"Britton's Bulletin"

This year's Women's Volleyball player blog will be penned by freshman middle blocker Britton Taylor. Join us throughout the Fall for more insights into the day-to-day life of a college athlete!

November 29

Well Gauchos, it has come to an end.  What a season this season has been.  We have been through so much and have learned so much making the season an overall plus.  Our last four games of this season were very good ones and showed how much potential we have which we can carry over to next year.  Our last two road matches were at Fullerton and Riverside.  Both of these matches went to five games and we were able to win them! At Riverside, we probably had one of our best starts in game one.  Everything was working out for us.  Although as the game went on, Riverside starting picking up on our weaknesses and made things close.  Luckily in the fifth game we were able to have another good start and end up winning.  The next night we were at Fullerton.  This night also happened to be senior night for the Titans so we all knew that the energy level was going to be high and we were going to have to match it or even try to bring more.  Once again, we started off really strong having a lead of 10 points at one time.  We carried the same energy and play over into the second game and won that one as well.  Going into the locker room up two games, we knew we had to be careful and ready for Fullerton to come back fighting.  That is exactly what they did.  Fullerton then took the third and fourth games, making the match go into a decisive fifth game.  The fifth game was very back and forth, staying close until the end.  Jenna Wilson, a junior middle blocker, came alive at the end of the game with some huge swings and big blocks.  It's almost as if she was a wall because nothing was getting past her.  With the help of everyone, we ended up winning the fifth game 15-12.  It was a great win for us because we knew how good a team Fullerton is and also because they beat us the first time around. 

This past weekend we played in our final two matches of the season in the Thunderdome.  These matches also happened to be matches ever for Erica Lau, our only senior.  Friday night it is was time to face Long Beach State again.  The last time we played Long Beach, we probably had one of our worst games.  We knew that this team had gotten better but so had we.  The first game started and everyone was feeling good and everything seemed to be jelling together.  We won the first game 25-21.  We were so excited and the amount of energy that we were bringing was over the top.  The next game was going to be difficult, but we knew the same energy needed to come in order to outlast Long Beach.  The score of the second game ended up being 28-26 in our favor.  Going into the locker room up two games, we couldn't relax because of how good this team is.  Unfortunately, everyone just needed to make one or two less mental mistakes in the third and fourth games which ended up being 25-20 and 26-24 in Long Beach's favor.  Then came the fifth game.  Everyone was focused and ready to go because we didn't want to get the same result that we got last time we played the 49ers.  This game was close until the very end.  Due to some mental errors that everyone was making, we ended up losing 15-13.  This was a tough loss because of how close all the games were.  We knew that little plays could have made the difference of us winning in three games even, but that match was done and we had to focus on Saturday's match against UCI.  Saturday night was a special night for everyone.  Not only was it our last match, senior night for Erica, but also we were honoring Melitta Sverev- a player for Kathy who passed away 18 years ago.  We were all wearing navy warm up shirts with Melitta's number on the back in her honor.  In the locker room before the match, we had our pre-game talk and then Leah and Erica (our captains) stood up and said "look, we have to win tonight, it's our last match of the season so let's end on a good note." We then proceeded to get as much energy as we could and go take on the Anteaters.  The first game was a very close one, once again going back and forth the whole time.  The score ended up being 26-24 with the Gauchos taking the win.  The second game however, we fell apart.  Nothing was working for us and UCI was capitalizing on all of our weaknesses.  The score of the second game was 25-15 going to UCI.  Going into the locker room we were all feeling down because of how bad we just had played.  Erica reminded us all that we won the first game and we could still win this whole match, lifting up our spirits.  The third game we were back to normal with the score of 25-18 in our favor.  The fourth game was another close one.  We wanted so bad to win in four games but unfortunately UCI took the game 25-21.  So yes, we went to five again.  We have really come to love these five game matches and we also love to give our parents heart attacks making the games extremely close.  We didn't want the same result as Friday's fifth game so we had to stay mentally tough throughout the entire game and not take any breaks for even one point.  By doing that, we were able to win on this special night! After our match, we had a nice reception to honor Erica and everything she has done for the program the last four years.  We are going to miss her a lot!

