The last three days have been filled with intense on-court team and positional training sessions, off-court workouts, team bonding, and our first scrimmage since we have arrived at training camp. Our coaches have put a lot of thought into our training schedule in order to optimize the time we have together on court before we fly overseas. With the weather as hot and humid as it has been lately here in the DC area, it takes a lot of cautious and careful consideration by both coaches and our trainer Jenny to make sure that the conditions on the court aren’t too dangerous for us to practice. On just a moments notice our schedule could be rearranged and practice times switched for the safety of the team. Team practices are now usually in the morning from 9-11 or so and then a practice later in the evening once it has cooled off some from 7-9. CORE is usually in the afternoon and individual practices are spread out in between team practices when there is available court time. The girls have seemed very flexible so far and we are all excited to head over to Bulgaria and take on our first competition which happens to be the USA’s neighbor to the north, the Canadians.
On Wednesday a local pizza joint, H & Pizza sponsored a free meal for the USA deaf women’s volleyball, men’s basketball and men’s handball teams. It was a nice chance for us to leave campus, bond as a team and see a bit more of the downtown area outside of Gallaudet University. After pizza some of the team walked down the block to Rita’s Frozen Custard. So it was easy to say we were fed well that evening. It was a nice change from the monotony of the campus cafe food. After our adventures downtown the team went back to the Fieldhouse at Gallaudet where we had a team meeting about our team goals. To sum it all up our goals were: To communicate better, to get excited and cheer after every point, and to GET GOLD. I found it extremely intriguing that the last time the USA women’s indoor volleyball team brought home the Gold was 1993 in Sofia. 1997 Copenhagen Olympics USA brought home bronze, 2001 Rome Olympics we brought home Silver, 2005 Melbourne Olympics we brought home Bronze, 2009 Taipei Olympics USA brought home Silver, and 2013 Sofia Olympics… TBA. That little history lesson was just motivation for us all. It’s been 20 years since the USA women’s volleyball team has brought home gold and it’s easy to say we are hungry!
Thursday evening was our first scrimmage. I was told that we were going to be scrimmaging George Washington University’s “intramural” team. (GWU was in the A10 with Butler last year) Once we started to warmup it was easy to see that this was no intramural team. I recognized some familiar faces and after the scrimmage found out that the team contained a setter from Temple, middle from Howard, an outside from George Washington, and an assistant coach from George Washington which were all faces that I saw just this past season with Butler in the A10 conference with the exception of Howard whom Butler faced in a preseason Pittsburgh tournament. The team also contained 4 other girls a few of them graduates and a few more who were active players. Our team was a bit undersized but we were able to take advantage of our opponent’s unfamiliarity with each other by serving aggressively and we were able to take them in 3 closely played sets. I was extremely proud of the way our team fought and played. It was easy to tell we had been putting in the work on and off the court.
These have been 3 days of hard work and it was nice to see for the team that it paid off in the scrimmage. We hope to have another scrimmage with that same team on Sunday. I am sure they are eagerly awaiting a rematch so our team is going to have to step up our game. In the meantime… Stay cool wherever you are and GO DAWGS!!
Kelly Kyle #10