Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lewis vs Quincy

I should have written this game review last weekend but procrastination wins the battle again.

I drove down to Lewis on a Friday night, traffic wasn't too bad. I arrived just in time as the national anthem was just finishing as I walked into the gym. I need to plan better because I could have saved $5 if I would have emailed Dan ahead of time. Oh well, I guess the men’s volleyball program could use the $5.

Since I arrived late, I could not compare the warm-up sessions to those of the Loyola-Mercyhurst match. Nothing big but something I will attempt to compare in the future.

The match was a bit of a sleeper. I thought it would go at least four sets but Lewis took care of business in three, pretty handily. In the past Quincy would be no match for Lewis but I thought it would be tighter during this rebuilding year for Lewis.

Quincy never seemed to get into any rhythm except for a short while at the beginning of the third set. I will assume all of the kids at Quincy get along but it seemed like they just didn't gel together. They seemed to play hard but made a lot of mistakes especially since they didn't have a lot of underclassmen starting.

The setter, the coach’s son, seemed to have some really sweet hands with the ball having zero rotation and floating up. However, the placement of these beautiful looking sets were lacking in perfection. A lot of sets were behind the hitters or too close to do anything but get stuffed. For a senior, he seemed to make a lot of mistakes. He has a great jump serve but made way too many errors on Friday night. He also was in the net on crucial times, things seniors shouldn't be doing. Maybe it was just a bad night. He also just looks like a football player not a volleyball player. Maybe it’s just because I am an ex football player. I guess it really doesn't matter. Quincy ran the middle better than Lewis but that was about it.

Pickering just seems to get the job done for Lewis. Man does he have hops. If he were 6'5" instead of 5'11", he would be really tough. He does a good job of mixing up his hits between line, cross and splitting the block. Vidovic did a good job and seemed to spread the ball around. He even got a one-on-one block despite his short hops. The block was courtesy of his fellow setter on the other side of the net because the set was about six inches from the net and the hitter blasted right into Jordan's hands. Both he and the crowd were excited anyway. :)

Boller and Sahagian did OK. Boller had a few blocks but didn’t have a great offensive night. I see Billy is playing opposite. He did pretty well on the offensive side but it is kind of funny seeing him trying to play defense. Converting a middle to an opposite happens quite often in college but it takes a while to get the defense down. They wisely made sure he didn’t have to be in the serve receive. I also saw Columbo getting some playing time. I am pretty sure he is one of the original Genesis team members from his 14's and 15's days. Genesis got the silver medal in 15's in Louisville back in 2002 I believe. I got to know the coaches and some of players over the years. Genesis broke up after 15's with some going to High performance and some to Missouri Thunder. The dividing line was usually based on what high school they went to.

Now that the club season is essentially over until June, I will have to get out to some of the high school matches, probably starting with the Best of Illinois tournament sponsored by Wheaton Warrenville South, the IL state champions for the past two years. The original concept was to be a multi-state tournament but it hasn’t' happened that way. I was able to assist a St. Louis contact a couple of years ago and the tournament finally had their first Missouri team involved last spring. Now if I can just get a Kentucky and Ohio team connected, it would become a true multi-state tournament.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Busy Weekend for Volleyball

Let's see.... Chicago land has plenty to choose from if a person chooses to see some volleyball this weekend. The boys Great Lakes Festival is being played on Saturday and Sunday at several sites throughout the Chicago area. I know for sure I will not be visiting the Indiana location. That is just too far of a haul even for the southsiders. I am not sure why they stick the seventeen’s there, maybe because it has a lower number of teams compared to the 18's and 16's. The lighting is kind of funky also unless they did something compared to a few years ago.

On the college level, there are four matches, two at Loyola and two at Lewis. Loyola plays Cal Baptist on Friday and against Ohio State on Saturday night for a MIVA showdown. Until Loyola lost to Ball State last week, I thought this might have been a great match. We will see if Shane and Dan can get their team fired up again against Ohio State. This is one match I would like to see but it will depend on how the rest of my schedule works out. Lewis is easier for me to get to. Lewis plays Quincy (DII) on Friday then Cal Baptist on Saturday. Now that I think about it, I know kids on all five teams, even Cal Baptist.

Hopefully, some of the teams from out of town will get to watch a match or two. It’s better than sitting in a hotel room thinking of things to do that will or will not receive a complaint from someone who unknowingly made a reservation at the same hotel as the team(s). Of course, the coaches cannot wait until after the bed check so they can get together for their own version of relaxation! It is no fun driving those 15 passenger vans around with bags stacked up over the windows, especially if you have to backup and find parking spaces big enough for them. A little relaxation is deserved.

Ok, I will sign off until a write up a match report.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Segmentation of the VolleyTalk Forum

From my recent post on VolleyTalk:

Where should I start? Hmmmm.....

First, VolleyTalk has plenty of "elitist" volleyball fans. They will only watch the top 5 or 6 teams play because they want to only watch the "best" level of college volleyball. That is cool, they can watch the same teams fight it out year after year. I, too, like watching those matches. This group tends to be most frequent posters.

There is a group (lets call them the Favorite Teamers) of VT posters who follow their alma mater and/or favorite team. A Favorite Teamers sub-group are the ones who follow and support their conference. This group tends to be a little quieter on the posting unless their team is one of the top 5 or 6 teams that year. Occasionally, they will attempt to rattle the cages of the elitist posters by talking up their team or conference.

There is group of VT people (lets call them Just Love the Gamers) who just love volleyball. They use VT to follow up on players they know who have moved onto the college ranks as well as read about volleyball news and rumors. A sub-group is still trying to ACTIVELY find ways to expand the sport, not just sit around a talk/complain about it. This group tends to just watch the board and post some occasional news tidbit. An occasional, high energy member of this group gets the board going when they support something "other" than the elite group of volleyball teams. Their passion for volleyball growth is worn on their sleeve and they wonder why the elitists group isn't excited about the news or activities they are presenting. The elitist group loves to bash these enthusiastic members who speak out.

Now that I have put these initial thoughts down, I see that VT is just a microcosm of the real world.

Your thoughts on the Elitists, Favorite Teamers and Just Love the Gamers?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Keeping Up with the Blog, Website and The Next Step

Wow, I thought keeping a blog might be easier than this but you have to take time to sit down and put some thought into what you are writing. I don't want it to just become a capture of random thoughts even though it might seem that way already!!!

I have the website up and running. I keep thinking of little tweaks to clean it up and to clarify where things are. I hate getting to websites and not being able to find what I am looking for. I also have to keep checking all of the team websites to find out when they update their press releases. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective) not all of the DII, DIII and NAIA teams keep their websites current much less updated with information about each of their matches. No SID's (Sports Information Directors) in their budgets!

A little later on I will have to put some thoughts down on some of the guys I followed through the Junior Olympics (and IL high school) level. It is nice to see kids playing, who you have met, chatted with, coached against and even know their parents.

Later on this week, I will send out an email addressed to the head coaches of the DII, DIII and NAIA schools to introduce them to the website. I will ask them for their thoughts, suggestions and maybe even a little help. It would be nice if they or someone on their team/school would send me an email informing me they posted new material. It would cut down on my searching time and help my updates be timelier.

OK, time to get started on my real job and not this fun but crazy hobby.