Saturday, September 22, 2007

Women's Vball @ Cal 9/21/2007

Stanford 3 Cal 1
It was fitting that the first game we travelled to was against rivals Cal. We got there just in time to see the last of the Stanford player introductions and were immediately impressed with how many Cal fans were in attendance. It might have helped that Cal was ranked #11 and were playing us.

Their student section was packed and the general atmosphere was a lot louder than last year. Some taunts targeted at our players that I could discern were: Urkle to Foluke and Elf to Gabi. It's definitely wishful thinking but if we could get a student section like that at Stanford for the upcoming USC and UCLA Volleyball games, that would be amazing. The acoustics of Haas Pavillion were also great and I can't imagine what it must have been like on the court. It might have contributed to our rattled play early on as Cal jumped on us right out of the gate, further fuelling their crowd.

Stanford fans were not to be outdone and there was a solid section of red in the corner behind the bench. It was nice to see so many students at the game, especially compared to last year where it felt like we were the only ones there. We continued to ride Morgan Beck of Cal by repeating her name whenever she served (much to the confusion of Cal fans). It's been an ongoing theme since last year and she always seems to play below par against us. She ended up hitting .071 and was targeted repeatedly on Stanford's serve.

The band was also attendance which is always nice to see. They sounded great thanks to the acoustics. Interestingly the drum major was in a wheelchair, and had been in one all day. I wonder what he'll bust out of the Oregon field show. The Tree got into an altercation with 2 members of Cal's band towards the end of the 3rd. I didn't see how it started but heard that Cal provoked it. The tree was not asked to leave the arena and so I tend to side with that account of the story. Down 22-28, we ended up taking the 3rd after going on an amazing run as Cal choked. The moral of the story: Don't mess with our Tree!

I believe I've been designated as the one in the group to discuss the games and comment on the various things that I noticed. The atmosphere in Haas was ridiculous, and I don't really remember being that louder last year for volleyball and maybe not when we went for basketball as well.

As for the game, we came out flat and Cal jumped all over us like they should have. What impressed me the most about Cal initially was that their consistency looked much improved over last year. Hana seems to have learned that she doesn't always have to destroy the ball with each swing, and they also did a good job taking what we gave them with their swings.

Their game plan on defense appeared to be denying Foluke in the middle and forcing our outsides to beat them. Alix and Cynthia both got good 1 on 1 swings on the outside. JD definitely shortened the rotation for Pac-10s as well. I believe only Jessica and Janet subbed in, and Janet was only to help the block/let the coaches talk to Franci for a bit. Although we hit fairly well percentage-wise, Bryn's timing to the middles was off for the first couple of games and that definitely didn't help either. She was money to the outside and the back row, and our defense played really well. All in all it was a road win in the Pac-10, and you can't complain too much about that.

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