Monday, December 19, 2011

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with Illinois


"Is this a good time to talk about renewing my contract?"

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with Mike Sealy

"I cut my hair for this! Do you understand? I, cut, my, hair!"


Poor Seminoles. Don't know if someone slipped a mickey in Stepanova's sklandu rausi, but FSU never looked like they wanted to remember the Alamo. You remember the Alamo, right? Small building, no basement?

USC / Illinois
Another five-gamer for the Trojans! It's Illinois! It's USC! It's...possibly the greatest match point ever played in such a big moment. Hagglund put on quite a show, but Ward and Bartsch were just a wee bit too much.

The Finals
For three games, it was nip-and-tuck. But then Nip left town and Tuck went back to Casa Rio. Kidder's shots from the outside were so sharp you could have cut cheese on them. Sliced. Sliced cheese. Van Orden became everyone's favorite underdog story.

Delightfully Confusing Interlude: Kerri Walsh seemed to be saying that Destinee Hooker was her new beach partner, didn't she?

Meanwhile, TV viewers at home were reminded over, and over, and over again that Jeanne Reaves was pregnant with Kelly at the 1991 final four. Look, TV producers or whatever, it's a nice story when you mention it a couple of times. Anymore than that, and people not only don't care anymore, but start actively wishing a large hammer would smash their TV.

Game four was over way too quickly, and the Bruins, after two years with their new head coach, are the toast of Westwood.

The Convention

Hey, whatever happened to Danny Kinda? Wasn't that about to become a thing?

Ping gave a great exhibition on...being disappointed in demonstrators, I think. And Big Daddy Don Shaw made an appearance! This guy's gotta come around more often.

Super Session - Great Q&A with JMac, Jerritt, Mary, Cook, and Dunning, lead by Kelly Sheffield, who's apparently gunning to be the Mike Wallace of volleyball. I haven't seen that much squirming in chairs since  Watergate. But I think for the most part all five coaches enjoyed the discussion.

Things I learned at the session:
- Everyone but Mary and Cook would like to see Russ on a similar panel next year
- Mary would like to see people such as Banachowski and Hebert
- Cook would like to see Russ' assistants (I believe they're all unavailable for comment)

FYI, the Cook - McLaughlin beef appears to be a thing of the past. The two were very cordial after the session, which probably bums out the Cook and McLaughlin haters out there in their respective haters basements.

Karch apparently did a very cool session on reading hitters, but I wouldn't know because some genius decided to put him in one of the smaller rooms, and I was officially boxed out. Look, organizers, it's Karch. KARCH. Tons of people are going to come to anything he does. He could do my taxes and there'd be hordes of people. Give the man a bigger room!

Coach's luncheon - The comedy duo Reynaud & Sagula were back after Cecile's one-year absence and --HOLY CRAP AL SCATES IS RETIRING?! Everything else after that was a blur. I know at some point I ate something. I think it was food. I also almost died of hypothermia.

All-America luncheon - HOLY CRAP AL SCATES IS RETIRING. Sorry, just takes a while to get over something like that. Zamst was back on the scene, and I still don't know what they do. We've had good All-American speakers in the past -- Nnamani, Tortorello, to name a couple -- but Hagglund takes the cake for not only admitting an imitation of Mick exists out there, but for singling out Alexis Olgard as the one who does it the best. Good luck the next three years, Alexis...

Other notable speakers included Rebecca Kamp who seemed more comfortable on stage than anyone. Speaking of comfortable on stage, Barnett was better this year than last, but I don't think he reads his questions out loud before asking them at the banquet. At least he did the interviews so the players didn't have to fold themselves into a chair while wearing a skirt.

Infinity party - I know it happened. I know I was there.

Saturday morning sessions - I know they happened. I know I was there.

Alamodome notes: If you happened to be sitting on the ends, I hope you brought your telescope. San Antonio's a good city to have the convention, but the Alamodome is bad. Good to hear it's going to the Finger Lickin' Good Arena next year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

POST-regional quotes (whoops)

“I think the biggest reason I am proud of our team is that they treated it like a volleyball match. They didn’t treat it like anything else." - Hambly. I know I hate it when a team treats a volleyball match like a, uh, something else?

"It wasn’t a final-eight match for them. It was just a volleyball match." - Ohhhh. OK, I'm with you now. 

"That was a heck of a match between the 7th and 10th best teams in the country." - Dave Shoji. SARCASM! Get 'em, Dave! Let's see if Mick had any zingers.

"Hats off to my team for getting out-played in some areas." - Mick. That is not what I was expecting.

"... and still have enough fight to stay in the match and come out on top in the end." Oh. I do that every time

"(Before the match) I've teased I have brought knives to a gun fight before, but this may feel like bringing a soup spoon to a gun fight." - Sealy. This analogy brought to you by Swiss Army Knives.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with Erik Sullivan

Low flow?

Were these the Regionals "GLEE" is always talking about?

If so, then I guess that would explain the show's popularity. Maybe.

