K & T Volleyblog

Welcome to the first week of a new feature on the Spartan volleyball page. Seniors Kristal Tsukano and Thao Pham will give you insight into the Spartan volleyball team and what the team is doing. Check back often to see what the Spartans are doing!

Hey Spartan fans!

So the start of our WAC season is right around the corner and up until now, we've done a whole lot. From camping to our last preseason tournament, we've had a lot of team bonding and lessons learned.

Our first bonding trip was to Synergy Learning Systems and Sanborn County Park, where we did a ropes course and then camped for the night. The ropes course was both challenging and fun, two things that our team loves. While we were at the ropes course, we did three events, the Giant's Ladder, the Balance Pole, and the Spider's Web. The Giant's Ladder was fun, but we all ended up with bruises here and there. We had to partner up and climb as high as we could within the given amount of time, which meant being pulled up by our straps for us shorter people...thank goodness we're a volleyball team with six-footers because that allowed us to meet and beat our goal. I think that the Balance Pole was our team's biggest challenge. It was a 30-foot pole that was probably 7 to 8 inches in diameter that we had to climb up and balance on the top. A fear of heights was definitely something that individuals had to over come as they climbed up and jumped off in their best volleyball style, hitting a ball that was hanging nearby. Ultimately, everyone climbed up, balanced, and jumped, although fighting screams and tears echoed in the forest. The Spider's Web was the true team task because it involved everyone at once. People had to be passed in and out of ropes that made a web-like structure, although only one person was allowed to pass through a hole; this was one rule among many others. This task was where the leaders and followers were exposed, and a lesson was learned. In order to lead, you also must be able to follow and listen, so that you may better know those that you lead; this was the observation that I made and shared with my teammates, so that we can all become leaders, but also know when it's our time to follow.

So if this experience didn't already seem long enough, we still had camp to set up at Sanborn County Park. We had two large vans and an Expedition full of girls, sleeping bags, tents, and food. We unloaded and were told that we had campsites 30, 31, and 32. We started our walk to the campsites, while the coaches parked the vans. Lets just say that this "walk" turned into the hardest workout we had since we started, probably even harder than double days. Our campsites just so happened to be the farthest campsite, uphill, that the park had. So everyone, with camping supplies in hand, made the journey up the mountain. 16 girls seems like more than enough hands to get the job done, but if we had just 4, even 3, wheels to help us push this stuff up that mountain, life would have been way easier. Every person had their own duffle bag and sleeping bag, some people had coolers, some people had tents, some people had grills, and some people had cases of water. To make the journey even more interesting, we had not eaten since a couple hours before the ropes course, so there were 16 starving, bruised, and tired girls trekking up the mountain with a whole bunch of stuff. To say the least, we made it up to our campsites, wanted to pass out, but had to immediately start setting up the tents and cooking dinner because it was getting dark and we had one lantern. The lesson learned here...there's no such thing as a day off for an athlete.

After our team-bonding weekend, it was back to the easy stuff, volleyball. We started off our preseason with an alumni match, which was played in good spirits and a sense of homecoming for the former players that got the opportunity to play at their alma mater again. Then we were off to Seattle to play in the Seattle/Washington Invitational to face #4 in the country, Washington. It was definitely exciting, even for me, as a senior. We have also played in the Annual Bank of Stockton Classic at UOP, where we faced #11 in the country, Stanford, and in the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic at Cal, where we played Cal, #13. Lets just say we went big this preseason because playing the best, helps make the best.

We have one more preseason tournament down in San Diego, this upcoming weekend, and then WAC. Being the young team that we are, we've definitely taken in all of our experiences in the past three weeks and have aged a bit with our lessons learned. Team bonding happens everyday as we learn more about each other and grow as a team. With WAC coming up, I couldn't be more excited because of the great experiences we've shared so far.

Go Spartans!

Hello there Spartan Volleyball Fans,

This is Thao Pham and I'm a senior from San Jose, California. The past three weeks we've been in Seattle, Stockton, and Berkeley for tournaments. We've all been super pumped to play all the top schools in the nation, from Washington, Stanford, to Cal. Although we've had some injuries early in the season, our team has stuck with each other pretty well. Traveling has been so much fun with everyone. Seattle was such a fun place to be in, the weather was nice, not cold at all. For lunch one day we ate at a random sandwich place that was really good. This was the only trip so far that where we flew. The last two trips to Stockton and Berkeley, we drove the big vans from school. We usually leave early in the morning and get there in time to have a practice before our match, or before we check in to our hotel. We only stayed for one night and drove home the next day, which I really like, because I love sleeping in my own bed! In Berkeley, we had a little time to walk around the school to grab dinner before we had to scout. So we split up in groups of threes or more to wonder around searching for food. Some of us ate pizza, while others of us had Chipotle. I personally had Thai food. It was delicious! Now, this weekend we will be heading down to San Diego for our last preseason tournament before WAC play starts on the 24th of September when we play against Idaho! Stay tune for next week's updates, until then, GO SPARTANS!

T. Pham