile Camera newspaper, opponents to the switch argue "that girls would be more adversely affected by the colder, windy climate of spring than boys."

WOW. W-O-W. Did I really just read that and then cut-and-paste it into this post? Is it the 1950s? Do they also want to make June Cleaver 101 a requirement for these frail girls, too?

"Girls are more vulnerable to the weather, with fall being more attractive."

Yes, plus the damp spring weather does horrible things to a young woman's hair. Isn't there a perfectly good knitting club they could join? Instead of all that inappropriate sweating?

I imagine Billie Jean King is rolling over in her...well, her bed, wherever she lives. She must swell with pride knowing that people in Michigan are against girls tennis in the spring because the girls are too dainty.

You see where this is going, don't you? Tons and tons of individual lawsuits fighting the moving of specific sports.


Dormant Litchfield rumor mill gets a jumpstart

Unless you've been running covert ops for S.H.I.E.L.D. for the past year, you're aware that Randy Litchfield, a 13-year veteran who had one sub-.500 season, was suddenly let go by Ball State University earlier this year.

There was a lot of hub-bub, hullaballo, over why his contract wasn't renewed. But the dust storm died down, and we all went about our business, until someone on asked what had happened to Litchfield and his staff.

Sunday, Litchfield replied. (Or someone claiming to be Litchfield.) Let's take a look:

"With the one exception of still living in Muncie and somewhat near Ball State, all is great."

I could be wrong, but it sounds like he's still a little sore at Ball State.

"I'm looking forward to moving away from here."

Yep, those aren't the words of a man happy with his former employer. Can't really fault him there.

"With all the mystery surrounding my firing, I'm sure the rumor mill has run crazy."

Actually, it was crazy, and this post was more of an FYI...

"That bothers me a lot."

I'm sure it does. But I don't know that we need to go throu--

"I believe the truth will come out soon enough."

Eeep. Can of worms...opening...

"I've got to bit my tongue for a little while longer."

Oh no! Don't leave us hanging person-who-may-or-may-not-be-Litchfield! Let the tongue go! We're so close!

ARGH! It's like an episode of "LOST"! I need answers! What "truth" is he referring to? Why does he have to bite his tongue? And what does this have to do with Desmond's bizarre visions? Was it Litchfield that brought Locke's dad to the island? HELP.

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And the winner is...?

OK, completely lame coverage of the collegiate beach national championships. Seriously, how hard is it to put ONE update of the tournament on (I get it: Cayleigh Ashman is going to Temple. WE GET IT.)

And had results...from LAST YEAR. What does it take for some I.T. gremlin to get in there and give us some results? It's really hard to get excited about an event when we have no way of following it...

Finally, around 8:15 PST, the folks gave us a picture of the winning team (Pavan and Larson) and a quick blurb. That's it. The only other stuff I saw all day was on, and at least they gave us a score, 18-16 Nebraska in the third game.

This was after San Diego (my sleeper!) and Cal Poly SLO won their respective pools. Minnesota and Penn State both threw bagels (Really? Gosh, who would've thunk it...). Florida and Texas both went 1-2. I thought Texas would be better, but they were in a tougher pool, IMO, with Nebraska and Cal Poly.

Not that I got any of that info from CSTV or the lame Collegiate Nationals website. That info came from

So, while we love the idea and think it's got legs (wink), we really, really think the result reporting stunk. Stink. Stank. Stunk.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dave Rubio wants 2 B your BFF, IMHO

You may be aware that there's a movement out there to regulate text messaging of athletic recruits. Anna Chappel, a former Arizona basketball player and chair of the Division I student-athlete advisory committee, claims that student-athletes want text messages eliminated.

"If you don't stop it now, what roads are you going to have to cross later on?" she said in an Arizona Daily Star article.

Very ominous.

But Dave Rubio has a different opinion. He's much more down with the youth of today.

"The preferred way of communicating for young people today is by text messaging," he said.

That's our Davey. He sounds like the editor of Teen Vogue making an appearance on the "Today" show, doesn't he?

"Coming up, Matt makes cool summer finger sandwiches, Al will have the latest weather, and Meredith Vieira talks with Teen Vogue's Dave Rubio on all the hot new trends with today's teens. That's later, on 'Today.'"

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Is "spin doctors" too cynical?

Ohhhh! So all that other stuff that Mrs. Salvo said about someone at the A2 tryouts telling them that the MWC wasn't tough enough, that was tomfoolery?

