March 9, 2012
CHICAGO - After a tough weekend against IPFW and conference rival Ohio State, we knew we had to get back on track and refocus as a team. It was back to the basics in practice, working on individual skills and fine tuning every element of our game. Every guy in the gym was working hard and pushing their opponent on the other side of the net to the best of his ability. As the week progressed, we could see a new sense of urgency and togetherness that may have been hindered in the weekend prior. We were confident after this great week of practice and ready to defend our home court when the Quincy Hawks came into town for a weekend doubleheader. As Friday rolled around we were anxious to get back on the court and prove ourselves once again. After a sweep of the Hawks on Friday night, we were back on track. We rallied together as a team and took care of business. That night it was back to the house for some relaxation and a quick recap of the game. Coming back out the second night against the Hawks we were familiar with their game plan and were able to execute the same way we did the night before. Another 3-0 victory over the Hawks was just what we needed. With two consecutive W's we were on the upward swing heading into a big trip to California.
Alarm sounds. 5:30 a.m. Time to roll out of bed to catch the team bus to O'Hare for the Spring Break trip to California. I gathered my gear and headed to the Norville Center to meet with the rest of the team. We were scheduled for a 6:00 a.m. pick up. 6:10...6:20...6:30 rolls around. No sign of the bus. Plan B: hop in cabs. Luckily, we still arrived at O'Hare in plenty of time to catch our flight. Some guys fall asleep immediately (Steve Thompson). Some read and listen to music, some watch movies, and others just relax. Dainis Berzins is notorious for being the movie guy, always having one or two on hand. We arrive 11:30 a.m. at LAX and are off to the Jasaitis', Mirick's and the Becker's where all of us will be staying for the remainder of the trip. The feeling of staying at an actual house is a very nice change on the road. There are parents there to greet you on your way out in the morning and there when you arrive back home. You receive amazing home-cooked meals and constant hospitality. Staying in Manhattan Beach is an awesome experience. 70 degree weather, a quick walk to the beach, and one-of-a-kind scenery.
Tuesday it's right back to work with practice at Clippers Court at the Spectrum Athletic Club followed by a quick workout. Seeing that most of us do not get a chance to workout at this facility regularly, we like to take advantage of the added amenities such as the steam room and sauna to top off the day's work. After a film session and a great dinner at the Becker house, it was time to call it a night. Wednesday is game day and we head out to Riverside for our match against Cal Baptist. We make a stop at the Anaheim Hills Golf Course where Torey Darin's aunt treats us to a great pregame meal. It is now time to focus and get ready to face the Lancers.
After dropping the first two games, we have to regroup and come out with more intensity. We rallied and took the next two games forcing a fifth to break the tie. Trading points throughout, we knew the fifth game was going to come down to the last few points. After a great rally and a monster kill from Dainis Berzins we trailed 14-13. After another rally full of digs and amazing plays, the ball hits the floor on our side. Despite the loss, we showed resilience and fought tough the entire match, signs of a team capable of great things in the future.
We have one more match against Cal State Northridge and then it's back home to Chicago!