Maddy Kerr takes fans inside the Cal Volleyball team all season long with "Kerr's Korner," a blog written by the Bears' sophomore libero.
Sept. 19, 2014
Hi Cal Fans!
Last weekend was our first time playing at home! It was really fun playing at home in front of our crowd with the band! The atmosphere in Haas Pavilion is unbeatable. It is so much fun playing there
Friday night, we played the University of Pacific, and unfortunately lost in three sets. We were obviously not proud of the way we played. Every individual played poorly and takes responsibility for the loss. Pacific played a good match, but it was our own poor play that created the outcome. Once again, our weaknesses were exposed, and once again, we had to bounce back pretty quickly.
We played two matches on Saturday, one in the morning and one at night, against Nevada and UCSB. We won both matches in four sets and played much better. We are beginning to understand exactly what it takes to compete at the college level, and that we cannot afford to bring anything but our best against any team we play. One of the most promising aspects of our two wins last weekend was that we got a lot of production from people who haven’t been seeing the court so much, which just showed how deep we are.
This week, practice was extremely competitive. Every drill we did was a competition, with the losing team or player running sprints. I love competitive practices because they are so energetic, and frankly, just fun. Wednesday and Thursday we did competitions between the blondes and the brunettes, a common rivalry within our team. We played “Queen of the Court,” which is basically 3 vs. 3, hitting out of the back row, with a new team filling in after the ball travels over the net. It can get a little hectic, and we are very into it.
Wednesday, the brunettes cheated to win. We believe they paid off Jenn, our scorekeeper. We blondes were, of course, upset when we found out after practice. However, we knew we could not argue with the “refs,” about it. So Thursday, we came in with a new, fierce attitude — we were going to destroy the brunettes. And we did. And we did not pay Jenn to swing the results in our favor. Moral of the story: brunettes are cheaters. Remember that.
Tonight, we play St. Mary’s, which is nice because we just get to drive there instead of flying and staying in a hotel. We are very excited to play them. They are a very good team, but if we do what we know we are capable of doing, we will be successful. Wish us luck!
September 12, 2014
Anyway, after we get to the airport and go through security, since we are relatively normal 18-22 year old girls, we go to Starbucks, or “Starbs” as we cool people call it. We order all sorts of girly coffee drinks. We have this system down to a T.
Traveling to Las Cruces, New Mexico was pretty uneventful. We flew to El Paso, Texas and then took a bus to Las Cruces. The bus ride made us feel very lucky to live in Northern California, because judging by my estimates, the temperature of that bus was upwards of 200 degrees. I am a really good guesser, so I’m probably right. Anyway, we had a serve and pass after we got settled in, to get used to the facilities and what not, and then had dinner and went to sleep. We were all pretty tired after our long day of traveling, and we had to wake up around 6 the next morning, so it felt really good getting to bed early.
On Friday, we lost in five sets to Radford. We did not play well, and they exposed all of our weaknesses, and showed us each individually and as a team a lot of things we need to work on. Although we hate losing, I think we have to use that loss as a learning experience, and we have been. That afternoon, we rebounded to beat North Dakota State in three straight sets, and the next day, beat New Mexico State in five sets.
We have very high expectations for this team, and really need to step up our game, especially since we are in the Pac-12, arguably the best women’s volleyball conference in the country. We are getting better by the day, but are nowhere near reaching our full potential yet, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as we want to continue to improve as the season goes on. We are still developing our own unique style of play. We just have to keep working and be patient!
We did not fly home until Sunday morning, and we happened to be on the same flight as the San Jose State football team. After first expressing our disappointment that we were in the C boarding group because their team took up the A and B groups, and that we were sure to be stuck in middle seats between the big (probably smelly) boys, we actually befriended a few of them. They were really nice guys, and being college athletes, there is always a way to find a common ground.