This season has been full of ups and downs, injuries, sicknesses, and records.  Taylor Formico broke the overall dig record as a freshman and earned Freshman of the Year, 1st team all conference, and was put on the all freshman team.  Leah Sully was also named to the 1st team all conference and Katey Thompson was named Honorable Mention for the conference.  All of these were very much deserved because of the amazing season these three played.  Looking back at my first season as a UCSB Gaucho, I have no regrets.  It has been an awesome time even though we didn't end up with the record we wanted.  I have learned so much from all the coaches and all my teammates.  I have also made friendships with everyone that are going to last forever (fingers crossedJ).  I'm glad I could share this experience through this bulletin and hopefully you all have enjoyed what I have given to you.  I cannot wait for the three years to come in this program and to learn even more with the seasons to come.

Until next time,

Britton

November 16

Well Gauchos, our season is winding down to the end.  This weekend we will be embarking on our last road trip with our favorite bus driver, Stormin' Norman.  We are heading down south to face Riverside and Fullerton.  The weekend will bring a lot of lasts for the team this year.  It will be the last road trip that our senior, Erica Lau, will participate in.  It will be the last time that we all have to write down what we want for meals during the weekend (something that is very important to all of us).  It will be the last time we get per diem.  It will be the last time sitting in the same exact seats on the bus.  It will be the last time we get Chipotle for dinner on the way home after our Saturday night game.  And it could possibly be the last time we wear our blue jerseys.  It is a bittersweet  feeling for us all I think, but from my perspective it has been a good run for everyone.  We've had a lot of learning experiences to say the least.

This past weekend we played Pacific and Davis in the Thunderdome.  Friday night, we knew we were going to be playing a tough match again against Pacific because of how the game went the last time we played them.  Once again the match went to five games, with the fifth game having the score of 21-19 but unfortunately going the opposite way it went the previous time.  We didn't have what it took to finish the game but we did put up a good fight and the effort from everyone was very high.  The next night we played Davis.  Last time we played the Aggies, we beat them in four games and it was one of the best matches we played as a team together.  Unfortunately this time around, we weren't as together and we lost in three games.  This match was one of those matches that if everyone played a little better and didn't make the mental errors at the times they were made, we could have won easily.  Unfortunately, we didn't play together as the team that we are and as the team that played Davis back in October.

This whole week has been a preparation week.  We are ready to stop this losing streak and win our last four matches.  Not only have we been working on skills and plays to run in certain situations but we are also working on being more of a team.  At the end of practice on Wednesday, we had a little cheerleading practice.  We would "pretend" to get a kill or make a mistake and then run together and rehearse our huddle.  I have to say that our huddle has gotten better but let's hope that we can carry this practice into our last four matches! 

Until Next Time,

Britton 

November 9

Aloha Gauchos! Last week was full of studying, midterms, flying, driving, and oh yeah HAWAII! Unfortunately none of us really got any tans while we were over there.  Anyway, we left Tuesday afternoon for the airport and got on our plane at around 6.  The flight was long and was full of little kids screaming.  Guess we weren't the only ones excited to get to the island.  We landed in Hawaii Tuesday night at about 8:30 pm Hawaii time, got settled into our hotel rooms and went to sleep.  The next morning we practiced in the Hawaii gym and saw just how big the gym was.  We were all getting really excited to play.  After practice Leroy (our trainer and also a local) took us to this super secret shaved ice place.  We knew we were going to be having some good tasting shaved ice right as we drove up to the spot because of its location: the middle of nowhere.


After our delicious shaved ice, we went back to the hotel immediately, put on our bathing suits, and walked over to the beach.  The whole afternoon was full of us splashing around in the water and – of course – tanning, or at least trying to.  That night we were lucky enough to go to a dinner at the Outrigger Canoe Club.  Our tables were right on the water and we got to watch the sun set as we were eating dinner.