Fight on! And, on! And on! AND ON. - If you beat Hawaii in 5, IN HAWAII, and then outlast Pepperdine when you should be on "Empty," that's impressive. Bateman deserves some kind of award for being unflappable. She's incapable of flapping. She's like a flightless bird. Kendall Bateman is a penguin.

Despite the Hawaii loss... - Join me in starting the Official Jane Croson Fan Club at

Bruins back in The Show! - First Final Four for the Bruins since the halcyon days of Nellie and Nana (Nellie and Nana! Mornings on KLRO 93.5!). Is there a connection between the Bruins' tourney run and Sealy's haircut? Is this a reverse Samson-kind of thing?

Penn State lost; commence the hysterics - Russ is bored! Russ has lost his touch! Where was Dorton! The assistants are fired! The players are fired! Loud, angry noises!

Purdue, ISU found out how good FSU is at the worst possible time - Is Florida State the Florida of the ACC? Are they the program that will drag more ACC teams into the Top 25? I just want to see if that assistant is going to wear sweats in the final four.

Speaking of which, let's hypothesize pointlessly - What happens if Purdue closes out that 21-13 lead in game 1? What happens if

Iowa State might be the Greatest Show on Earth - If they were an app, it'd be on my iPhone. If they were a website, I'd bookmark 'em. If I had a million dollars, I'd buy them a fur coat (but not a real fur coat, that's cruel).

Illinois is going, too - You know that fun thing where an event occurs for the first time in a long time, and I say it's the first time it's happened since [insert something humorous proving how long it's been since said event has occurred]? Imagine I did that here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Leftover quotes from last weekend.

Yeah, these were lying around my desktop, thought I'd toss 'em in the ol' hamper. 

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

"Anybody on (Russ Rose's) bench that wants to transfer, tell them to call me." - Delaware's Bonnie Kenney brazenly seeking transfers after the Blue Hens lost to Penn State.

"In reality, we are in the entertainment business." - Jim Moore, making a statement that will come as a surprise to most university presidents. Look for the NCAA to seek representation from ICM. 

"After beating Penn State, I remember saying, 'I hope this isn't the highlight of our year.'" - Jim Moore, showing us how he tempted the fates to make a mockery of his season.

"Russ Rose knows what he's doing." - Holly McPeak. The McPeak Stamp of Approval! (tm) ROSE HAS ARRIVED!!! Hip-hip! (HOORAY) Hip-hip! (HOORAY)

Regional quotes, fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la, la, laaa.

It's the holiday season, a time of year for traditions such as caroling, sleigh bells, and, here at dotyoureye, NCAA Regionals press conference coach quotes! (as previously detailed here, and here, and here)  Enjoy the similarities!*

*(bonus this year from the Lexington regional, quotes re: Craig Skinner and how great he is)

"It may sound pretty trite to say we're excited to be here." - Mary Wise.

"Obviously we're excited to be here." - Mark Rosen.

"Besides the fact that we couldn't find a bathroom, everything was great so far as our trip coming in here." - Hambly

"We're excited, obviously, about being here." - Geoff Carlston

"Certainly we're excited to be here." - Chris Poole

"We're happy to be in Minneapolis." - Dave Shondell

"We're really excited to be here for the regional." - Laura Bush

"We are pretty excited to be here this weekend." Christy Johnson HYPHEN! Lynch

"We are excited to still be playing." - Russ. "(Skinner) has done a terrific job with this program."

"We are excited to be here, obviously." - Jerritt "Craig (Skinner) has done a phenomenal job here."

"It's great to be back." - Sealy. "I've been kind of isolated on an island in Hawaii for the last four years."

"Seems like it's been about a month since we got back from Texas A&M." - Craig Skinner

Whatever happened to: Loyola Chicago edition

Remember when we reported that the Loyola Phoenix reported that seven players were dismissed from the Loyola Chicago team? And then there was nothing else?

Well, November 30 there was a follow-up article, reporting that Athletic Director Grace Calhoun backed Muscat's chop-chop.

There's some kooky stuff going on here, so let's recap.

Seven players were bounced. Two were seniors dismissed on the second-to-last weekend of the season. Shortly after the season was over, five more were told to hit the bricks.

Athletic Director Grace Calhoun announced she approved Muscat's decision.
I feel that standards and expectations were clearly communicated and, ultimately, when Coach Muscat...stated that he needed to make changes, I fully supported his ability to do that."
Hm. And then there's this statement from the athletic department:
From the beginning of head coach Chris Muscat's tenure, clear expectations were outlined for all student-athletes academically, athletically, personally and socially. We believe we gave these student-athletes every chance to be a positive part of the program and felt that changes needed to be made when these expectations were not consistently met.
Athletic scholarships are merit-based and student-athletes must adhere to a set of well-communicated standards.
 Again, there's that "expectations" theme, and the "clear" characterization, and the assertion that everything has been "well-communicated." But notice how the statement goes out of its way to say a lot without saying much of anything? That's known as "corporate speak." You learn how to write that way when you turn 35. Or go to law school.

