Aug 20, 2013
What a crazy last 8 months its been since I stopped playing November 3rd due to my ACL injury. Rehab, working out, and playing volleyball had consumed my life during this time, all leading up to the next 4 months. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that it is my last collegiate season here at USD. Being a senior already makes each play feel infinitely more important. On top of this, I know what it is like to be a spectator of the game due to the injury, so I find myself really appreciating each point earned or lost on the court. I can already feel myself holding my teammates to a higher standard as well, knowing what we are capable of, and knowing that it's the last chance to achieve it. Our team has so much potential this year that anything short of the sweet 16, in my opinion, would be a letdown. We have all worked extremely hard during summer with 7 am weights and late-night open gyms to fine-tune our skills, and I know that this will prepare us for our competitive preseason schedule. In a few short weeks we will be headed to our first tournament of the year in Hawaii, home state to our senior C'era Oliviera. It is crazy to think that just 3 years ago I was playing in my first collegiate match in Hawaii, and fortunately get to finish out my senior year doing the same. Not only do we get to play Hawaii, consistently a top 10 volleyball team, we also get to seek revenge on Texas who beat us early in the 2012 season and went on to win the National Championship. We return from Hawaii on Monday the 2nd and then get the wake up call of being a student-athlete. We start school on Wednesday the 4th, and leave the next day for a tournament held by another consistently top 10 team, Iowa State. Our last tournament will be held here at USD and will include our longtime rival USC, who I have been fortunate enough to play twice throughout my career. Unfortunately, we fell to the Trojans both times we played them, but did not go down without a fight. We lost in their home gym in the NCAA tournament in 4 games my freshman year, and 5 games my junior year. This preseason definitely gives our volleyball team a chance to break into top 10 by upsetting some of these consistently ranked teams, ultimately setting ourselves up for a high seed in the NCAA tournament to go further than we ever have.
We have several key returners and a dynamic group of freshman coming in this year. The senior class includes Rachel Alvey, Taylor Hollins, C'era Oliviera, Jane Han, Katie Hoekman and I. The junior class includes Jianna Bonomi, Sandra Lozic, Alexa Banker, and Alaysia Brown. The sophomore class started with 3, Caroline Ciaccio, Lisa Kramer, and Ryann Powell, but due to an ACL injury, Lisa Kramer will be redshirting for the 2013-14 season. Our freshman class includes Hunter Jennings, Jenny Lauber, Lauren Schad, and Sofia Lavin. This is by far one of the most talented and versatile teams I have been on. On top of this, we have an amazing coaching staff returning for the 2013-14 season including Jennifer Petrie, Brent Hilliard, Chris Jackson, and Tammy Webb-Leibl. Year after year these coaches lead teams to WCC championships and NCAA tournament appearances. I feel extremely blessed to be apart of a program with this knowledgeable and competitive coaching staff, as well as teammates who drive me to become a better player every time I step out on the court. These components will be our key to winning the conference championship and diving deeper into the NCAA tournament.
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