Thursday, September 27, 2007

Women's Vball vs USC 9/27/2007

Stanford 3 USC 0
The #4 Trojans may well be the highest ranked team we play at home all year and so there was much anticipation for the showdown between the 12-0 teams. Some might say that it was our biggest home game of the year.

To promote the Block Party (Women's Volleyball student section), this week's games were free for all students. We received our new Block Party shirt and I think that the design is an improvement over last year's. Seeing as this was the first home game with the freshmen on campus, and we have some notable freshmen on the squad, the turnout was pretty good. There were numerous Alix Klineman signs. Where's the love for Gabi? Albert might have to work on that.

There were lots of athletes at the game, most notably members of the men's basketball team, who had also appeared earlier in the day at White Plaza to promote the 6th Man Club (Men's Basketball student section). Perhaps they'll show up tomorrow night with a certain prized recruit. Members of last year's volleyball team were also present and Cissy Pierce of the women's basketball team was playing in the band. Speaking of the band, the drum major is off crutches and appears to be back at full health.

As for the game itself, we came out aggressively and set the tone early. It seemed like we were always in control, apart from a run in the 2nd when Foluke rotated out. It was nice to see Alex Fisher come in and do some damage as well. All in all, it was a great performance as we clicked on almost every facet of the game. Bring on the #5 Bruins!

I missed the beginnings of all of the games because I was helping pass out Block Party t-shirts, but I was not impressed with what I saw from USC. If they are the number 4 team in the nation, then it's a 3 team race for the championship in Sac-to. As such, it would be nice if we made it there and didn't have to face Penn. St. in the semis. I didn't watch much volleyball freshman year, but I think this may be the best team we've had in the 4 years we've been on campus.

This freshman class is living up to the hype they had coming in. Alix may get all the pub and attention, but Gabi is the true stud. Our defense looks much more solid this year than last year, and libero play is a big part of that. She gets to many balls it doesn't look like she has a chance for, and she's always going all out. It feels like you can't go more than 2 or 3 plays without Gabi diving around for a dig. Alix is nice because she takes the pressure off of Cynthia and Foluke and gets them better looks because defenses respect her so much (Yes, I know that is putting it lightly).

The key to the team however is and will always be Bryn. When she is on with our hitters, we are unbeatable. Case in point, Foluke with 18 kills and 1 error and hitting .625. Against Cal, Bryn struggled with her timing a little and the match was much harder. You can't judge a setter without looking at the passing behind her, which is why our improvement on defense and passing is such a good sign. Gabi and Cynthia were digging some bombs from USC and putting them spot on to her. Conversely, USC's passing was synonymous with garbage and Carico had no chance to salvage many of the passes that actually stayed on their side of the net. Maybe UCLA will be better?

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