Monday, December 20, 2010

The Matches

As for the semifinals... ugh. USC and Texas picked the most unfortunate moment to play poorly, because we all know they're better than what they showed. Ya' think Falyn has ever missed two jump serves so poorly before in her life? OK, maybe when she played for Roxy, but they were probably beating up on some poor team of 5'5" kids at the time.

BUT, kudos to Penn State for playing their best volleyball when they had to. Yes, they had an embarrassingly easy road (Yeah, I said it "committee." Watcha gonna do about it? Probably give Stanford that route next year.), but they were flat-out better than Texas and Cal when it mattered.

And they did it with a 5'6" freshman setter who's not really a setter, and without Alisha and Megan.

But they did have Great Scott, Wilson, Slay Bells, Double B, Deja Me? Deja You!, D'Errico, and Cathy "Did I really go to B.C. for a year or just dream it?" Quilico. Oh and they have that guy Russ, who ain't too shabby.

So, you can have your UConn women's basketball streak. Really isn't that big a deal compared to what we've got goin' on over here.

Interesting moments: Loved the interviews with Misty and Kerri. But... how is it that they were both at the Final Four, but Walsh has to use her interview with Microphone Guy to get ahold of her? Should we be concerned? Because after Scarlett and Ryan, America can't handle another high-profile breakup.

The Good: Brought back Microphone Guy from last year, and the All-American videos between games two and three were good stuff.

The Bad: No balloons? One year it all goes horribly wrong, and you just ditch the idea? I believe the Ballon Makers Union of America doth protest. And the P.A. guy was too professional. Can't we jazz that up a bit?

The Convention, in all it's glory

The weekend overall:
Standing in line for barbecue for nearly an hour is TOTALLY worth it.

The Coach of the Year banquet is in severe need of a makeover. It's painfully long, and what, was, that, food? I've seen more tender meat on a catcher's mitt.

Carl McGown has worked with a lot of big names in volleyball. In case you didn't hear me the first time, let me just repeat that Carl McGown has worked with a lot of big names in volleyball. Did I mention that Carl McGown has worked with a lot of big names in volleyball? (Yeah it wasn't that much fun in person, either)

How can anyone not love Shoji?

If Sports Imports can make it to the volleyball hall of fame, can Spike Nashbar be far behind?

IPFW's Steve Florio wins "Most Entertaining Presentation at the Convention." Winnebago enthusiast Fran Flory wins "Most Ingenious Use of Elastic Tied between Antennas." Ann Kordes wins the "What Kind of Batteries Does She Run On and Where Can I Get Some" award.

All-American Banquet:
So, no "Cecile and Sagula" this year, but Kordes added a sassy Kelly Ripa vibe. (No, I'm not saying Joe is Regis, or that Cecile is Kathie Lee. I don't even know if Cecile has a son named Cody.)

Loved Barnett's Q&A, didn't care for the lounge-esque chair setting. How many 6-foot-plus girls in mini-skirts do you want to force to sit down and stand up in front of a room full of people? It's like the most complicated yoga move ever.

Plus bonus points for asking Delano if THE ball was really in or out. I think he should finish each Q&A with a Craig Kilborn-type oddball question, though. For instance, Alex Jupiter? "Are you related to Bruno Mars?" Carli Lloyd: "When you buy your first car, will you feel obligated to get one with turbo?" Victoria Henson: "Do you personally know Cookie Monster?"

Carli Lloyd, the internet's least-favorite POY ever (honestly, I think Klineman will survive somehow, so get over it), had the world's most genuine reaction ever.

Best line at the banquet: "Rude." - Cassidy Lichtman.

Monday, December 13, 2010

OK, quit fooling around. Where's the real logo?

Bahahahaha! Really? A conference with more money than anyone knows what to do with, a world of resources at their fingertips, and THIS is the logo they come up with?

There's nothing to it. The number 10 cleverly tucked away, OK, but no nod to the fact that there are 12 teams in the actual conference. Dull. Uninspired. Awful.

(And I think our ideas were better.)