False alarm, everybody! No one at the A2 tryouts is responsible! Just a simple change of scenery. Mrs. Salvo was obviously just, um...repeating something...that had, uh, nothing to do with her daughter's...decision in an article...about that decision?

Alright, let's not get too cynical. Perhaps someone was acting of their own volition? Is there a chance Airial didn't know those quotes were coming?



"What did you do?!"

"...would you like a cookie?"

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One small step in McCartney's plans, one giant step for Georgia volleyball

Shiny, brand new Georgia head coach Joel McCartney, fresh off his hiring coup, knows a thing or two about rebuilding volleyball programs. He took Winthrop and molded it into a finely tuned winning machine. Let's listen in on his battleplan for the Bulldogs:

"The first step in this rebuilding process is to develop a winning program."

It's just like listening to Sun Tzu.

Are there any other steps in there, somewhere? Silly me, I thought developing a winning program was the end result of the rebuilding process. It's kinda like saying "The first step in rebuilding the Milwaukee Brewers is winning the World Series." you see what's happening here? Joel, in his bloodthirsty strive for power, isn't going to be satisfied with simply developing a winning program! He's...OUT TO RULE THE WORLD.

You're next! You're next! You're next!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bob Newhart does the Launiere / USAV phone call

"Hello? Well, hi, Beth, what can I...yes, yes I read those quotes, I don't know who would have, um, 'facilitated the destruction of your starting lineup,' but I'm not sure that's how I'd...uh-huh,, I don't know what it feels like to have your spleen ripped out. I'd imagine it doesn't, doesn't tickle,, you're right, that wasn't funny...I'm sure having two starters transfer doesn't tickle, uh, at all...well, are you sure they're that important to your team?, I don't think you're stupid..."

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Novacek following in Seikaly's footsteps?

When it was announced that Rony Seikaly was giving beach volleyball a shot, we thought, OK, an isolated incident.

But now another retired pro athlete has announced he's giving the AVP a try. Jay Novacek, a former tight end for the Dallas Cowboys, will try to qualify for the main draw of the AVP's Dallas stop this Thursday. (Novacek's daughter, (niece?) Becky, will play for the Dayton Flyers next fall.)

This is getting odd. As we pointed out with Seikaly, Karch, the best player ever, is about to retire at the age of 42. Novacek's 45. If Karch is giving it up at 42, Novacek has no chance at 45.

So what is going on here? It's one thing if these guys are just looking for a new challenge, as top-notch athletes are wont to do, but isn't that what marathons and triathalons are for?

But then again, perhaps trying to qualify for the main draw of an AVP event is the 2007 version of competing in a marathon or triathalon?

Or perhaps the AVP has found a new P.R. twist to promote each stop of the tour? Afterall, in all reality Seikaly isn't going to be of much interest to those outside Miami, same with Novacek outside of Dallas. We'll know I'm right when Dan Dierdorf announces his intention to try to qualify for the Glendale, Ariz., main draw. I'm thinking "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison will enter in Louisville, Trent Dilfer for Tampa, hm, Dale Murphy for Atlanta, Steve Stone for Chicago...and Pedro Borbon for Cincinnati.

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Regionals, 2007: Wahine faithful not happy...again

The four regional sites have been announced for next fall's NCAA Tournament: Gainesville, Madison, Happy Valley, and Palo Alto.

So I suppose this means Hawaii won't win the title next year, either?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

McGinnis / Hampton odds just went out the window

We're already on record saying that we think the San Diego duo of Jaimarie Sutherland and Andrea Csaszi are a good bet for the Collegiate Volleyball Championship coming up in San Diego, along with Texas' Ashley Engle and Alyson Jennings.

But since the pairings were announced (and amended with the dropping of players-without-a-country team of Salvo and Anderson), we've been trying to handicap the tourney by analyzing the teams. We think we just got a big hint on Florida's entry.

According to an article on, Hampton, the outside hitter par excellence, "has never played beach volleyball," while McGinnis, setter superb, has "played beach volleyball sparingly at her family's Michigan cottage."

20:1 odds, right now.

"Just running in general is hard," McGinnis said. "There's also only one person to block. That makes it tough. And you can't go after every ball in the sand. You'll get exhausted. You have to let some fall."

Make that 30:1.

Plus, McGinnis' boyfriend, a military man she doesn't get to see very often, is stationed in San Diego. That kind of distraction can be CRIPPLING!

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Ah, Spring Ball

If we're lucky, will present Louisville with an award of some kind.


