I was supposed to go to LA for a tournament but things didn't work out the way that I wanted to so I decided to go tag along and support the UW Men's Club Volleyball team. I helped coach them last season but didn't commit this season coz of schedule and I moved further south of the city which requires me to travel farther. Grimace and most especially my son Maxie "forced" me to go since I have nothing to do with my 4 days weekend that I originally requested for my LA trip and I'm glad I went with them.
So the original plan was just supporting them and cheering for them but I ended up coaching the team. One of the coaches talk to me thru Grimace's phone about the gthroughoal for the weekend. And knowing how the UW Club system it was pretty easy for me to figure out what the coach wanted. The game plan is easy, using a very simple system together with aggressive serving and maintaining triple blocks and stable defense. How hard can that be right?
The team won their first match vs Gonzaga 2 which was pretty easy and lucky to have for our first match. It was a perfect 1st match so we can find out chemistry and work on our system and ended up with 2 to none. We had to officiate the next match so it was good break for the boys and watch the competition. Our 2nd match was with Walla Walla who was running late and only had 6 players at that time. Their team was a lil sidetracked probably because they just got there and wasn't as focused just yet. We took advantage of it and played aggressively winning both sets. The third match was pretty tough on our pool against Boise State University. Their team has bigger hitters and looks more together than the other 2 teams that we played. They reak of young testosterone and they came to win. We killed them the first set but they made a come back with such adrenaline rush and broke down our serve receive and offense. One of our boys who we call Popeye even got heated up and tagged their player oh his nose and made a comment saying "I hit that B*tch on his nose" which was not cool and had to be confronted after the match.
What I learned from coaching the team?
We had a very young team and I understand the hunger and young attitude in the court. When the boys played great they play great and win their match, but when they get up tight, they lose serve receive and lose focus on the match. I didn't have to call time outs coz we gave out too many points but when I see the boys not as cheery and vocal in the court I had to cut it off and explain to them when are they effective most. They have great chemistry and mostly chill inside the court but sometimes they forget to have fun inside the court.
After having a very chill night in our hotel room and an Olive Garden dinner (which is becoming a tradition when we are in Spokane), the boys was ready to play and had a late start of the matches. This gave them more time to sleep in and relax. Some of the boys slept pretty early too but some had drinks and spent time with the UW Girls and other teams in the corridors and was even called out by security.
We played Gonzaga 2 on our first match again and had an easy match. This was an open ticket going to the next round for us. I told the kids not play around and just play their game. Our 2nd match was against the Boise State University again. I was worried with the way our match on pool play ended that it will get heated up once again. I had to recall our match the day before and take notes inside my head on what we did wrong ending us splitting the match. Relax... that was the key. I told the kids that they are one of the best teams their and coming in 2nd seed and we were 5 points shy from taking the spot and ended up on 3rd. The boys played well on this match and I can barely see huge mistakes that we did the previous day. It was a close fight but BSU's spirit wasn't as loud from the day before. We ended up beating them which puts us in the finals. We are now about to face our rival Washington State University who we haven't played this season at all. They ended up beating the 1st Seed and host Gonzaga 1 coming in from their 4th seeding.
I would say WSU's system is pretty old school but it works. They throw the ball pretty high to their wings and middles hit a standard 1's, 3's and slides. This kind of thrown us with our system coz we are used to a very fast plays and keeps up with it with our fast offense. I had to constantly remind the boys to wait and be patient with blocking and beat them with a quick transition leaving our offense mostly with single blocks. Our matches was close, even to a point that on the 2nd set it was 23-23 while we are having troubles on the same rotation as the first set. I had to call a time out and go back to our team goal which is to relax, get a side out and win a point. BOOM! That was what the boys did and we won GOLD!
It felt so good to win the who PIVA Holiday Hustle. Grimace told me that the last time they won first place was about 3 seasons ago. Coming in with a young team and a last minute coaching gig, it felt so good to win and just have a blast playing and coaching. I can tell that they boys had a blast and it was a good bonding time for them as well.
CONGRATULATIONS again boys and can't wait for future tournaments with you. And maybe I'll come to practice once in a while. Haha!
not using xoxo,