And the division names? "Leaders" and "Legends"? COME ON. How pretentious is that? Why not just go with "We take ourselves" for one and "Too seriously" for the other.

Besides that, the names are a perpetual set up for the inevitable jokes as soon as some idiot football player or basketball player is arrested.

"Yeah, he was a leader alright; a leader in the blood alcohol content division! HA!"

"Legend? Yes, I remember the legend of the disappearing store merchandise."

And on and on and on. I suppose just going with East and West was too obvious a choice? OK, with Wisconsin in the "East," maybe they didn't like that. How about a nod to actual legends of the Big Ten? Wooden and Schembechler divisions? Where's the imagination!?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Honestly, not much else could have happened this weekend

WOW! All this and Mike Hebert retires?


I'm a wreck. Who's got a cigarette. 

The only way this weekend could've been more intriguing is if there was a power outage at one of the regional sites, and when the power came back on, they discovered that one of the liberos had been kidnapped by Freemasons.

Nebraska and Washington - People, people, people! [insert Rodney King cliche]? Another classic chapter in this lovefest, but with a confrontational twist at the end. Nobody's ever claimed Cook was a man of the people, but McLaughlin went all Red Ross in reaction to whatever it was that Cook said.

Cinderella, of the West Lafayette Cinderellas - Purdue's tournament run was the stuff of legend, honestly. You lose one player with an ACL. Then the next weekend you beat Florida, the #1 seed. Then you jump all over Texas on their home court, only to see your setter pop her hamstring... your setter who's dad passed away earlier that day. HONESTLY. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough magic left in the pumpkin to overcome all of that (and what pumpkin could?), and a thunderous Texas crowd powered the Longhorns to the Final Four. Sidebar: Can bagging on Jerritt's coaching ability stop being a meme now? I think the guy's earned his stripes.

Classic PAC 10 elimination round - Too much gravitational pull by Jupiter, too much Falyn the Destroyer. And how does Klineman not get a swing in the last three points?

Post-game three huddle must have been AWESOME - Duke beats Penn State! At Penn State! Well, at least, in game 3 they did, after which the Nittany Lions blew through game 4 to punch their already-punched ticket to the Final Four (that's a punch redundancy). Committee members, you should be expecting flowers from Happy Valley aaaany day now. And for what it's worth, a post-match fracas between Russ and Jolene would've been soooo much more entertaining.

That Rich Feller's got somethin' goin' on - Cal looks great. That's all.

The ball went back and to the left. BACK... and to the left.

Honestly, have a few seconds of volleyball ever been so closely dissected before? We really needed someone from the Zapruder family in the stands to give us a real feel for what happened.

Here are just a few things debated in regards to Perry's swing in the fourth game of Nebraska / Washington:

  • Ball was in
  • Ball was out
  • Ball skidded, making it appear out
  • Replay on Seattle news station clearly shows it in
  • Replay was edited by Seattle news station to make it appear to be in
  • Bottom of ball was flat when it was over the line, thus touching the floor, thus in
  • Shadow of the ball was too large to be on the floor when above the line
  • The line judge high-fived a UW usher, proving he was in cahoots with the Huskies
  • A shadowy cabal of Level 8 Gold Medal Squared Protectorates have infiltrated our volleyball system to make sure that the Huskies are protected at all costs, including through the use of poison darts and mind control. They manipulated the Sport Court to extend the back line, ensuring the ball was in.
Ain't TV coverage grand?

Totally Unfair Picture Captions with those two knuckleheads, John and Jim

"Is that your hand, touching my arm?"

"What're you going to do about it?"

"I'll tell you what I'm going to do about it. After this match, I'm gonna say something in a heated moment that you will totally not care for!"

"You do, and I'm gonna point my finger at you while yelling! People will have to hold me back!"

"Do it!"

"I will!"





Totally Unfair Picture Captions with John and Jim, Part 2

"Duck season!"

"Rabbit season!"

"Duck season!"

"Rabbit season!"

"Rabbit season!"

"Duck season!"


Thursday, December 9, 2010

A dotyoureye experiment: dotyoureyetv

Your annual look at regional press conference quotes!

