Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jose Cuervo Miami Open Champions!




Despite losing in our second round in this tournament, Brooke and I bounced back and took the title in a gripping three set victory. We had to play 7 matches to win the tournament. However battling back after the early loss, gives Brooke and I a confidence boost to know that we can come through the losers bracket and still win an event!


Monday, September 12, 2011

NVL Miami Runner's Up


In our second domestic event of the season in Miami, Brooke and I again made it to the finals of the event! However, the schedule and format of play was pretty grueling and we ended playing 2 more matches than our competitors did on the day of the final. Unfortunately, fatigue was a bit of a factor, but we are ready to bounce back next weekend back here in Miami!

Monday, September 5, 2011

US Open Champions!




After coming home from an intense bout of competition overseas, Brooke and I were elated to play in our first domestic event of the year. I was battling an aching ear infection, but we managed to pull out the victory without losing a match! This was Brooke's and my first individual domestic win and our first team domestic win. It felt great!! We've been working so hard this past year and a half and we want to say thank you to the all the people who have been following and supporting our progress!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5th Place finish at World Champs in Rome!







Brooke and I just returned from the World Championships in Rome, Italy where we placed 5th in the World! World Championships is widely regarded as the toughest tournament and it only happens every four years. We lost to the eventual World Champions Larissa and Juliana, but our match against them was very close. Our team sideout was not very good and we still had opportunities to win the match. Larissa even yelled "Boha!" in my face after we won. Classy.

We were very proud to compete so well in Rome as we both had family and friends in attendance. This finish puts us in a strong position to compete for a bid to the 2012 Olympics, our ultimate goal.




Big Win at World Champs!

Below is an interview I did directly following our win over Brazil's Vivian and Lima in the knockout phase of World Championships in Rome last weekend. As you can see I am still out of breath and very excited about the win =)


Full Match video of our win over Brazil.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Net Live!!



I was on air on the Net Live for an interview with Skeet Geet, the Barnacle and DJ Roeche, where Geeter officially annointed me with a nickname. There were several names in the running including "The LitiGator," "The Gavel," " The Long Arm of the Law," "The DeFENDer" and LA Law. I was so impressed by the creativity and depth. Matt Garthoff even came up with "417," CA Penal Code for brandishing a live arm. It is cryptic, yet on point and that is why it's my favorite. Listen to the podcast to hear which nickname was chosen!

The podcast also contains a riveting interview with Chris "Geeter" McGee, a born public speaker and a wordsmith on the mic, who I liken to the Tom Brokaw of the Sports World. This man was born to speak to people.

Click here to download the podcast for free on iTunes and be sure to tune in to the Net Live on Mondays at 10 am PT to hear the best analysis of the what's going on in the Volleyball World. http://thevolleyballnetwork.com/portal/

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Best friend request ever.


Thanks Rider! Hopefully you are not disappointed that I am a mujer!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

4th Place in Brasilia!








Brooke and I battled through 11 matches in the first Olympic Qualifying event of the FIVB season. While I am hungry for a medal, I am pleased with what we accomplished. We upset the #2, #4, #6, #10, and #11 ranked teams in the World! We beat two Brazilian teams on their home soil and the 2008 Bronze medal Olympians. Not too shabby! Our next tournament will be in Shanghai, China next weekend. You can follow our progress on www.bvbinfo.com or on http://www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/Competitions/WorldTour/2011/Event/index.asp?TournCode=WSHA2011. Thanks to everyone who followed us in Brasil!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Champions in Grand Cayman!






I just returned from Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman islands in the Carribbean where I played in my first tournament of the 2011 season. It was a NORCECA event, which is an international tour that involves all North American and Central American countries. My partner, Brooke Hanson and I were excited to start the season with a win in while representing USA. Additionally, since the Olympic qualification procedures changed for this upcoming Olympics, the NORCECA tour now qualifies one Olympic spot. It is unlikely that the USA will need to qualify a team through NORCECA, but it feels good to win a tournament that is considered Olympic qualification caliber.

Brooke and I have been working extremely hard since December and the win is a nice reassurance that our hard work is making us better. Brooke and I played sharp the entire tournament and we did not even lose a set.

We also had the incredible opportunity to swim with dolphins and pick up and pet giant (about 60 lb.) and baby sea turtles(see picture above). The ocean water was incredibly turquoise and it was a dream to swim in it between each match. The event staff worked incredibly hard and it showed. I want to thank everyone in Grand Cayman for putting on a great event!!

Looking forward, I am excited to build off this win and to keep improving. My sights and goals are long term but my focus is day to day, moment to moment. Up next is Brasilia, Brasil, the first FIVB Olympic Qualification event, in two and a half weeks!


video

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Volleyball Magazine Article I wrote






Andrew took the photos and I wrote the copy for the above featured article about the FIVB Phuket, Thailand event in November 2010. The article was published in the February edition of Volleyball Magazine. It was a fun pursuit and I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Chinese Thanksgiving







On a moped sandwiched between Erin Gray and our translator named Cammy, I was nervously re-evaluating my decision to join the shopping expedition. If you asked me three weeks ago, if this is the situation I'd thought I'd be in on Thanksgiving, I would've said you are crazy! But alas, Erin's partner dropped out of this Chinese expedition and I instinctively said yes when she asked me to take her place. So back across the Pacific I went for the second time this November. The tournament was held in southern China in a small city named Xiaolan. There were twelve international teams with four Chinese teams. Erin and I won all our matches but one tough close one against China 2. We had chances to win in two, but they pulled out game two and out-played us in game 3. We won the bronze medal by beating a tough, fiery Russian duo. Erin played great and it was a joy to play with her. We had a great time and I was happy to bring home a medal and to take part in the medal ceremony. I guess now, officially, my season is over. I am glad to have time to rest and re-cooperate before preparing for the beginning of Olympic Qualification next year.

