Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So, since October is apparently the Month of the Gopher, let's check in with that another volleyball player of note, Taylor Carico, who was interviewed by WCCO recently.

Here's the ominous-sounding opening:
"Taylor Carico had it all."

Wow. This is usually the opening reserved for someone who developed a tragic gambling addiction, or the subject of a Lifetime movie.

"She was a star volleyball player at USC playing in her home state. So, it was intriguing when she left the beaches for the land of 10,000 lakes."

No, no no. You can't start out all serious with the Katie Couric opening, and then downshift to say it was "intriguing" when she transferred. But Carico goes with the rational tone, telling us:

"'Basically, I was just ready for a change and to get out of California.'"

Right, but usually that means a weekend in Sun Valley, or a day in Vegas, but...Minneapolis? Why Minneapolis?

"'She contacted us and we listened to her story.'"

Mike Hebert, the Great Listener. Gretzky was the Great One, Gatsby was just...plain great, but Hebert excels at listening. Young coaches take note.

"...and she listened to us and decided to come to Minnesota."

Oh, so it was a two-way street kind of thing. Gotcha. They listened to each other's stories, decided to join forces. Sounds like a single parents support group, or an episode of "Superfriends."

But I'm still not sure why Minnesota? Aren't there other great listeners out there? Did Carico's friends help her make the decision?

"'Whenever I told someone I was going to Minnesota [they said] --"

Let me guess: You'll do great, what a great decision, congratulations?

"'You're gonna freeze. You're gonna die.' she said, laughing. 'I was like, I'm not going to die, I'm gonna come back alive.'"

Taylor Carico, Bear Grylls of Division I volleyball.

Dieter Watch! Day 7

With 429 replies, 45,201 page views, let's check in with the "Dieter leaves Gopher team" thread and see what kind of progress we've made:
...or not.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Uh, but you just said...

You know what makes it tough to move on? Newspaper headlines that won't let you. Bad headlines! Bad!

Your W.O.W. slip is showing

Either the headline writer for The Current (newspaper for UM-St. Louis) is a World Of Warcraft nerd or he really, really doesn't care for Marysville University. Or he believes the Marysville volleyball team resembles characters from W.O.W.

OR, he's a theater major just killing time with this writing gig. ACTING! THANK YOUUUUUUUU!

That's what she (or he) said.

"The ability to recover from a 10-point deficit at this level is a unique experience." - Colorado's Liz Kritzka after her team came back from 11-1 down to Texas to lose game one of their match 25-23. Yes, that is a unique experience, like the mumps or food poisoning.

"‘Are you a Steelers fan?’ Well, the ones who said they weren’t didn’t get the job.” - Toby Rens on Melissa Stadelman and Allyson Hodnik's first question asked of assistant coach candidates last summer, candidates who are just now discovering why they didn't get the job.

“Davis is a better team than Pacific.” Jeff Stork. Dave Johnson appreciates the help.

"After putting aside Summit League foe Oral Roberts on Saturday, the Mastodons dismantled Missouri State 25-16, 20-25, 25-16, 18-25, 16-14." - Ft Wayne News-Sentinel on IPFW's big win over MO State. "Dismantled"? 1 : to take to pieces; also : to destroy the integrity or functioning of, 2 : to strip of dress or covering : divest, 3 : to strip of furniture and equipment. So unless IPFW undressed MO State or took their barcalounger, I'm not thinking that word choice is very accurate.

“The goal for this match was to win the serving, passing and blocking battles." - Mary Wise on the match against Arkansas.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Monday morning recaps with your cup o' joe

It's Christmas in Pullman! - In a year where USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, and Oregon can't make up their minds whether they're top 10 or not, it only makes sense that Washington State should beat the Huskies for the first time since 2002. This Palileo guy just might know what he's doing!

Cal State JeffStork wins close one - How close? Pacific's offense went 63 kills, 34 errors on 181 attempts to hit .160, with 70 digs. CSUN's offense had 63 kils, 33 errors on 180 attempts to hit .167, with -- you guessed it -- 70 digs. Unfortunately, the win only improves them to 3-6 in conference.

