Sept. 15, 2003
Just like many other teams around the country, our team is facing nagging injuries, fatigue, and tough competition. However, we have fought hard as a team when we face adversity, and have gotten off to a great start on the season with an 8-2 record. Returning to New Orleans after our first road trip to Denver, everyone's moods are as cheery as can be expected at 7:00 a.m. The good feeling from the hard-earned win over a very good University of Denver team last night is still lingering, and we hope that it will carry over for momentum into next weekend's tournament.
This Pioneer Classic began with a sweep against Fordham (3-0), but left our team knowing we did not perform at our peak. The following morning versus UC-Riverside things got worse before they got better. Playing a technically-sound team tested us mentally and challenged our ability to maintain a consistent performance level. Despite our attempt at a final rally late in the third game, we lost the match 0-3.
In a very silent team meeting, nobody felt good about the way that we had played. Feeling very frustrated about our mistakes, lack of mental preparation and team performance, this match served as a reality check. We are not unbeatable and winning never comes easily. Many teams face a turning point in their season where they can either regroup and fight back, or head down a path of further destruction. I am so proud of our team the way we responded on Saturday night. The team pulled together and played hard, determined and unselfishly to the end of a grueling five-game match. It came down to the last five points of the fifth game when the score was tied 10-10. That is when we had our best five-point scoring streak of the night and won the game 15-10. One of our assistant coaches, Sam Ojie, always tells us about the division of labor on a team and that everyone has their own job to make the team successful. Against Denver, every player had to contribute to the game and our team effort paid off in the end.
Playing on the road, even if in beautiful Colorado, doesn't compare to Fogelman Arena. The support we had the previous weekend was unlike any other Tulane volleyball game I have ever been a part of. Beating LSU (LS-Who?) in front of over 1,000 fans is a memory to last a lifetime, especially for the seniors who can always say now say that we beat that "other" Louisiana team in our last meeting. We have made additional progress on our goal to being the best team in Louisiana. With win over LSU, UNO and Nicholls State under our belt, we still have some tough work ahead of us with Louisiana Tech this weekend, a pair of matches against Southern, and a rematch with UNO.
Overall, I think the team is in a good place with some quality wins, the lessons learned from our losses, and a roster full of talented and dedicated players. I hope you can all come out this weekend for the Kathy Trosclair Tournament and continue to cheer us on in Fogelman Arena.