Lately, our team has been really into riddles. It’s completely annoying and frustrating, and I am tempted to quit out of irritation every single time but don’t because that would be embarrassing. Anyway, a few of us started trading riddles with a few of the football guys, and we bonded, probably due to our shared competitive nature. Regardless, it made the time pass quickly. Always fun to make new friends, especially when you’ve been forcibly confined to the same 19 girls for weeks! Just kidding, I kind of like these girls…
We are extremely excited to be playing at home this weekend for the first time! We play University of the Pacific, Nevada, and UCSB, and all are very good teams. We will definitely have to bring our A game for these ones! The vibes in Haas Pavilion will be rockin’ as usual, so we hope everybody can make it out to support! Go Bears!
September 4, 2014
Hi Cal fans!
Last weekend we won our first three matches against SIU Edwardsville, Winthrop, and the United States Air Force Academy. It was really exciting to play in legitimate matches after practicing in two-a-days for three weeks prior. We finally got to see how we compared to other teams. We are proud of winning all three matches, but we definitely have a lot of work to do, and we are continuing to work hard in practice to get better, individually and as a team.
While in Colorado Springs, we had a lot of fun on our first trip together, hanging out and getting to know each other better. Traveling really brings us together. Rich always likes us to have fun experiences outside of volleyball, so on Saturday we went to the Garden of the Gods, which is a National Natural Landmark of beautiful red rock formations. It was a really nice day, so it was great to be outside for a bit. After this, we went back to our hotel to watch the Cal football game! We only got to watch the first half before we left for our own game, but it was so exciting to see them playing so well. We were so proud of the guys and can’t wait to watch them play against Colorado in Berkeley, when the whole team will attend the game on September 27!
After getting home late Sunday night, we had Monday off of school and practice, which allowed us to get some much needed sleep and catch up with some things that college kids need to do. I went grocery shopping, did laundry, and cleaned my apartment. Really exciting stuff! Tuesday morning, we were right back to practice and weights. We started practice with a video session, to pinpoint our weaknesses from the weekend and identify changes we need to make to get better. You really can’t hide on video! Every detail is exposed, and it just reminds us of how important the smallest things are. I watch an insane amount of video, because I really feel like I get a lot out of watching the plays I make in matches, both good and bad. I think the coaches might think I’m a little crazy for watching so much. Regardless, I think we all find video sessions helpful in improving our game.
In practice Tuesday and Wednesday, we really focused on improving our defense, which was of course fun for me, being a libero. We are not the largest team in our conference, so establishing disciplined defense and blocking will be a really important part of our success this year.
This weekend, we play Radford, North Dakota State, and New Mexico State in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We don’t know much about any of these teams, so our plan is to just play our game and learn as we go. It should be fun stuff.
Wish us luck! Go Bears!
August 28, 2014
Cal Volleyball is back in action! We finally made it through two-a-days on Tuesday, after two and a half long weeks. For those of you who do not know, two-a-days include two three-hour practices - one in the morning and one in the afternoon - three team meals, and hanging out at Haas Pavilion all day because sore legs prevent us from walking home and back in between practices. Essentially, we spend A LOT of time together, so it’s a good thing our team gets along so well.
In all sincerity, two-a-days helped us to grow and develop as a team so much in a relatively short amount of time. This year, we have eight freshmen - they almost make up half of our team of 19. But we have integrated them into our team culture very quickly. They are all playing very well in practice, and many of them will get a lot of playing time and be really impactful contributors to our success this season. It’s awesome having a lot of freshmen because you can see them improve and adjust to the college level of volleyball right before your eyes. Having 19 players this year increases our depth tremendously, which is so important at this level, where games are often determined by specific match-ups, not to mention the unfortunate inevitability of players getting injured. This depth also ensures that every day in practice, we are pushing each other individually. There is depth at every position, so starters know that they have to perform well to keep their spot because there is someone else right behind them. So far, it has really helped to increase the competitive nature of practice.
We are very excited for the season to begin, with our first match on Friday. We are going to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where we will face SIU-Edwardsville, Winthrop, and Air Force this weekend. We are extremely prepared for our first round of competition and are looking to have some fun as well. On a side note, because we left Thursday morning to go on this trip, we are missing the first two days of school. As you can imagine, everybody on the team is absolutely heartbroken and devastated to have to skip class in favor of playing volleyball. Just the price we have to pay, I guess.
Wish us luck, and Go Bears!