I wouldn't start in that rotation anymore - Akron lost the first 22 points in game one of their match against Central Michigan, all under the direction of Kaitlyn Hurt's serving.

Oklahoma beats Nebraska! - No, not really. Just wanted to try it on for size, see how it felt. Huskers handled the pesky Sooner squad. Interesting fact of the night: Huskers only had 4 less hitting errors in this 3-1 win than they had in their 5-game loss to Iowa State.

UCSB is for real y'allz! - Or maybe the magic of Debbie Green is for real. Now that she stopped coaching to watch daughter Dana, the South American Cowboys are 16-5. Or maybe it's because Saraceno has become the west coast version of Ohio's Godzilla. Or maybe because K-Greg is doing her best coaching ever. Or maybe because Venus is in retrograde.

Broncos love '09 now - Forget anything we've said about the Broncos before now. After sweeping the Bobcats, it's party time again in Kalamazoo! And you know they get down in The 'Zoo...well, I imagine they do, most likely.

Moss needs a day off...and a new right arm - Duke is pushed to five games twice in a row, with Moss getting 42 kills on 90 swings. Urango should have gone to the ACC.

And what's the deal with North Carolina? - The Tarheels are HOT, winning six of their last eight. Let's go to the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel and see if there's any good news that could be inspiring Sagula's Gals to new heights:
That IS good news.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And the fallout begins.

Sure, Christy Johnson HYPHEN! Lynch delivered Iowa State their first win over Nebraska in 76 attempts, and has developed Iowa State into a nationally ranked program, but I know what you're asking: "What's the downside?"

I present to you, a comment posted at the Iowa State Daily:

Aaaand there it is.

I'm sure Ames is lovely, but...
...20 years?

Totally Off-topic Realization

This winter, Lifetime Channel presents...

I was a Golden Gopher: The Brook Dieter Story.

Starring Adrianne Palicki as...
...Brook Dieter.

Laura Bush as...
...Laura Bush.

And Geore Hamilton as...
...Mike Hebert.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Upset of the Night!

I think we're all surprised. It's not like we thought it couldn't happen, but I guess we just didn't expect it to happen. At least not at this juncture of the season. However, there are upsets every week, it seems, so I guess last night shouldn't be any different than any other night of D1 volleyball. But you just don't expect UConn to lose to Fairfield, you know?

OK, although that's a great win for Fairfield, really the upset of the night was Christy Johnson HYPHEN! Lynch going back to her old stomping grounds and beating Nebraska in five games. Let's go to the post-match press conference!

This, sports fans, is what we call two different sides of the coin.
Johnson HYPHEN! Lynch: “Well, we said we’re 1-76 now." - Excellent opening salvo from the Cyclones' skipper. Self-deprecating, deflecting from the accomplishment. She could run for mayor.

Cook: "Thirty-four attack errors and there’s the game." - Yeesh. Thirty-four is not a good number. Iowa State had 21, for reference.

J-L: "Of course,it’s a huge milestone for our program." - Very true, being the first win in SEVENTY-SIX TRIES.

C: "We made 34 attack errors. We’re hitting balls that are going into the luxury seats over there." - Well, they are luxury seats, so it's nice to provide them with souvenirs...?

J-L: "We’ve had kind of a checklist and milestones along the way...we felt like this was one thing we hadn’t achieved yet was defeating Nebraska." Anyone think this checklist has "Beat every school I ever worked at or played for"? Remember, Iowa State bouncing the Badgers from the tourney? In Madison?

Talk to us, Mike!

"The loss of one player does not mean a team disintegrates into a pile of goo." Mike Hebert, on The Dieter Thing. How much would you have loved for Mike to say "...disintegrates into a great big gob of greasy grimey Gopher goo"? Gopher Goo! It's a paste! It's a sauce! It's at the end of the aisle in your local grocery store! Gopher Goo!

Anatomy of a Hot Story

Yes, Brooke Dieter quit the Gophers. Why? Who knows. But much more fun is the reaction on our beloved VolleyTalk. Let's take a look, shall we?

