Monday, October 31, 2011

Hey did something happen with Lauren Cook?

I couldn't tell from the 20+ pages of "discussion" at VolleyTalk. I hope no rash judgements were made, not that that ever happens online.

Was no other press conference backdrop available?

You know,, and stuff.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween comes early?

Freak snow storms, upsets, bad costume choices...just another October in college volleyball.

Are Bruins the new No. 1? - With a sweep of NorCal, and a Husker loss, is UCLA returning to the top spot for the first time since, what, August of 2000? (thanks,

Cal home court powerless against LA schools - Gotta say, didn't see that coming.

Make up yer mind, Gophers - Hey we're Minnesota! We lost to Northwestern! Then we swept Illinois at Illinois! Isn't that fun? No?

Hey Notre Dame - You lost to this team Saturday night:
Hope they don't have to play the Rockettes or anything later in the season.

With five games you get egg roll - Utes enjoy a little Duck with Plum sauce. (If only there was someone on Oregon's team with the last name Lo Mein.)

Matches whose relevance I can't gauge - UC Davis beats UCSB! But probably because the Gauchos just wanted to get back to Isla Vista sooner.

Gators get got - Must suck to have Tennessee and Kentucky in your half of the SEC. Case in point? This weekend.

Seriously, is home court good for anything? - Fordham -- 278 RPI -- was playing at Saint Louis -- 57 -- without two starters, then lost another during the match. They hit .066 for the match. They were aced 8 times. Fordham had never beaten SLU in 10 previous meetings. Fordham won in five.

Slippery suckers, aren't they? - UNI went down 0-2 to Mo. State, but prevailed in 5 for their 49th straight conference win.

OKLAHOMA! Where the wind goes sweeping down the plain - ...until it runs smack-dab into Missouri, who sweeps them. I need new metaphors for Oklahoma matches. Totally leaning on that OKLAHOMA! thing too often.

Directional results - Eastern Kentucky beats Eastern Illinois, Western Michigan beats Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois beats Central Michigan, Southern Miss beat East Carolina. Use compass as needed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with Appalachian State

Well in fairness to the cougars, if you were a cougar and saw mountaineers streaking, wouldn't you put a stop to it? Darn hippies...

Meet Liz Brenner and learn you're not as good an athlete as you think you are

Do you think you're a pretty good athlete? All conference in a couple of sports in high school, played some college intramural basketball for the Sig Ep house, did ya'?

Well, Liz Brenner, frosh for the Ducks, laughs at you. (Well she doesn't actually laugh at you. She's more moc-- just keep reading.)

See, according to this article, Brenner is what we in the industry term a "freak athlete." She was twice 6A player of the year in Oregon for volleyball, once for basketball. That puts her in the Natalie Williams / Kristin Folkl range. But Brenner didn't settle for just three stupid state titles in two sports; she won the state title twice in shot-put and was an all-state softball player.

She also won 11 age-group world titles in racquetball, which I didn't even know was an actual thing that people do. I mean, it's racquetball. Who knew anyone besides the goofballs at the Y took that seriously?

As you can imagine, there are a few other coaches at Oregon who'd like Brenner to avail them of her services, including Oregon softball coach Mike White, track and field coach Vin Lananna, and women's basketball coach Paul Westhead.

"Oh yeah, every time I walk by (those coaches), they always stop and talk to me."

C'mon. Paul Westhead doesn't stop and talk to anyone except the Human Bruise.

"Especially the softball coach. He's probably the most friendly."

Hear that, other coaches at Oregon? You're losing out to the softball coach right now. Now get in there and be more friendly, OK? OK.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let's Learn Something About: Florida State's Kori Mosher

Kori Mosher, frosh libero from Florida State answered the following question at
What are your career aspirations following your volleyball-playing days? I hope to own my own business. My dad and his business partner invented Bagel Bites, so that kind of entrepreneurial spirit runs in our family.

Mosher's dad invented Bagel Bites?! Dot Your Eye research team, assemble!

"A nice fella by the name of Bob Mosher was working with a catering company whose specialty was a pizza-topped bagel. He noticed that party guests couldn't get enough of the little guys."

Well I'll be dipped. I wonder what else Bob came up with. Tater Tots? Ho-Ho's? Hot Pockets?

"Seven years ago...Mr. Mosher and (his Bagel Bites partner) Mr. Garczynski began their third decade of partnership, when they started Sox Development Inc. in Fort Myers."

Oh. Kind of a letdown.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with the Charlotte 49ers

Hey, there's celebrating, and then there's celebrating. You think KFC is still open?