Sports Guy not very familiar with talent level of Pac-10

"(Walter Herrmann) looks like a cross between Fabio and one of those mutant women's volleyball players in the Pac-10."
ESPN's Sports Guy, Bill Simmons

We're curious. By "mutant volleyball players in the Pac-10" is Simmons referring to someone like this?

Or this?

Or this?

Are these the mutants he's referring to? The ones that, you know, wouldn't ever date him?

Yes, he's being obtuse for fun because of Herrmann's long blond hair, but...what can we say. We're very territorial.

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Baum back in the hizzouse

Arizona's Kristina Baum has been granted a medical redshirt, making her eligible for one final year of action.

Baum tore her ACL last year. We can only hope we'll read her cries of joy on her "Baumer's Blog" because her writing is different than most; it's entertaining. Right now she has a sonnet about Arizona's spring trip to Hawaii, along with a handy-dandy stanza-by-stanza explanation of said poem.

I appreciate the decoding because I'm honestly not sure I could figure out what this means:

Napping at noon, too many pictures, having a purse stole,
Get into bed with a dig and a roll.

(FYI, it's apparently not about falling asleep in the middle of the day after too much attention from paparazzi, your only comfort coming from a scarf with compartments for your wallet, lipstick, and chewing gum. Assorted breads join you in bed.)

The only other source of confusion, if we're being reeeeallly picky, like 7th grade English picky, is the following:
Stanza 4: I think everyone brought back Macadamia nuts for someone back home which were found everywhere even in menus.

For a moment I thought the people back home were found "everywhere even in menus." That's just me. I have issues with misplaced modifiers that are deep-seeded.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Totally unfair photo captions with Connie Dangerfield

"I get to play front row now! I get to play front row!"

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Fun with headlines on

Really? "Miami Nice"? That's how you want to play this one? With an oddly shaped reference to Don Johnson's heyday?


Can you hear me now?

"We'll be calling USA Volleyball about comments made in The Tribune and finding out where that came from."
- Beth Launiere

I know people say "I'd love to be a fly on the wall," but...I would REALLY love to be a fly on the wall for that phone conversation.

"USA Volleyball."

"Yes, this is Beth Launiere calling."

"H-h-hold, please."


"It's Beth Launiere!"

"Oh my God!"

"What do I do?! What do I do?!"

"I don't know! Hang up?!"


"Just hang up and we'll tell Tom when he gets back from lunch!"

"Good idea."


"...hello? Li'l help?"

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Let's trip the Licht fantastic!

Any chance we can wait until at least Lindsey Licht's freshman fall before we start in with the obvious comparisons to Pavan?
"Yes, national player of the year Sarah Pavan and freshman recruit Lindsey Licht are both 6-foot-5. And, yes, they’re both left-handed."

No? OK, guess not.

It's just that we've got a whole summer and fall to play that card, and I didn't think we needed to use it in April. Next up, a discussion of playing in Pavan's shadow, and how, also being 6'5", Licht casts her own formidable shadow.

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That was close. OK, actually it wasn't. Rony Seikaly and his teammate, Gaston Macau lost 21-9, 21-18 to Craig Demott and Dameon Holmquist in their first qualifying match for the AVP stop in Miami. Just not sure I could take Seikaly doing anything other than getting bounced.

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And the fun continues...

Well that's an unfortunate reaction, but not unheard of with such a sudden, stunning departure. Not sure it's true about Salvo not being clutch, as I'm sure there will be gobs of schools vying for both her and Anderson's services.

I think it's obvious what's going on here. Something more happened than hijinks on that trip to Italy and Croatia; Anderson and Salvo were brainwashed.

By who? Well, the team took a trip to the Vatican City. Undoubtedly an emissary for the Catholic Church, thinking they were striking a blow against the Church of Latter Day Saints, decided to implant a tiny microchip into both players' cerebral cortexes, which, when activated, caused both to come to the conclusion that Utah is not the place for them. This same subversive cabal is responsible for Andrew Bogut's less-than-overwhelming NBA career thus far, as well as any bad publicity for presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

At least that's my theory.

Next step: a big-budget movie starring Tom Hanks with a really, really awful choice of haircut, where he tries to interpret scribblings by Salvo and Anderson on the walls of their Utah dorm rooms.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

USA staff apparently (OK, "allegedly") screwing with other people's livelihoods

"We just got back from the A2 tryouts and the staff said the conference was just not that tough," Salvo's mother Lori said. "They're not playing against top players in top conferences."

That's Lori Salvo, mother of Utah deserter Airial Salvo after news broke that Airial and teammate Sydney Anderson are bailing on the Utes for loftier heights, apparently after receiving advice from "the staff" at the A2 tryouts.