First we have the initial post, followed by the standard reactions of shock, questions, etc. And then...

There it is! Judgement, insinuation, that post has it all. Now, after the initial "That's not a fair post" posts, we progress from something being amiss with Dieter leaving to something being wrong with the ENTIRE Gopher program:

Now, next comes the obligatory, completely out of left field comment:

Haley? Is this an oblique reference to Carico? Did Haley say something about Dieter once? Are we talking about the same Haley?

Soon after we get into an informative, albeit borrrring give-and-take about the rules regarding transferring, scholarships, blah blah blah, followed by some actually cogent, rational discussion, even some Nietzsche!

But mixed in with Nietzsche, comes...this.

OK, so....don't jump to conclusions, but, hey, here's a conclusion of my own I'm going to jump to? Speaking of conclusions...

YESSSS! Criminal implications! How could we have forgotten the possibly actionable side of this story? Now, LET'S GET NUTS!

MORE NUTS! Where's Mango?!

Let the good times roll.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Totally Unfair Picture Captions with the Hoosiers!

"Chaudoin, I really thought you were taller."

"Back atcha, Coach."

Totally Unfair Picture Caption of Judy Green

"How's that feel? Not too tight in the heel? Do you wanna walk around in them? I have a 9 and a half in the back."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Totally Unfair Characterizations of Various Quotes

"Even if Duke was in last place, a win against Duke is always a good win. It makes it even better that they were in first place because that just goes to show the rest of the conference that we’re coming for them.” - North Carolina's Ingrid Hanson-Tuntland. You hear that, ACC? Head for the hills! The Tarheels are comin'!!!

"We worked really hard this week not to have a hangover." - LSU's Fran Flory, describing either the Tigers efforts to drink one water for every beer, or the effort to not have a letdown after the big win over Tebow University.

"We hate disappointing our coaches. We just basically wanted to prove them wrong; we do care, we do want to play hard." - LBSU's Caitlin Ledoux. Hmm, I'm guessing someone, maybe a coach, told the 49ers they didn't play hard?

"They out-fought us, they out-played us and they deserved to win." - Brian Gimmillaro. A-ha!

"I don't think either Creighton or SIU played gorgeous ball tonight, but..." Oooh! Lemme guess! But "beauty is only skin deep in volleyball too"? Or, or, "but we'll settle for girl-next-door ball and the win"? "But the point was we did some good things and got a victory." Oh. You know, Creighton's head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth, if you're gonna set us up with that "gorgeous" remark, give us some kind of payoff, would ya'?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Charles what now?

Yeah, kinda running out of stupid headlines to describe the season from Bizarro Land.

Penn State won in 3 strai-- wait, what? - Heavens to mergatroyd! Michigan took two games off Penn State? How'd the Nittany Lions react the next day? 11, 18, and 12 over Sparty.

Western Michigan hates this year - Just starting to get their legs under them when Akron and Buffalo go all Jeff Gillooly on said legs.

Cal State Fullerton, Spartans, have vague recollection of earlier this season - Remember when Fullerton beat UCLA and Sparta sacked Troy? Those were happier times, weren't they? It was like the 1950s and Zimmerman and George were driving T-Birds with the top down. Well, the '60s have reared their ugly head as Jeff and the Storks knock off the Titans in 4, and Sparta has dropped four straight.

Tobacco Road rivalry claims another victim - Duke has been good this year. Legitimately good. North Carolina has been decent. Legitimately decent. So of course UNC runs Duke off Tobacco Road in 4 games where they land gently in some underbrush.

Illinois interested in, you know, staying with the pack, if they're still having one - DeBruler -- DasBrutalizer! -- 15 kills and .314 in the sweepage of Mike and the Groovy Gophers, keeping things interested in case anyone at home was getting bored in the Big Ten hierarchy.

Oregon has no respect for polls - If you're a AVCA voter, you hate the Ducks, right? Where do you rank a team that loses to Beavers, beats Sun Devils, loses to Wildcats, then beats Golden Bears and Pine Trees? Good luck.

