Off the Court with Kaitlin Kozak

Monday, September 19

This past weekend was our third and final tournament of non-conference play. We won our first tournament at the University of Houston, as well as our home tournament, the Hurricane Invitational, the week after. Our record was 5-0. We knew that our last non-conference competition would probably be our most challenging. The teams at the Orange & Green Challenge included Sacramento State, Michigan State and Louisville who was ranked ninth in the nation. Victories against non-conference and ranked teams are very important because they can help us get into the NCAA playoffs.

Before each match we have a very similar routine. Because we were hosting, we started pre-game at Beverly Hills Café for our meal on Friday. We usually eat four hours before each match; in this case it was at 1:00 pm for a 5:00 pm match. Believe me when I say that we love food! I think the best part of Beverly Hills Café is the rolls (even though we are not allowed to eat more than two). After our pre-game meal we go back to the gym and begin getting ready for our match. Treatment, heating, and stretching take place for about an hour or so. I personally enjoy listening to my ipod to get myself pumped up.

Everyone on the team is extremely fun and unique. To prepare us for the match we usually blast music in the locker room and dance and sing. Although I personally can’t dance, we have a number of exceptionally talented dancers. Two of my teammates also dress up in toilet paper and capes and run around the court before the match. If that doesn’t get us pumped up then I don’t know what would. After the dancing takes place, we have one hour to warm-up. This includes stretching, passing, hitting, and playing some defense.

Unfortunately we lost all three matches this weekend. We played very well in two of the three; however we just couldn’t get the job done. It’s important, though, that we learn from each match and continue to grow as a team. This weekend we have our first ACC conference match against Boston College and University of Maryland. We leave Thursday morning for Boston and play them on Friday night. We then fly to Maryland on Saturday and play them on Sunday afternoon.

Stay tuned for more updates in the next few days!