That sound you hear is the USA Volleyball infrastructure crumbling to the ground, combined with Tom Pingel developing an instantaneous ulcer.

Don't you think head coach Beth Launiere would love a little conversation with the rocket scientist at USA Volleyball that gave her two budding young stars such stellar advice?

"Hey, thanks for that. Really. You're a peach. Did you want to run over my dog, too?"

Can we expect more super terrific interventions in the future from USA staff members? If so, why would any college coach at a school other than Stanford, Penn State, Washington, etc., advise their players to tryout for any USA team?

Why would you? Why send your talented kids to USA Volleyball when there's a danger of someone telling them they need to leave their current school because of a lack of competition?

And correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Utah a Top 10 team last year? With everyone returning? And aren't they playing in the AVCA Showcase next year?

Well according to Mrs. Salvo, Airial and Anderson "want to play for a national championship and become Olympians."

And that's impossible as a Utah Ute? Sure, the odds of achieving the former are tougher at Utah than at Nebraska, Stanford, Penn State, and Washington, but what do you want, the whole thing handed to you on a silver platter?

As for wanting to be an Olympian, this really has even less to do with where you go to school. Stacy Sykora, Lindsey Berg, Charlene Johnson, Demetria Sance, Tammy Liley, Liane Sato, Janet Cobbs, Mickisha Hurley, and Yoko Zetterlund did not play for Top 5 programs. You know what they did do? Play in the Olympics.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Woodward and Bernstein, LOOK OUT

I'd imagine that as a college student journalist, you're always on the lookout for something juicy, something exciting other than the normal "Hey here's another lacrosse story."

But at what point do you think the Ball State Daily News' Justin Hesser realized his story, about new Ball State coach Dave Boos not yet having signed his contract due to a typo, was not the scorcher it first appeared to be?

Probably when Boos told him "I don't think it's important."

Of course, ya' gotta wonder how bad that typo was for Boos to send the whole thing back unsigned. Was the contract for "David Boozz"? "Dave Borscht"? "J. Geils"?

And why does Boos have to "set up a meeting with Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tom Collins to discuss his contract"? Can't you discuss a typo with, you know, whomever typed up the contract?

"A.D. Collins! A.D. Collins!"

"What is it, David?"

"There's a typo in my contract!"


"Look. You spelled volleyball with five Ls instead of four!"

"GADZOOKS! To the mimeograph machine, young David!"

"Tally ho, sir!"

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Seikaly ain't Wilt

Former NBA star Rony Seikaly is going to play in this weekend's AVP event in Miami.

Rony Seikaly? Is this as goofy as it sounds? What, they couldn't find an NBA player who'd been retired longer? Cornbread Maxwell have a Lodge meeting or something?

There's just no way that Seikaly is going to be competitive, is there? He's 41. Karch, the greatest player ever, is 42.

Let's hope Seikaly goes out quickly. It wouldn't look good for a 41-year-old retired bball player to conquer beach ball in one weekend. That would be as improbable as C. Thomas Howell and the dude from "thirtysomething" beating Smith and Stoklos...


Bre Ladd hits mainstream entertainment news: Yippee?

Apparently there's a rumor out there that Arizona alum Luc Walton is dating Britney Spears. Only there's one problem: Walton is dating former Arizona volleyball player Bre Ladd.

Is he better off with Ladd? Let's take a look:

OK, kinda unfair using that photo of Spears. So let's take a look at some pros and cons with Britney:

Pro: Britney's shown herself capable of being smokin' hot.
Con: Not lately she hasn't. (And isn't it interesting that Natalie Portman could pull off the shaved head look, but Spears...can't?)

Pro: Trips to Maui at the drop of a hat.
Con: Trips to rehab clinics in even less time.

Pro: Get to swing with the hot, young Hollywood elite.
Con: Smalltalk with the hot, young Hollywood elite.

It's kinda like choosing between young Elvis and Vegas Elvis. You have to either pick pre-K-Fed Spears or post-K-Fed.

As for Ladd, how can you go wrong? She's modest: According to a 2002 Daily Wildcat newspaper article, her most embarrassing moment was when her "bathing suit top fell off in the water in Rocky Point." That's a normal Tuesday night for Spears.

In the same article Ladd says the first thing she does in the morning is brush her teeth. Spears probably freaks out about the latest paparazzi photo/rumor, drives to get coffee with a child on her lap, then tries to decide which wig to wear that day.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm taking Ladd, every time.

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