It's alive! IT'S ALIVE! - UW-Milwaukee, perennial Horizon League champs, won two straight league matches for the first time this year.

That's one way to do it - Dayton was down 2-1 and 20-15 in the fourth game, and 14-11 in the fifth, and managed to come away with a win over the Strange Little Charm Dolls of St. Louis, 17-15 in the fifth. Head Coach Kelly Sheffield's ulcerative colitis could not be reached for comment.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eventually, all things merge into one, and quotes run through it.

"But we were able to refocus and put up a solid effort [on Sunday], which will hopefully segway into the upcoming weekend." - Joel McCartney. Now, I'm pretty sure the reporter goofed here. I don't think Joel meant to say that the 'Dawgs will ride a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle into the upcoming weekend, but I guess I could be wrong.

"We are definitely going to have to change our defense and our blocking skills and probably our serving." - Glen Conley. And this ashtray! Our defense, our blocking, our serving, and THIS ASHTRAY!

“One of the things the team tried to do was create some intensity, and what they ended up doing was creating a bunch of noise that wasn’t very specific and wasn’t direction-orientated. It was just noise for the sake of noise." - Jason Watson. C'mon, Sun Devils! Would you guys get your act together and create some specific, direction-orientated noise! Sheesh...

"Through connections, she wasn’t really happy there and didn’t have great connections there in terms of the coach and all of that." - LSU's Fran Flory on Sam Dabbs' transfer from Louisville. That, is one tortured sentence. Anyone hearing tap dancing? Not that anything untoward happened. "All of that" seems like an applicable term for Dabbs' tenure at Louisville.

"It might be stretching things a bit to call it the greatest turnaround in college volleyball history." - The venerable Todd Henrichs from That's not a good start, but go ahead, continue: "But that Nebraska missed only two serves in Saturday’s sweep of Kansas State comes close." /forehead slap

"The Big 12 Conference says it has addressed Nebraska's concerns about the volleyball environment at Oklahoma and considers the matter closed." - USA Today. Well I'm sure that will take care of it. Nothing like nondescript generalities to take care of controversy.

"It was so sick. They are a big rival, and they were snooty before the game like they were better than us.” - Chico State's Gillian Heydorff on their big win over Sonoma State. Snooty? Snotty!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Well, that completes a great weekend, beating two ranked teams." - Pete Waite, master of hyperbole. Geez, Pete. Tone it down! No need to get all crazy.

"I'll take the heat on this one." - Georgia's Joel McCartney after the 'Dawgs lost to Tennessee. Thanks, Joel. I was going to go ahead and do it, but if you'd rather...

"I loved coaching my team tonight. They were so much fun." - Laurie Corbelli. Yes, having Sarah Ammerman notch 20 kills and Banse hitting .311 on the road against Baylor IS fun, isn't it.

Well of course they did...

That's the reaction I have to this past weekend's continued strangeness.

Wisconsin beat Michigan AND Michigan State? Well of course they did. Arizona beat Oregon? Sure, why not. Nothing surprises me anymo-- NICHOLLS STATE BEAT MCNEESE STATE?!

Wack me? Wack you - The youngest Wack had 18 kills and 1 error on 36 swings for a .472 percentage in the win over the Wolverines. The day before she was 6 kills 1 error on 12 swings for .417.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water - Don't look now, but there's something lurking in the water in Palo Alto. Janet Okogbaa: 21 2 36 .528. Is Okogbaa the new Nnamani? OK, probably not, but how many times do you get to ask that question? It's like "Uma / Oprah." Ya gotta do it.

That settles it - North Dakota State asserted their supremacy as the better Dakota...state... with a 3-1 win over South Dakota State, improving their lifetime mark over the Jackrabbits to 61-17. That's nice, but it's no Mount Rushmore. So nyaah.

James is probably not happy - The "Father of the Bill of Rights'" school defeated the other "Father of the Bill of Rights'" school 3-1. Powdered wigs and tri-cornered hats everywhere. "I’m disappointed in the outcome because we played so well in games one and two," JMU coach Disa Garner said, to which James Madison surely would have replied, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition." Right?