Thursday morning came along with breakfast and another short practice.  The van that I was in (Dan was driving) decided to follow the wrong van onto the freeway for a little detour.  Luckily, we noticed that men were in the van we were following and not girls before we got to the other side of the island.  Also, it was good Ali Santi (Hawai'i local) was in one of the "lost vans" to guide us back to the gym.   After practice we went back to the hotel and most of us visited the famous ABC store.  An ABC store, for people who don't know, has almost everything "Hawaii" and is basically on every single corner on the island.  Most of us got Hawaii t-shirts or tank tops and stocked up on waters and snacks.  For lunch we all walked over to this place called Duke's which also happens to be right on the water.  After lunch it was time to start preparing for the night's game.  We were all very fired up for the match but unfortunately we did not "show up" in our game in front of the thousands of fans and lost to the Rainbows in 3 games.  It wasn't the result that we wanted but the trip was still a good one and we  learned our favorite new word: mahalo (this means thank you in Hawaiian and it happened to be a word that everyone kept saying at the end of every sentence).  Our flight was early Friday morning so we all got to bed as soon as we got back to our hotel Thursday night.  We arrived in LA Friday afternoon and our bus driver Stormin' Norman was there to pick us up.  We drove straight to the hotel that we were staying at and had to forget about the Hawaii game and focus on our game against Northridge that was Saturday night.  Saturday night came along and we were focused and ready to go.  We started off really well, playing hard and fighting which resulted in us winning the first game.  Unfortunately, the next 3 games did not go our way and we ended up losing in 4.

This weekend we play in the Thunderdome against Pacific and Davis.  Last time around we beat both teams, so hopefully we will pull out two more wins this weekend and not let these teams beat us on our home court.

Until next time,

Britton 

October 27

Well Gauchos, we are officially halfway through our season! A very bittersweet feeling for all of us on the team.  Personally, I think this is a good and bad thing for our team.  Good because we now know what to expect from all of the teams in our conference since we have played everyone before.  Also, it gives us a chance to get revenge on the teams that we lost to.  Hopefully we will be able to win those games that we really could and should have won.  The downside about the second half of the season is that all the teams have improved.  This means everyone is now better than they were before.  But good thing we have improved as well.    We have a tough road ahead of us but we are ready for the challenge. 

This past weekend we played host to Fullerton and Riverside.  Friday night we played against the Cal State Fullerton Titans.  Unfortunately, we couldn't pull out the win in the five-game match.  We knew we couldn't dwell on what happened and had to move on in order to be ready for Saturday night.  Saturday morning came along and we were practicing in order to get ready for the night's game.  We were determined that we were going to beat Riverside in our home gym and not go 0-2 for the weekend.  Also that night we had a recruit come on her visit.  All the freshmen got to show her around and show her what we do on game days.  It was fun now being the host to a recruit and weird to think that just a year ago, I was the recruit getting showed around.  Hopefully she enjoyed her stay here and didn't get too weirded out by us freshmen.   Anyways, that night we ended up beating Riverside in a close four game match.  The team was happy for the win but still frustrated with ourselves for Friday night's match.  We always have things we can improve on which is what practices are for.  One of my favorite sayings is "practice makes perfect," (yes, a little cheesy) which I completely believe in.  When you practice something over and over again, it usually sticks in your brain and you then play the way you practiced (or at least we all hope).  This week we have been preparing and practicing hard for our upcoming game on Saturday, making us ready to get the win.

Saturday night we take on the Cal Poly Mustangs for the second time.  Last time we played them in their home gym and swept them in three straight games.  It was one of our best games playing as a team and really celebrating after every point we won.  Hopefully, they won't come to the Thunderdome and do the same thing that happened in their gym and we can pull out a win.  Lucky for us we won't have a band and fans yelling at us after every single point in our home gym, but then again it would be nice to get a couple more fans to come cheer us on!

Until next time,

Britton

October 19

This past weekend was probably our best weekend of the season by far. We traveled up north to face Davis and Pacific- both teams that we knew were going to be difficult to beat. We got into Sacramento Thursday afternoon after a long road trip we endured during the day. Friday came along and we were all thinking about the game that night. We had practice in the morning and were feeling good after we left the Davis gym. That day we all relaxed and were mentally preparing for the night to come. We played one of our best games together as a team and offensively which then showed in the result of winning in four games.