WVU going to Big 12. So let's learn about their libero...?

Why not.

With West Virginia apparently bailing for the Big 12, let's check in on the Mountaineers and an article about their libero, Courtney Robison.

According to the article, Robison was a setter before head mtneer Jill Kramer decided to make her into a libero.

"I haven't received a ball since I was 13 and I came into a meeting one day and Jill said, 'You are going to be a passer this year.'"

Aw, well that's OK. Remember, poise counts! So far things seem to be working out pretty well.

"She is playing defense completely different then (sic) she did when she got here," according to Kramer.

How so?

"She was kind of all over the place..."


"...and just thought the more she moved around, the better she was doing."

Classic misdirection. That's how David Blaine does half his magic tricks. West Virginia was probably scoring 5-6 points in a row while the opposing team was focused on Robison.

The newly-minted libero made more concrete contributions when she was subbed in at 19-24 in the 4th against Pitt.

"Robison subbed in for WVU and immediately recorded a service ace and then served two tough balls that resulted in Pitt errors."

Whoa. That IS good stuff! So I'm assuming they won game four?

"Even though the Mountaineers lost the next point to send the match into the decisive fifth set..."

Worst. Example. Ever.

"...the momentum created by Robison helped lead the team to a 15-12 victory in the fifth set."

Oh, OK, I guess that counts.

Robison, hailing from Assumption H.S. and KIVA in Louisville, originally committed to Alabama, but then JudyJudyJudy retired.

"I called (new coach Ed Allen) to talk about summer classes and he told me that he signed another setter."

Welcome to another edition of Awkward Telephone Theater:
Robison: Hi, coach! What summer classes should I take?
Allen: I signed another setter.
I'm imagining Robison bounced right back from that adversity, dusted herself off, etc.?

"I was a hysterical mess and freaking out."

Boy this story just gets better and better. Let's get back to the uplifting stuff, OK? Like the fact that she wound up at WVU and things are now hunky-dory in Morgantown?

"Coming to Morgantown, Robison looked to carry that winning tradition from high school but quickly learned that college was nothing like high school."

Oh no. I can't look...

"It has been hard because I think that I always thought winning just happened."

Word. But things are good now, right? Life is good? Canweputthistobedwithsomekindofhappyending?

"When I came on my visit, the girls were great, I loved the team and I said to myself 'They have a scholarship for me, the coaches are really nice, the girls are really nice, it is close to home, and I have this opportunity.'"

Whew. Now I can sleep a little better.

So what in the world happened at Seton Hall / Marquette?

If you read VolleyTalk, you know that Kris Zeiter was ejected from the fifth game of Seton Hall's match against Marquette. Since the post about the incident by "an embarrassed alum," the discussion has devolved into many, many sidebar discussions about the rights of alumni to post as an embarrassed alumni, the secret agendas of refereeing cabals, and whether or not Mick Haley has been re-animated.

However, there's been no media account of what happened, other than a brief mention in the Marquette write-up. Coach Zeiter doesn't even mention it in his coach's blog.

How does that happen? I'm sure Coach Zeiter is sorry the incident ever happened, but...seriously no one anywhere writing about this match wants to mention that at 9-6 in the fifth game, one of the head coaches was ejected?

How are we going to, you know, pass judgment or say everyone's overreacting if we don't know more? All we're left with now is an information vacuum, and everyone knows that in a vacuum of that sort, wild speculation runs rampant. That's just science.

People need to start saying more interesting things...

"We played complete matches this weekend." WKU's Travis Hudson. Congrats. The rest of these teams just played two games and called it a night.

"Each week we've been raising the bar." - John Cook. I'm beginning to think the Huskers adopted a bar and are now raising it as their own, from a wee little pub.

"It's a good night to be a Matador." - CSUN head man Jeff Stork. Five bucks says the last CSUN volleyball player to utter those words was Alex Hager. 

"Everybody knows that polls/rankings really don't mean anything significant in college sports other than football … but it's still hard to ignore them." -'s Mechelle Voepel explaining the existence and continued life of AVCA poll threads on VolleyTalk. Well not really, but she might as well have been. 

"Of the many adjectives that can be used to describe the Stanford women’s volleyball team’s play this weekend, pretty is not one of them." - Stanford Daily. Meeeeow.

"Aggies fall to No. 3 Cyclones." - Texas A&M Battalion. Hey, look, I know Iowa State is good, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Husker do!