I'd like to take a moment to specially thank my sponsors for a great 2010 season: Bledsoe, BioGenix, Alisa Wyatt, Raw Sugar Cane, and Chris Phillips! I would not be where I am without you!

Monday, November 15, 2010

China and Thailand







Brooke and I were chomping at the bit to play after 7 weeks without any competitions. We had been training hard and intense and it was immensely gratifying to see our work pay off in China. Not only did we do well, but we were playing the best we've played together yet. We won both our country quota matches and beat a tough young German team in the qualifier to make it to the main draw. It felt like Brooke and I had finally hit our stride as a team and I know individually my offense was improving and on its way to being more consistent and more beast-like! We beat another German team first round of the main draw and due to unfortunate seeding, we drew the one seed second round. The China 1 was solid and they played us well sending us to the losers bracket. From there, we handled a tricky Japanese team and a fiery Russian team. Next we drew the another American team Kessy/Ross. Approaching your eighth match of the tournament is not the ideal spot to draw this team. We had chances to win, however, and fought a tough battle, but unfortunately we didn't pull it out. It was a strong showing for us and puts us in a good position for points and seeding for next season. We lost in the country quota in Thailand, so in a way, this finish in China was our final finish for the season. It was nice to finish the season playing well. I think Brooke and I saw glimpses of the type of team we could become and we are both hungry to work hard this off-season.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whirlwind through Europe







It has been awhile since I have posted anything. I have been competing just about every weekend this summer, except one (unfortunately forced) weekend off during Klagenfurt.

Mid-season I switched partners from Ashley Ivy to Brooke Hanson. Ashley and I had some success this year and last with two fifths this year on the AVP and a semifinal appearance last year in Thailand. We had a couple almost big wins on the FIVB, but we kept being on the losing end of those games. I liked playing with Ashley, who has a big serve and good on-two ball, but I wanted to try playing with one of the best defenders in the game with Brooke Hanson.

Brooke and I did not get to train much before our first tournaments. Hence, we had a slow start in Hermosa. After that we bounced back with big wins over Ana Paula and Tati and Brittany Hochevar and Dianne DeNecochea in Long Beach taking a fifth. We played a great game one against EY and Rachel and almost pulled off that upset as well.

Then due to a USAV error in sign ups, Brooke and I were forced to withdraw from the FIVB event in Klagenfurt. We were both really bummed, especially after seeing what our draw would've been to get into the main draw and there after.

We took the week and trained hard to prepare for Poland, where we upset the #3 seeded US team of Kessy/Ross, who were World Champs last year, in two straight sets. This was a big win for us. Unfortunately, we couldn't parlay the win into more than a 17th. We were a couple points away from winning our pool and only two points away from winning our elimination match.

Next up was Kristiansand, Norway, where Brooke and I defeated the #2 seed in the world, Maria and Talita from Brasil, again in straight sets. This was a must win for us as we played them in the contender's bracket. Unfortunately, once again we couldn't manage to string together a couple more wins to advance further than a 13th. Still an improvement, but not as big a jump as we'd hope for.

The next tournament was in Aland, Finland. This tournament was an adventure to get to. We took two flights and a five hour ferry before we arrived in Aland. Because we thought we would be playing in AVP tournaments, we and two other US women's teams had to late entry into the Finland qualifier. All three teams emerged from the qualifier. We went on to beat the Russian team we lost to in Poland, but then narrowly lost to the Chinese team who went on to win the tournament. We played them so well and were up in game two, but unfortunately they served really well on the good side and got a string of points late in the game to pull out the win. We finished unsatisfied with a 17th. It had been raining pretty heavily the first day of the main draw and the balls got very heavy. I was mad at myself for not pushing the issue of changing balls with the referee the next day when it was sunny again. But, no excuses. We just needed to play better.

We thought the weather in Finland was poor, until we arrived in the Hague. 25-30 mph winds (I believe) were recorded on the day of the country quota. It was an ugly match and we were trying too much to force things. Lisa and Ashley, my former partner, played well and came back after being down 13-8 in the first game. A frustrating cap to the this portion of the season, but it only fuels my fire to work hard, learn more, and get better.

Interestingly, over four weeks we traveled within a pretty small region of Northern Europe. I estimate we traveled within less than a 500 mile radius circle, yet each destination took almost an entire day to get to.

None of the American women's teams have had "great" seasons this year. I believe this is due to the tough travel schedule the Americans have had and to the international teams improving.

Unfortunately, the AVP has shut down for the rest of the season. My heart is heavy with the loss of our domestic tour. So many incredible athletes who put their lives on hold to pursue beach volleyball are now unemployed. I am hopeful though that like a phoenix, something better will rise from its demise.

In the meantime for the next two months, I will actually be in the US and I will be working hard training for the China and Thailand FIVB events at the end of October.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

SUP!





Stand-up Paddling!! ...Or a mild version of it. Worthy, the hostess with the mostest, made my great friend Molly, Derek and I delicious breakfast tacos! Then we headed out into the channels at Sunset Beach on her neighbors stand-up paddles! It was really fun, but my balance was not so good. I can only imagine how tough that is out in the ocean. One of these days I'll give it a shot.