And then there was this from Calhoun:
While there were at times different reasons for each student-athlete [to be released], I felt comfortable that those expectations were clearly outlined and that [Muscat] had good rational for making the changes he did.
Wow, anyone getting the feeling that the athletic department is doing their best to make sure none of this is actionable? "Hey, we told them! Clearly! Did you not hear me say that? We all heard me say that, right?"

My head hurts.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with Shane Pinder

"Now, we could play this match in the conventional way, with 'serves' and 'rallies.' But I had a crazy thought on my way over to the gym: why don't we blaze a new trail? Let's determine this match by THUMB WRESTLING! Right? C'mon! Who's in? Russ?"

Totally Unfair Photo Caption with Mark Rosen

"Scientists aren't sure why the man, frozen in the year 2011, is so angry, but they believe he was yelling at his setter."

Hey let's meet Purdue's Tiffany Fisher

Purdue is on fire! So why don't we read up on one of their hotshots, senior Tiffany Fisher, via an interview with her at the Lafayette Journal and Courier.

Fisher learned to work hard pretty early in life, people.

"I've always had to make sacrifices."

Hit me with an example.

"I couldn't have sleepovers because I had to go clean the pens in the hog barn."

No one wants to braid your hair and talk about zits when you smell like a pigpen. Right, Pig-Pen?

Oh, poor guy. Chin up.

How did this hard-working farmhand wind up at Purdue? Fisher's high school AD, Darlene Mathew, thought, "maybe she would get a Division I track scholarship because she was a very good high jumper."

So the AD was no help.

"But when Purdue coach Dave Shondell spotted a tremendous athlete in a 6-foot-2 frame, he..."

Broke down? Threw up? Called his assistants and fired them for not finding her sooner?

"...thought he could find a spot for her."

He was right, as the stats have proven. Fisher leads the Big Ten in hitting percentage, blah blah blah.

"'(Fisher's) toughness and competitiveness drives all of us,' redshirt senior Blair Bashen said."

Ah, so she's a real show-off, and you fight her for the spotlight?

"You want to get every dig because you see how hard she is working."

Oh. So it's the complete opposite of what I said. Gotcha.

"You know she is going to perform well every game. That's a great leadership value."

Well, I guess. If you're into that kind of thing. It's interesting, though, to see the similar work ethic that is developed in disparate communities.

"Bashen is from Houston, a metropolis compared to Fisher's hometown."

Or, you know, anyone's hometown, since Houston is a metropolis. But Bashen soon found out that they had a lot of similarities despite the whole small town / big town thing.

"'Her personality is nothing like a small-town farm girl,' Bashen said."

So, no stirring the Kool-Aid with her bare hand then?

"Prior to the start of a set when Bashen prepares to sub in for Fisher to play defense, Fisher will oftentimes offer a playful slap to the face."

Which confirms what I've always said: Nothing is more different from small-town life than a slap in the face. AmIright?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Admit it: your bracket sucks

Don't be "that guy" and claim that you predicted even HALF of what happened this past weekend. Throw away your bracket just like the rest of us. Got to the point I was afraid to dial up because I didn't know what I was going to see.

Wanted: PR flack for top volleyball coach; love of red a plus. - I think Cook is a good guy. Public speaking's just not his thing. At all. Not at all. No sooner had he inadvertently disparaged PSU's first round opponents and been eviscerated by VolleyTalk (as per usual), than the Huskers lost. In the first round. To Kansas State. AT HOME. I no longer trust the reality around me.

The Tar Heels did WHAT? - UNC, the Bill Pullman of the volleyball world, did the unthinkable and rocked the boat, beating Cal one year after the Golden Bears' finals appearance. It was UNC's battle speech in "Independence Day."

Ducks can't duck Rams - Oregon did a lot of great things this season, one of them not being drawing Colorado State in the first round.

Gophers! The little brown furry rodents! - Good on Coach Bush, in the rock / hard place position as Hugh's coach, for knocking off the GM2 Huskies in 5. But with Cook and McLaughlin out, who's going to scrap? Nina and Susie? Carlston and Hambly?

Texas A&M swept away by UK  - Honestly, the least surprising outcome ever. Aggies being seeded instead of Kentucky was like "Dancing with Wolves" winning Best Picture instead of "Goodfellas."

Ah, classic rope-a-dope from the Wolverines! - This has not been an outstanding year for Michigan. After a great pre-season, they went a disappointing 8-12 in the Big 10-11-12. Worst of all, there's been no follow-up to last year's YouTube smash "I Like It." But, they get in The Dance and bounce Stanford for the second straight year. Remember when Stanford used to win a lot more?

'Noles statistically lose -- yet win -- 5-gamer against Cincy - Getting 26 more kills and 28 more digs than your opponent is apparently not enough to win a match anymore, as Cincy rudely found out against the 'Noles. Cincy had 84 kills to FSU's 58, 92 digs to FSU's 64.