Saturday came around and once again we all relaxed during the day and got prepared for the night by watching film on Pacific and talking about the things we needed to do to get the win. After watching the film we knew we were going to have to play like we did on Friday night to stay with this team and beat them. Waiting in our locker room before we went out to start warm-ups, we went over our team goals.  The main goal was plain and simple: to win.  Kathy had come in and told us that all the Pacific alumni were going to be at this game and how awesome it would be to beat Pacific in front of the alumni and in their home gym.  We knew Pacific had never lost at home the whole season, but we wanted to be the first team to stop this streak.  Knowing that we had to put on a good performance, we got pumped up and left the locker room to get started.

The match began and throughout the whole first game the score kept going back and forth. The result ended up being in our favor, 25-23. We started off slowly in the second game and everything was not working out for us but working for Pacific, which then resulted in Pacific winning 25-17.  We went into the locker room after the second game and were all feeling down and sorry for ourselves because we knew that we could play much better than we just did.  After talking about the things our team needed to change, we ran out and were prepared to battle, or so we thought.  The third game unfortunately started off slowly once again.  Even though we starting catching up at the end of the game, Pacific had a little more fight and took the game 25-20.  At this time, a lot of us were thinking that we might not get that win that we had hoped for.  As we huddled up at the start of the fourth game, we came together and basically came to the conclusion that at this point, we needed to go all out and leave it all on the court so we could win.  Well for the third (and hopefully last) time we started off slow.  The score was 14-10 at one point and we knew that it was time for a comeback.  The alumni wanted to see a show and that is exactly what they got.  Everyone was diving for every ball and letting nothing drop.  We knew we could beat this team by making them make the mistakes.  The fourth game ended up being 25-23 in our favor. 

It was time for a fifth game.  Pacific had never lost any of their previous five-game matches during the season, but we were determined to win this game.  Huddling up before the fifth game, Leah Sully said "We did not come this far to lose this match".  We knew it was do or die at this point.  Shockingly, we started off very strong and had a 4-0 lead. Unfortunately we like to keep things close and make people have heart attacks. I'm surprised no one dropped down in their band, especially the crazy guy who would not stop moving and yelling the entire match. Anyway, the game was tied at 11 and it was time to "beast mode" it (beast mode is when you kick it into over gear and become absolutely fearless and threatening, like a beast).  The fans were going crazy, yelling at us and Kathy and the band kept cheering and booing after every play, but we blocked it all out and the game 15-12.  As you all can imagine, we went WILD in the locker room after.  Jenna Wilson starting dancing, Shauna Klein started beat boxing, and I even whipped out the worm.  We were on cloud nine and all we could do was yell and scream.  Kathy came into the locker room and gave us the best news ever: no practice on Monday!!! That's when we all knew that it was going to be a good 6 hours home.  The bus ride even came with more surprises such as stopping by In-N-Out and getting to watch The Avengers, to make it the best bus ride ever!

This weekend we get to stay in lovely Santa Barbara and host Fullerton and UC Riverside.  Hopefully we can stay on this winning streak and get the two wins at home!

Until next time,

Britton

October 12

Well Gauchos, this weekend we are going on a road trip. We are heading up north to Davis and Pacific. A long 7 hours away, but it could be worse- we could be in tiny vans getting car sick the whole way. Luckily we are in our bus with our awesome driver Norm. We all came prepared with our pillows and snacks and are ready to go - although most likely the whole team will be sleeping for the majority of the way. We love our sleep.

Anyways, this past weekend we had our first home conference games. We ended up beating Cal State Northridge in three straight sets on Friday night. It was probably one of our best if not the best performance as a team this year. Leah Sully and Kara Sherrard, our outside hitters were both major contributors to the game and were putting a large amount of their sets away. Saturday night we played the nationally ranked University of Hawaii. They were a very tough team and everything was working for them which showed in the result of the match where they beat us in three straight games. We could have battled more and played tougher at times but they were a good team. This weekend, as I have said, we are traveling up north to face Davis and Pacific. These are both good teams that like to play well in their home gyms. Hopefully we will be able to come in and prove that these teams can be beaten in their own gyms!