That's a pretty good argument - Huskers would like your consideration as the #1 team in the land after handing Hambly a four-game hoss. Loss. Loss is what I meant. No one hands a team a four-game hoss. That's just silly.

Ducks have a weird two nights - Barely come back to beat Washington State, then sweep Washington, all on their weird home floor. Shouldn't it look at least like a duck's nest? Ducks don't really hang out around pine trees, do they? Or do they. Do they?

The post-Pu era has begun - Orange get two wins post-Pu, including 4-game win over Seton Hall one day removed from the Zeiter Meltdown. (BTW, Brad Meltzer's next book is called "The Zeiter Meltdown".)

The power of Cameron? - It's not really a road trip for the Tarheels, right? I only know that because of the 20,000 times that basketball announcers tell you there's only eight miles between the two schools. That's like a trip to Target, isn't it? Should Sagula take his team to Target before the match next time?

This is how you honor the Sabbath?! - Villanova loses to St. John's? LSU loses to Ole Miss? Virginia Tech beats Clemson? Marshall beats SMU?! Blasphemers!

Colorado wins! - With a 4-game loss to UCLA, the Buffs have won their of the Pac 12 season. Never thought you'd long for road trips to Lubbock again, did you, CU.

I get yer Yum Center right here. - Pittsburgh beats Louisville, AT Louisville. Promotion between games 2 & 3: first person to eat a Double Down and not have their heart start beating irregularly wins a side of biscuits.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What about Ramadan?

We're a little late covering this tidbit, but it's still relevant. From the Rider volleyball page:

"Saturday is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement for the Jews. The Rider volleyball team will attempt to make amends for losing its last four matches when it hosts Loyola University Maryland in a  Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference match, beginning at 3pm."

Hm. Interesting take. I wonder if that kind of intro would work for other special days?

"Sunday is Easter, the time to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. The Rider Broncs baseball team hopes their offense will be reborn, too, after starting the season 0-7."

I like it. What else? Do we have to stay non-secular?

"Tomorrow is Secretary's Day, the day to celebrate office support staff. The Rider field hockey team looks to celebrate tomorrow, too, at their first-ever 'White Out' event."

Yes. YES. What about bordering on ludicrous?

"Friday is Earth Day, a time to celebrate our planet and to take steps to help our environment. The Rider golf team looks to do the same by planting tee shots in their home course's fertile fairways, hopefully helping the program to take root and provide competitive shade for future Broncos (all club covers will be made from hemp)."

Truly "old school" journalist discovers volleyball, likes it.

I love this. This is a pure, unfiltered look at volleyball from an outsider. And it's gold.

The Durant Daily Democrat -- Gateway to Lake Texoma, don't you know -- has a columnist named Harold Harmon who apparently is just discovering women's volleyball. So enamored was he of Monday night's showdown between the University of Central Oklahoma and Southeastern Oklahoma State that he took pen to paper to describe the amazing sights he witnessed.

"Sports fans just never know when they will see -- or not see -- an absolute gem. That's why we go to the games."

Right there you know we're not dealing with some uptight sports nerd who sees the Durant Daily Democrat as a gateway to ESPN instead of Lake Texoma. Harold would like you to kick back in your easy chair and listen to the crickets outside your window as a cool autumn breeze rolls in off the lake.

"Southeastern should be selling indigestion pills at the game because this went five rounds."

Indigestion pills! God I love this guy. Last time I heard anyone say "indigestion pills" was at one of those awful frontier settlement reenactment places. But Harold is no reenactment.

"Most of us, at one time or another, have batted a volleyball over a net. Maybe we should say most of us have tried to bat a volleyball over a net. This is not the game we knew on the elementary playground at recess."

Are they playing volleyball on the elementary playgrounds in Oklahoma? Does Santiago know about this?

"(Volleyball) is played by athletes, some of whom are better than others, but who do not necessarily work harder at the game."

Whoa, don't go gettin' all preachy on me Harold. Let's get back to folksy idioms.

"First, this disclaimer: I know as much about volleyball as I know about women. I do know something about effort, hard work and desire to win."

Way to bury the lede, Harold! This goes up front. But crap I love the "aw shucks" of that sentence.

"Volleyball is a relatively late arrival on the local scene. Our Bryan County high schools do not play the game."

Note to self - email Neil Mason re: new opportunities in and around Bryan County.

"Our playground goal was to knock the dadgum ball back over the net as soon as possible."

DADGUM. It's official: I want this guy to have a podcast I can listen to ASAP. I don't even care if it's about volleyball.