U-C-L-A -Bruins rule the City of Angels with a sweep. Dicey McGraw, Frontier Gunslinger, has 12 kills and hits .407, and The Big Gil hits .478.

(Insert alphabet related joke at your leisure) - UMKC, UNLV, VCU, UAB, UNF, and NJIT get wins, UTEP, SMU, and USF fall, TCU better than BYU, and IPFW defeats IUPUI. That's a whole lotta Campbell's Soup, ba-dum bum, 2, 3, 4. (Campbell, btw, goes 1-1 on the weekend.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Poole Stuff

Get it? "Splash"? "Poole"? But why stop there? The writer, Corey Clark, should've gone full steam ahead and cranked out some more chlorine-tainted nuggets of Poole-related goodness.

For instance, instead of "He turns volleyball programs around. Very quickly," he could have written "He flip turns volleyball programs faster than you can say 'Michael Phelps has the munchies.'"

Instead of "...the seminoles were a middle-of-the-road team languishing in the median of the ACC," he could have written, "the Seminoles were treading water in the middle of the ACC's crowded swimmercize class."

See how easy this is?

"Poole now looks like a prophet" becomes "Poole now looks like, uh, a water-borne prophet, I guess. Like whatever that thing was in 'Lady in the Water.'"

The oddest bit is when Jordana Price says, "It goes all the way down from the volleyball court to staying clean." Um, what? Is there a smack habit in volleyball that we weren't aware of?

"Making sure to wash your hands before you eat."

OHHH! So he's a germaphobe. Gotcha. You know what that means, right? POOLE IS PUDDY.

Who wins this weekend? I have no idea, but...

Northern Illinois vs. Central Michigan - DeKalb vs. Mount Pleasant is really a toss-up. HOWEVER, Cindy Crawford's hometown is DeKalb, NIU WINS!

UCLA vs. USC - How can you root against Jessica Gysin in anything? Gysin wins!

Duke vs. Florida State - Blue Demons vs. Seminoles. The Fightin' Nagels vs. the Pugilistic Pooles. Lots of ACC implications in this one: TIE!

Fresno State vs. Idaho - Following guidelines from last week, Fresno is not a state. Such misrepresentation spells doom on the court. IDAHO WINS!

Holy Cross vs. Army - Is the power of the Holy Cross enough to fight back the armies of...Army? In an Indiana Jones movie probably, but not when it comes to Alma matters (Get it? PUNS!). ARMY WINS!

Lamar vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi - Any school named after Lamar Odom gets my vote, even if he is marrying one of those Kardashian women. LAMAR WINS!

Seattle vs. UNLV - Grunge vs. Lounge acts! Coffee vs. free booze! Eddie Vedder vs. Wayne Newton! Hendrix vs. Sinatra! "Singles" vs. "Swingers"! Heroine deaths vs. debilitating gambling addictions! Boy, this is a toughie. But Matt Dillon's performance in "Singles" pushes Seattle over the top. SEATTLE WINS!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Totally Unfair Picture Captions, Creighton style

"So, 3 Across, seven letters...?"

"Did you try 'Bluejay'?"

"What am I, stupid?"

"I'm just saying, 'cause then 12 Down would be 'Husker'."

"...oh, right."

So the SEC is the Oldsmobile of conferences?

“This isn’t your mother’s SEC." - Mary Wise. Huh. Did my mom even have an SEC? I know she's got that old beat up ACC she keeps in the driveway, but she hasn't used that since the Big Sky died one year. And we sold the Big 8 after Mom crashed it into the SWAC. But, no, I don't think we even had an SEC.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quotes! Wonderful quotes!

"In this conference if you play uninspired they'll smack you upside the head." - Russ Rose, after Penn State dropped their first regular season game since [EDIT: 2007, not 1997. Whoops].

"This was more of a mental victory for us since we haven’t been successful against American in quite some time." - Colgate head honcho Ryan Baker on his team's win over American. "Quite some time" = "since 1996," the first time the two teams played each other.

“We realized that beating ourselves was not an option." - Florida's Cassandra Anderson, breaking the most important rule of Fight Club.