"We're extremely excited to be in the sweet 16 again for our fifth [straight] season." - Jerritt Elliott

"We're really happy to be here and very excited to be here." - Jolene Nagel

"We're very excited about the opportunity to play in the Sweet Sixteen here at Penn State." - Santiago Restrepo

"On behalf of the team, the administration, and the coaching staff, we are just thrilled to be in Austin at the regional tournament." - Kevin Hambly

"Personally, I love the city of Austin." - Dave Shondell

"I don't think you could find a team in the field that is more thrilled to be here than the Gators after our 'brush with tournament death' last Saturday." - Mary Wise

"It is great to be at home." - Russ Rose

Monday, December 6, 2010

Totally Unfair Picture Captions with Craig Skinner and child

"Daddy? Can we have mac and cheese for dinner?"


"And why didn't you set the second tempo more in rotation three when their blockers were clearly committing to the 31?"

"That's it; no more late night film sessions."

Tournament quotes are the bestest quotes of all.

"We thought we'd be able to catch Texas asleep tonight and pounce like an ambushed predator. " - Mike Sealy. Well, right, except... how do you pounce like an ambushed predator? Is this one of those crouching tiger / hidden dragon things?

"Members of the Orange Curtain, which consisted of members of the CSUF men’s volleyball club, parents, and former Titan volleyball team members made the seven-hour trip to Stanford." - from the Daily Titan. The Orange Curtain may be a decent cheer section, but they can't top Washington's cheer section, The Purple Drapes.

"I'm pretty pleased and excited to go to Dayton for the regional." - Mick Haley. That just sounds... weird.

"So I think I do rely pretty heavily on Blair, which I don't think is a bad thing because, as you see from her stats and her season and her career, she's kind of a big deal." - PSU's Kristin Carpenter on teammate Blair Burgundy.

"I loved coaching this team and I'm sorry that the season had to come to an end." - Kentucky's Craig Skinner voicing a sentiment expressed by many coaches in the tournament. Once, just once, you know you'd like to see a coach say, "The season's over, and... THANK GOD. I hate this team, I can't stand these people, I wanna go home. Suck it."

"There's something nice about being on the road after we finish finals. It's kind of like we get to hang out like it was preseason again. We get to hang out and be together, do arts and crafts." - Cassidy Lichtman, looking forward to a week of... finger painting and decoupage, apparently.

"As my good friend Steve [Spurrier] would say, 'Maybe the gods were smiling on the Gators.'" - Mary Wise, head Gator and shameless name-dropper.

“I’m happy that we won, but I'm also educated in the national championship pursuits and this wasn't a great, clean effort out there.” - Russ Rose on the Niagara win. How does one become educated in the national championship pursuits? Is that post-grad or...?

"Junior Aleksandra Gerogieva set a new career high with four assists." - from the Notes section of the Cal / North Carolina match. You tell me.

"In your mind, you think that when you win this sub-regional and you're going to the Sweet 16, it's going to be a festive deal and you're going to feel like you're going to want to go out and enjoy a cold beverage or something; but already you are starting to worry about who you are going to play and thinking about all the things you got to do. I will still probably get a cold beverage, but I think you don't have a lot a time as a coaching staff to do those things." - Dave Shondell, showing excellent syntax in the use of the unique phrase "cold beverage."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Now THAT was fun! (Opinions may vary, check your local listings)

Thanks, boss. - Former Rob Patrick assistant Sheri Dunbar and her Hoosiers defeat Rob's Vols in five crazy games to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time ever. EVER. EV-AH. Jordan Haverly -- formerly of the firm Cook, Sullivan & Stemke -- went completely outer limits with 30 kills and hitting .333.

Well that was... something - Weird end for Wahine as they get walloped by Washington. I didn't know it was possible for a Hawaii team to have a bad passing match.

Barnburner, Pt. 1 - Dayton and Ohio State burned the barn to the ground in their epic five-game win for the Buckeyes. Has Katie Dull always been that good? Yikes.

Barnburner nobody was watching - Duke and Ohio. Bobcats had 26 BLOCKS! They also hit 30 points better, and still lost in 5.