"That mindset causes one to wonder if these gals are just a teeny bit goofy when the ball is right at the net and they will slap it to someone else on their own team instead of hitting it over. I think it's called a game plan."

Yeah, no one really understands setters. Best to learn that now, Harold.

"Yes, (the players) bounce. Yes, they get right back up. Yes, it has to hurt. Yes, they will make the same dive the next time it seems necessary."

A lot has changed since Babe Didrikson.

"Officiating the game is also weird."

Testify, my brother. How about those line judges?

"Sometimes, one flag will point down, the other up."

And sometimes, they're both wrong.

"It takes lots of time and lots of dedication to learn how to score volleyball."

OH GOD. Don't let volleyball broadcasters hear you say that. That'll just reinforce the need for those stupid rule reviews during each broadcast.

"Don't sweat it. Just watch the referees point to one side or the other. That will be the team getting the point."

See?! Do you hear that, volleyball announcers? Harold is JUST NOW seeing the game in all its glory, but he understands already how the game is played and scored. Harold. From the Durant Daily Democrat.

"It can get frustrating, trying to follow the action. Our gals jump up and knock the ball to the floor on the other side of the net, clearly within the lines. The referee gives the point to the other team. It will do no good to ask the person on either side of you because they have no idea why our team didn't get the point."

Oh, well...maybe I spoke too soon.

"This is not your grandmother's volleyball. That's not a knock on your grandmother."

Harold does not cotton to slandering grandmothers.

"It's just a way of saying that this game has come a long way, baby."

Virginia Slims! Smoking! Oh, remember the good ol' days when you could smoke? Even the women? That was progress.

"Volleyball is a heck of a game. You should visit the gym and check it out for yourself."

Next vacation I get, I want to sit in a gym somewhere in Oklahoma and watch a match with Harold.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Uh-oh. It's starting again.

In case you thought last year's spate of mid-season firings were a fluke, the spectre has raised its head again with the "relieving of duties" of Jing Pu at Syracuse.

Relieved of duties. That's one of those corporate terms created to not accurately reflect anything, right?

"Here, let me handle those duties for you. You're relieved."

"Not really, I'm actually kinda upset."


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz

"Good game to you and the Lions!"

(shake, BACKSLAP)

"That's an awfully forceful handshake!"

"Get out of my face!"

(skirmish, hullabaloo)

The weekend that was the weekend

You didn't turn off the MN - NE game early, did you? - If you heard swearing and furious keyboarding Saturday night, that was the myriad sportswriters having to change their story from "Gophers sweep Huskers" to "Uh...something's happening!", as the Huskers swept the next three.

Welcome back, Cook! - Speaking of Nebraska, everyone's favorite punching bag, Coach Cook, can't really say anything right these days without people getting furiously outraged, so returning to Madison was a minefield he was never going to navigate successfully...but they won in three straight, so that's something.

Is the Gold Medal Unsquared? - Washington goes O-fer in NorCal. Not enough pancakes?

This whole 5-game thing blows - NC State can't buy a five-game win, after falling to Va Tech in 5, the fifth such loss in a row for the Wolfpack. The mixed it up the next day, though, losing to UVA in 4. Yay...?

Meanwhile in the Big Lonesome -- I mean Big 12... - Still a conference, right? Just checking. It's like being at a party with the two coolest kids in school, only one of them left about a half hour ago, and now everyone else is kinda looking at each other, wondering if anyone's going to dance, and who's the new dude in purple with the horns?

Wildcats slowly driving their coach insane - Kentucky beats Tennessee, then loses to Mississippi State in three. Being a UK fan must like being a "Mad Men" fan; for every awesome episode, you get one that leaves you saying, "I'm never watching again."

So I take it jet lag wasn't a problem? - Hawaii travels allll the way to Louisiana Tech to watch their hosts hit -.074 and in a 9, 9, and 14 for the Wahine. Louisiana Tech had 15 total kills for the match. Hawaii had 8 errors for the match. Every player for Louisiana Tech that had 6 or more kills hit negative for the match.

Beth Launiere knows three things - 1. They beat Colorado, 2. They beat Washington State, 3. They beat Arizona State. It's not much, but it's better than what Colorado and WSU know.

On the other hand, Jason Watson knows one thing - They snapped their 11-match losing streak by beating Colorado. Gotta start somewhere.

Schlemiel / Schlimazel nips Lombardi Land - Wisconsin-Milwaukee beat Wisconsin Green Bay in 5, 15-12 in the fifth in the annual Horizon Conference Cheese Showdown.