""She's quiet-spectacular, and sometimes those are the most dangerous ones." - UW's Jimmy McLaughlin on Airial Salvo. This is where I make a lame comparison between "quiet-spectacular" and "jumbo shrimp," and then ask why we park on the driveway, drive on the parkway, and so on and so forth. Sometimes you gotta do these things just on principle.

"Michigan volleyball libero Sloane Donhoff took a line-drive kill off her left cheek that reverberated all the way to the Cliff Keen Arena press box." - From the Michigan Daily's article on the Wolverine's loss to Illinois. Reverberated? So it echoed all the way up to the press box? Did her face explode? What kind of acoustics do they have there in Keen Arena? Is this an amphitheater?

"UCLA found itself at a loss of energy on Saturday night during its victory against California. Literally." - The UCLA Daily Bruin re: the brief power outage during the match. Everyone's a comedian.

"If people didn't know the score, they would think we won." Seminole top banana Chris Poole. Yes, if it weren't for those stupid scoreboards, Florida State would win lots of matches! They'd--wait, what's that? There's more to the quote? " — just by looking at the statistics." Ooohhh. Heh. Gotcha.

"“All we had to do was handle a free ball, and we don’t handle a free ball. At 14-13, we handle a free ball and it’s 15-13, we win. But we don’t handle a free ball.” - Oregon's Jim Moore. So, what you're saying, if I'm reading between the lines here correctly -- and I think I am -- I'm sensing that you're saying you didn't handle a free ball. Is that the gist of it? Cracked the code.

"I'm going home with film, and I'm going to stay up as late as I have to in order to make sure we know everything that they do." - Georgia's Joel McCartney after losing to Arkansas 3-0. And this ashtray! And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need. And this remote control...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ridiculously Bold Predictions!

Hey if John Clayton and Sean Salisbury can do it, I see no reason why I can't blabber on and on with little to no true insight about who might win this weekend. You know, just make up stuff.

Kentucky @ Florida - Obviously the Gators are still mourning from Tebow's concussion. I doubt Mary will even come to the match. Kentucky wins!

William & Mary @ James Madison - Two schools, three names. Obviously William and Mary outnumber James. William & Mary wins!

UCSB @ Long Beach State - Really this should be titled "Kathy vs. Brian," as that is all anyone cares about. This one's a toughie, so here's how I'll decide: If Brian argues a pointless non-call before Kathy makes someone on her team cry, LBSU wins!

Liberty @ Presbyterian - Liberty is Christian Evangelical. Presbyterian is...well, Presbyterian. So that's a wash. Presbyterian's website says "Take it on!" whereas Liberty's says "Training champions for Christ," and it's trademarked. Champions, trademarks. Liberty wins! (disclaimer: God may strike you dead for rooting against a religious schools' athletic events. Check your local forecast before establishing any binding loyalties.)

Stanford @ UCLA - Stanford is wobbly. UCLA is wonky. Weebles wobble but they don't fall down, Stanford in 4!

Weber State @ Montana State - Weber's not actually a state. Montana wins!

Appalachian State @ UNC Greensboro - Appalachian State is in Boone, NC, which has an elevation of 3,266 feet. UNC Greensboro, in Greensboro, natch, has an elevation of 873 feet. Do you realize how much momentum you can build up when you drop 2,393 feet? App State wins!

La Salle @ Xavier - La Salle is named in honor of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, who Wikipedia tells me dedicated much of his life to teaching the poor. But...c'mon, Xavier is named after Charles Xavier, who's the leader of the X-Men. Clearly, Xavier wins!

Missouri State @ Drake - If there's one thing Jerry has taught us, it's to "Hate the Drake!" MO State wins!

UC Davis @ UC Irvine - The basic laws of math tell us that the UCs cancel out, leaving us with Davis -- named after a farmer -- and Irvine -- named after a real estate development company. This tells me that Irvine will acquire Davis and build some lovely condos where all that farm land is, driving up the price on the surrounding properties and making Irvine a pile of money...on the volleyball court. Irvine wins!