Until next time,

Britton

October 4

Well Gauchos, this past weekend we traveled north to face Cal Poly and came home with a win!  This was a very good win for us and was our first win in conference.  I think that after this game we are ready to become a threat in the Big West conference.  This coming week and weekend we have three tough matches.  On Wednesday we face Pepperdine, which will be our first home game of the season.  Then the weekend brings us challenging Northridge and Hawaii teams.  We are all excited and ready to show these three teams what we've got!

This week for my blog, I have decided to walk you through an average day that I have here at UCSB.  My whole day starts off with an early wake-up call at 7 am.  After I have my yogurt and bar for breakfast (the cafeteria doesn't open until 7:15 so we have breakfast in our rooms), I walk down to my bike - which I always think is going to be gone for some reason - and ride to the Thunderdome. 

Once I get to the Thunderdome at around 7:15ish, I go back to see our trainer Leroy and get my ankle taped.  I then go back out and get ready to go at 7:35ish.  Practice starts at 7:45 and we usually will end between 9:45 and 10.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I have a class that starts at 10 so I get out of the gym as fast as possible and ride on over to the IV Theater for my Dance 45 class.  After learning about movements, rhythms, and relationships between dance and the world for an hour and 15 minutes, I leave the theater and am onto my next class. 

Nutrition comes next at 12, so usually in-between the two, Taylor [Formico, freshman libero] and I go and find a snack and get on our way.  This class only lasts for 50 minutes and once it's finished, I am done with classes for the day! Right when nutrition is over I ride my bike back to my dorm as fast as I possibly can, considering I have yet to shower and need to get out of my sweaty clothes and get clean before people start noticing how bad I smell. 

When showering is done, it means it's lunch time.  The freshmen usually meet up and all go sit together in the cafeteria.  None of us like to sit by ourselves, but I will admit I have had to eat by myself before!  Not too much fun.  Anyways, once we are all full and have had a number of good laughs (because we always seem to do so) we leave.  At this point, since my afternoon is free, I may or may not take a little nap to catch up on sleep.  Then after napping or not napping, I pack up all my books and get on my bike to go over to my second home: study hall.  I personally have to complete 8 hours a week so I guess you could say I am there quite a bit.  I wonder when the check-in desk will know me by my first name?  Hmm.  Usually, I will stay in study hall for 1 to 2 hours. 

After completing my hours for the day, I ride back to my dorm and go to dinner.  There are a number of choices for what to eat for dinner, which is always a good thing because we go in there so much and having the same food over and over again may get a little old.  Dinner ends, which means my day is coming to an end.  I go back to my dorm, get into my pajamas, wash my face, brush my teeth, then hop into bed.  Always, I have to have a TV show playing when I fall asleep, which is good because it means I can stay caught up on my favorite shows from home.  Usually I fall asleep by 10:30 (10 if I'm lucky) then wake up at 7 the next morning and start all over again.

Until next time,

Britton

September 28

Well Gauchos, last weekend was the official start to our conference where we traveled south to play against UCI and Long Beach State.  Unfortunately, we lost both games, which is not what we wanted, but we have been working hard and will hopefully turn things around this weekend when we travel north to play Cal Poly. 

This week, I am going to talk about something a little different though.  I am going to talk about how alike everyone is on the women's volleyball team here at UCSB.  First off, let's talk about our cellular devices.  There are 14 of us on the team and we all have the same phone, except for one of us (and the one dissenter originally did, but she recently lost it).  Everyone is constantly checking their social network apps, even when we are all together.  We all feel the need to be up to date with what is going on socially in our lives.   

Something else that is a common theme on the team is that contrary to belief, we are not very tan people.  Yes we should be, considering the beach is a walking path away and considering we ride our bikes in the sun for most of the day, but no, it looks like we live in Antarctica.  There are very few on the team that are darker than others but that's only because we don't want to lie out in the sun for a couple hours. 