Toreros' post-USF funk nonexistent - USD has won 7 in a row since losing to the San Francisco Treat, including a 4-game win over LMU where Chloe Ferrari hit .652.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with Chris Poole

"Mi, miiii -- no, guys, someone's flat. Can we get on the right key? Miiiii mi-mi-do-you-hear-it-mi-mi-miiiiii."


"It was a great environment, it was an intense match, it was really fun to be a part of." - Kevin Hambly on Illinois' first win in Happy Valley since "My So-Called Life" was still on TV.

"We gave them twice as many points as they earned. What's the positive here? What am I looking for?" - Russ Rose, obviously not agreeing with Hambly's sunny outlook.

"They don't know what they need to do. We keep telling them the same thing. I can't do it for them. I'm tired of telling them the same thing. I'm sure they're tired of what I have to say." - More from Russ. 100 bucks to anyone brave enough to ask Russ, "Hey what do I need to do?" this week.

"CSU volleyball team falls out of Top 25 for first time since 2009" - The Coloradoan. Well, they did lose to Wyoming. That's enough, isn't it?

"One thing the Terrapins volleyball team has been yearning for all season is consistency. It may have found it this past weekend -- just not the kind it was hoping for." - The Diamondback Online after Maryland lost its third in a row. Gee, thanks student newspaper for the support.

"We're really immature." - New Mexico's Jeff Nelson after the Lobos lost the 5th against SDSU despite having a 14-9 lead. Yikes. Well nothing like losing 14-9 lead to make you age faster...

"Volleyball Overcomes New Mexico in Five Sets" - C'mon, headline writer! You didn't even try. The Aztecs were down 9-14 in the fifth game and managed to snatch a win from the lupine jaws of defeat that New Mexico had primed and ready to spring on the exposed SDSU jugular. See? Was that so hard?

"One of (Stephanie Ferrel's) best shots today was not the 60 mph swing. It was the off-speed kill to the deep corner." - Mary Wise. So we're talking, what, the school zone-approved 25 mph or...?

"I just kind of rolled (my ankle) a little bit. I have had a lot of history with this ankle." - Stephanie Ferrell. Well, yeah. It's been with you your whole life, so...

"Well as a kid I would have said Bill Pullman." - Duke's Kayla Kirk when asked who her dream date would be. Bill. Pullman. And what young kid wouldn't swoon over his performances in "Casper" and "Mr. Wrong."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh, hey, did I lose a week somewhere?

Big Ten worlds collide - Over 5,000 people saw the Illinois / Penn State battle decided by a 5th game that featured 5-1 runs by both teams. I'm sure neither coach will mention that on Monday...

That's downright weird. - Duke had a rough road trip to Virginia, but escaped with two 5-game wins in spookily similar ways: Vs. Va Tech, 16-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-17, 15-10. Vs. UVA, 18-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-17, 15-10. We'll have the guy from "Ancient Aliens" in later to explain how this was pre-arranged by Martians who landed here during colonial times.

That whacky A-10... - Last weekend, Bobby Schneck's brigadiers had the misfortune of losing to La Salle, which averages about one conference win per presidential term. This weekend? Oh, just knocking off previously surging Duquesne in three straight, that's all. Kooky.

Gehan? We don't need no stinkin' Gehan. - Cal goes to Oregon's weirdo forest floor gym and clears some timber, 25-12 in the third.

Florida State International on top of ACC - Big win for the worldly Seminoles Friday against the Tar Heels, then they escaped a "trap" match against the vastly, massively, hugely improved NC State program.

Bucky tops Meeechigan - That's new, right?

Cal Poly tough to figure - Beat UC Davis and Pacific one weekend, success! Lose to UCI next weekend, nuts. What would Paul Walker say?

Oh yeah, how's Hawaii doing? - Because we rarely realize what's going on until we hear how they got screwed over in the tournament bracket, here's a little update: 15-1, only loss to UCLA, and Dave Shoji is now playing Chin Ho.

Arizona drops UCLA like they're hot - Wildcats in 5 over Bruins! What say you, Rubio? "UCLA didn’t come in here juiced and we are good enough to push a team like that." ...what? Is Rubio saying his team is able to push a team not on 'roids? Is that what he's saying? (No, but it's fun to act outraged for no reason)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hawkeyes in search of some TLC

"We need a little love right now." - Sharon Dingman. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cryptozoology invades the northwest!

Either there's something seriously wrong with the ducks in Eugene, Ore., or the headline writer took all of 2 seconds to come up with a headline for this article before moving on to much more pressing matters on the football page.