Someone's an All-American - Tulsa's Tyler Henderson: 24 kills in a 5-game loss to the Sooner Nation, 26 kills and hit .435 in three-game sweep of LSU, to go on top of gaudy regular season numbers. Any questions?

Representin' the Patriot League, yo - Barry Goldberg and the Americans done ya' proud as they almost had the biggest upset in eons, eventually losing to UCLA in five.

Bright side? - If there is one to UNI's loss to Missouri, it's that RPI haters will be using this as Exhibit #1 for the upcoming landmark legal battle, "The People v. RPI." That's something, right?

AZ v. NW didn't create a black hole? - I really thought this match would be like creating a volleyball version of the Large Hadron Collider in Northern Iowa's gym: Two volleyball protons crashing into each other at a high rate of speed, dark matter flying all over the place, impromptu worm holes appearing out of nowhere, cats and dogs living together. Sadly, all that happened was Northwestern winning. Stupid science, never does anything fun.

Meanwhile, in Dullsville - Penn State, Cal, Illinois, Stanford, Nebraska, roll alongzzz... Zzzz...

First weekend thoughts, conjecture, stuff.

Murphy is the greatest player most of us never get to see - She's like a collegiate basketball player from the northwest, who you don't ever get to see play because of the late night game starts, like some point guard from St. Mary's.

Online announcers are not... they're not good - Whether it's making something insignificant seem incredibly important -- "Third contact! SHE'S GOT TO SEND THIS ONE OVER!!!" We know that. We get the basic principles of the game. -- or getting basic tactics of competition completely wrong, it's rough listening. We applaud your effort, your enthusiasm (or self-induced stroke... lookin' at you, Florida), but for the love of all that's holy, please familiarize yourself a little more with the game. And if there isn't anything earth-shattering to say, don't act like there is. Sometimes a service error is just a service error.

Which brings us to Don Shaw - This guy, I want him doing all internet broadcasts from now on. Whether he was bad-mouthing the RPI or pointing out problems with his own former club, we love him, so much so that I just went from first person singular to the plural.

Nice video, some of you - It's 2010. We just discovered life based on arsenic. So why in the world can't we get smoother video feeds? Some of you need to have real discussions with your IT guy (I know, he's odd. It's the same everywhere. Deal.). Stanford, you're RIGHT THERE by the hub of internet technology. So why does your video feed look like it's being delivered by a dial-up modem powered by an intern on a stationary bike a la "Gilligan's Island"? How is that possible?

Northern Iowa, Texas, Florida, and Dayton - Excellent feed. You guys must have Kabletown. Purdue, points off for a picture the size of a postage stamp. Duke, points off for no live audio, except when your GENIUS p.a. announcer talked. (I say "genius" because he forgot to announce people during the starting lineups, mispronounced names, and generally sounded as if he'd rather be mowing Coach K's lawn than announce these matches.)

Florida v. Florida State had it all, baby!

"Did I say 'four hits?' I, I say crazy things all the time. Replay!"

Big plays! Big swings! Big... tips that should have been swings! This one had it all! Including the worst case of timing in a call reversal, perhaps ever.

And we get it, non-Gators. You can't stand Mary, and it appeared as if her "enthusiastic" challenging of the call influenced the refs, but it was still 13-11. Yes, the ref screwed up by calling 4 hits when there were only 3, and then reversing her call. But it was still 13-11. 

If you want to blame anyone, blame Florida's Erin Fleming, who absolutely refused to let any of the ensuing crosscourt BOMBS to get past her. Or blame the hitters that kept testing her. 

Kudos to Florida's play-by-play announcer for losing his mind during the late stages of the match, by the way. Everyone loves an auditory train wreck, and that was gorgeous. 

Plus it helped fuel the messageboard rumor that the referees used video replay to reverse the call. Never has a chain of events been so overly scrutinized, and most of it being done by people who apparently weren't even at the match. 

THAT... is one amazing match.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Screen Grab o' the Day: USC's twitter has a sense of humor

Thankfully, it appears that the legendary Jessica Gysin does, too, as evidenced by her retweet.