Preseason Blog #1 - Senior Class
STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut volleyball team continues its preseason practice sessions, along with some fun team activities, on the road to the 2016 season-opener at Syracuse on Aug. 26.
The Huskies open play in the Syracuse Invitational, playing the Orange on the 26th and Colgate on Aug. 27. UConn was selected to finish fifth in the American Athletic Conference's Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced on Monday.
Leading up to first serve of the Syracuse game, the UConn players will be providing a series of preseason blogs to keep everyone updated on the progress being made on and off the court by the Huskies.
"Hello everyone! Junior class here! We have just finished our sixth day of preseason and let us tell you, it's gotten off to a great start. In fact, Coach said today that "this is the best environment we've ever had in this gym." With only two new additions to our roster, it has been very easy to get them acclimated to our team culture. Genna and Avery are definitely two people that can make a big impact this upcoming season. As for the returners, we've picked up right where we left off from a very strong spring season.
On Friday we had a double practice session, along with a lift with our favorite person, Coach D! Our lifts during preseason focus a lot on maintenance and injury prevention, so without Coach D we would probably all be injured by now! In the morning session, we break up into different positions and work on technique skills that are specialized to our own positions. We work on footwork, defensive system, and connections with the setters. In between sessions, Jade brought in a fun game for all of us to play called BEANBOOZLED. In the game there are a lot of jelly beans and for each color of jelly bean, there are two different flavors. The first flavor is something that tastes good (like strawberry banana smoothie, or tutti frutti) while the second flavor is something gross (like rotten egg, spoiled milk or dead fish... to name a few!). The two flavors look exactly alike, so you're not sure which flavor you're going to get! We had a lot of fun playing the game in the locker room (and gagging a few times), but we had the most fun when we took the jelly beans out to the gym and BEANBOOZLED Coach! For the second session, we split into different teams and played for most of the evening. It was very competitive and intense, and it was rewarding to see all of the small things that we worked on earlier that day put together and work so well. After practice the dining hall was closed, so we had a catered team dinner, which is always fun! It was great to unwind after our long day and spend some down time together before we headed off to bed.
We started the day off Saturday with a team practice at 9 a.m. We've really been putting an emphasis on our serving and passing, so that is what we primarily focused on for the beginning of practice. Next, we had our first video session; this is where we look at the scrimmages from the practice before, and point out our mistakes to hopefully better us as a team. After practice we all went to the dining hall to eat lunch. We were supposed to meet back at the gym at 3 p.m. to meet for a team activity, however in between lunch and the meeting time, we all got caught up on some sleep (preseason is tiring!!!). Then we all met up by Gampel to get ready to leave for our team activity in Middletown, CT. We arrive at this place called the "Mystery Rooms" and hear our instructions. Basically, we were split up into two teams and we had to solve problems and riddles to escape the three rooms. The riddles that we had to solve would allow us to complete tasks such as decoding brail, unlocking locks, and using heat detector lights to find codes; it was pretty cool. We were supposed to finish this in under an hour, but after both teams had not done so, our game master let us know that there is only a 30% escape rate so we were (unfortunately) in the norm. After both teams finished their routes (and we took some awesome team photos), we had all worked up an appetite and luckily all the coaches had a great restaurant planned for us. We ended up going to a pizza and pasta place called the First and Last Tavern. Aside from the great food, team dinners are the best. We were all able to sit down and talk about everything that's going on in our lives, which usually involves a lot of laughter and jokes. The ride back (we can only speak for Robbie's car) was full of lip syncing and actual (very loud and off pitch) singing. We should probably stick to volleyball, but why not sing to pass the time, right?! Then we all returned back on campus to end our day."