One last thing that is very interesting and some may consider a little weird is that the whole team has an obsession with the TV channel TLC.  That is all we watch, especially while away for tournaments or games.  The channel is on in basically every room.  We love any show that is being aired on the channel.  Whether it's a wedding show where we fantasize over the extravagant dresses or it's a show called Abby and Brittany which is about conjoined twins who take on life as it comes to them.  There is not one show we don't enjoy on that channel.

With all that new information about our team, I bet everyone feels like you know us 100 times better. So if anyone ever comes across a group of tall, untanned girls talking about the latest episode of Abby and Brittany, you have found the UCSB women's volleyball team.

Until next time,

Britton 

September 21

Hello Gauchos!

This past weekend we traveled down south to San Diego, or as we now refer to it as "Heat Stroke City." It was hot all day long: morning, afternoon, and night. The temperature was definitely above 100 degrees at some points.

Anyway, we played in the University of San Diego Tournament against three good teams. Friday night, we got off to a rocky start against Yale. Fortunately we pulled it together and beat them in four games. Unfortunately, during the 4th game I sprained my ankle by landing on a Yale players' foot. Because of that I had to sit out the next day and cheer my teammates on from the sideline. Elizabeth "ZZ" Meddaugh and Jordan Pehanick both stepped up and played very well when they were needed.

The next day, we faced the Bulldogs from Fresno State. We played a tough match and ended up losing in 5 games. It was one of those games that we all looked back on and knew that we could have and should have won.

Later in the day, when the temperature felt like it was 200 degrees, we faced the University of San Diego Toreros. The first game we all seemed like we weren't ready to play and fight, which showed in the game score of 15-25. The second game though, we pulled together and fought like we all know we can, to beat the Toreros 25-21. Unfortunately, USD had a little more than us and beat the Gauchos in 4 games.

Taylor Formico was named to her third all tournament team, which is always much deserved. This wasn't exactly the way we wanted to end preseason, but we know now what to work on and what we need to do to win.

This weekend we head down south again to start conference play against UC Irvine and Long Beach State. We have been preparing all week in our practices and by watching film so we know what to expect when we get there. We should be able to beat those two teams which would be an ideal way to start our conference at 2-0!

Also, the 6 freshman- Jaylen, Ali, Alex, Shauna, Taylor and myself- are finally moving out of our apartments and into the dorms. We are all ready to move on and start the true college experience. Now we just have to make sure we stay away from those cookies and ice cream in the cafeteria.

Until next time,

Britton

September 14

Well it has been a while since my last post, but the team and I were in Oregon and New Mexico, or the "land of enchantment" as the locals refer to it. I don't think any of us agreed to that term.  Before we left for our week of travel, we hosted a tournament here in Santa Barbara, which I'm sure you all know since you're big fans. Anyway, we played three great teams and competed very well.  We ended up beating Idaho and Northeastern and lost to UCLA but took a game off the bruins! Our first tournament at home in a while ended up being a good one.  Sunday, September 2 was Kathy's birthday, which we celebrated with a beautiful volleyball themed cake that a friend had made for her. That next Monday we headed to the airport to start off on our week-long trip.  We got to the airport and we were all excited to go on this adventure.  I got a little too excited and tried to go up the down escalator.  Yes, I almost broke my ankles and took myself out for the week but don't worry I caught myself before I got up too high!

After that little shake up we got on the plane and headed to Denver, where we visited about four times throughout the whole trip.  I think we all knew that airport like the back of our hands by the time we were back in Santa Barbara.  We experienced some rough turbulence on most of our flights, but lucky for us it wasn't "our time" like Kathy had thought.  We landed in Portland and went straight to the hotel and I'm pretty sure we all got a nice, long night's sleep.  The next day we went to Portland State to play against the Vikings and ended up beating them in four. The gym was very hot and had very low ceilings and we had to play with very white, flat volleyballs. Luckily we got used to it and played like we did.  

The next day we traveled to the University of Oregon to face the Ducks. We were able to take a sneak peek into the Oregon arena which we would be playing in.  Fortunately for us, we got to see the sight of the trees that are painted right on the hardwood floor of the court.  This might have thrown us off if we weren't prepared for it.  We put up a good fight against the Ducks but ended up losing in four games.  Thursday came along with a very early morning, which included us driving back to Portland and then getting on another plane to go to New Mexico. But first we couldn't forget to stop by our favorite city of Denver another time.  

Once we got to New Mexico we experienced some weird weather.  It was very hot and then all of a sudden got very windy and then started raining.  We were all glad that we live where we live in Santa Barbara.  Thursday night at dinner, we got to celebrate Kathy's birthday once again by surprising her and singing happy birthday with some waiters and waitresses.

The next day we played our first of three matches in the Lobo Invitational at the University of New Mexico.  We lost a tough match to the University of Portland in five games on Friday night.  The next morning we had to rally together and bounce back to play a very good Georgia Southern team.  We ended up winning in five games. That night we played our final match of the tournament against the home team, the Lobos.  Their gym was full of fans, the band, and cheerleaders, an environment which I love to play in.  We ended up losing a tough match in five because we couldn't close the game.  Leah Sully and Taylor Formico earned a spot on the All-Tournament team, which was much deserved for the both of them.

That next morning we were finally on our way back to good old Santa Barbara.  We said goodbye to the land of enchantment and hello to our favorite city of Denver one more time.  Getting on the plane in Denver that was sending us back to Santa Barbara might have been the best feeling of our lives.  All in all the long week of travel ended being a good one.

Looking to the future, this weekend we have our last tournament of preseason down in San Diego where we will be playing Yale, Fresno State, and the University of San Diego.  We are hoping for the best, which is to win all three games and to get us ready to start playing our conference games in the following week!


Until next time,

Britton

August 30

Hello Gauchos! Let me start off by introducing myself.  My name is Britton Taylor and I am going to be a freshman on the UCSB Women's Volleyball team and the person behind this bulletin.  I'm new at this blog thing so bear with me the first couple of weeks. 

Well, volleyball season is officially under way! The whole team came back from a much needed "summer break" August 8th and jumped right into double days, which were a brutal awakening for us all.  But before I go into preseason training and our first tournament, let me first go through some stories of the summer that the six of us freshman had. 

We all were up here in Santa Barbara by the end of June to start our summer school classes and to go to open gym to make sure that we still had the ability to play volleyball in August.  We all realized that we weren't going to be geography majors here because it took us an hour to get to East beach, which happens to be maybe 10 minutes away.  I know what you are all thinking- the bus must have broken down or gotten a flat tire.  Unfortunately that is not true, we just took the wrong bus.  Freshman problems.  Anyway, being here for the entire summer turned out to be a good thing for the six of us.  During the two months of summer, we all formed a bond and now are all best friends.  We also got to know all the older girls and their personalities which helped to form team chemistry that we will need for a team to be successful in the long run.   

Double days started up and everyone was ready to start a season that we hope to be successful.  During these weeks of hard, long, hot practices, the team got to know each other and the ice baths very well.  As our first tournament was approaching, we were all getting excited to go out and play and kick off the season.  We headed down to LA to play in the LMU tournament.  This tournament had its ups and downs and I would say that it was an overall learning experience, not only for the freshman but for everyone on the team.  We freshman got the taste of what our college volleyball experience was going to be like and also, along with the rest of the team, learned the many things that we have to work on to become the team we want to be.  We ended up beating Iona and LMU and lost to UConn.  All three matches did not show what the UCSB Gauchos are made of.  This was very obvious when we were watching film and not only were our games off and tilted but so was the camera! It's like the camera knew and prepared for us to play the way we did because of how it was positioned.  

With all that said, we are looking forward to this weekend and the weeks to come.  This weekend, we host a tournament and play three great teams: Idaho, Northeastern, and UCLA.  Let's hope we can pull out three Gaucho wins and fix the errors we had last weekend.  I look forward to sharing this season and all the experiences and stories with you all.

Until next time.

-Britton