Women's Volleyball Blog: Stephanie Browne

Sept. 30, 2009

This season different members of the 2009 Cardinal Women's Volleyball team will send in their thoughts on the season and how the team is progressing. Check back soon for a new update!

The first week of class (and 'Grey's Anatomy'!) finally started this week! Many people are unaware that our volleyball team arrived for preseason on August 8th, but we did not actually start class until September 21st. This gives us plenty of time to get to know each other and focus entirely on volleyball before campus is infiltrated by 'the Others' (any 'Lost' fans out there?). Our upperclassmen exhibited their academic expertise in advising our freshmen about which professors to take and, of course, which classes to avoid. Now comes the real test when we must balance our athletic obligations with our academic schedules. If you haven't mastered the skill of time management yet, you better do so fast!

With Pac-10 Conference matches beginning last week, we knew practice had to be good--and it was great! Everyone worked hard, improved, and played together. We knew we had a big match (and rivalry) quickly approaching, so we did our best to prepare for it. These preparations included game plans, scouting reports, and informing the freshmen about Cal's rowdy, boisterous crowd.

We left for Cal after practice on Thursday. Everyone was looking forward to the match AND the warm chocolate chip cookies that awaited our arrival at the hotel's front desk--they're complimentary, of course! When we got to the hotel, we initially had some difficulty getting into our rooms as hardly anyone's keys worked. Consequently, we spent some quality time bonding in the hallways and preparing for a certain birthday surprise.

Once we finally got our keys fixed and our stuff situated, we headed to our film session. While we were discussing our game plan, Jan and Jo made a subtle departure. They reappeared a few seconds later with a decadent chocolate cake in honor of Fisher's 22nd birthday. That cake was devoured (and delicious)! Jo even gave us 'party favors': glow sticks. J-Walk and I had a sweet 'Star Wars' light saber battle, which I most definitely won! We even convinced Jay to do his awesome impression of the one and only Yoda. Next time you see him, make sure you ask him to repeat it for you in person, but don't tell him I told you to!

The next day (Friday) we had time to complete some school work before the pre-game preparations began. In Denise's room, some of us had treatment with our fabulous trainer Eitan, while others stopped by to hang or grab a snack. Denise was rocking out to some 1960's music on her laptop and we had a good time (poorly) guessing who sang which song. All the songs were familiar, but the group names were not. After that, we packed up all our stuff and had a delicious pregame meal of pasta, broccoli, spinach, bread, chicken, salad, and more by the hotel pool. While the smell of chlorine was quite overwhelming, nothing could diminish our appetites! Soon after, we left the hotel to head to Cal.

When we first arrived at Cal, we headed to our locker room and, oh my goodness, was it hot ('That's what she said' Office fans)! We hadn't even started warming up yet and already we were sweating. There was no AC and it happened to be one of the hottest days of the year--coincidence or sabotage? Before long, the starting lineup was announced, the pavilion was packed, and the match was upon us. We were so happy when we re-emerged from the locker room to see the Stanford Band, Dollies, and Tree there to support us along with all our other fans.

It was a long, hard-fought match and I really believed that we were going to come out on top. We took the first set, Cal took the second, we took the third, Cal took the fourth, and when it came down to the fifth and final set, Cal was victorious...this time. Although the final score was not what we wanted, we certainly improved from last week. Both teams played well and we look forward to seeing them again...IN OUR HOUSE.

At least there was one Stanford victory that night: the victory of the Stanford Band! As I departed from the pavilion, I saw a battle of the bands like no other. A huge crowd had gathered around the Cal and Stanford bands as they competed for pride and glory, but we all know that really no band can match our own.

The rest of the weekend we had off! The coaches know how hard we have been working and how using our time effectively this weekend will make traveling and playing easier for the rest of the quarter. Luckily, I live close enough where I was able to go home for the weekend--excellent food, unbeatable hospitality (and laundry service--thanks, Mom!). There's no cooking like Mom's cooking! I'll came back to Stanford with a special Browne Family treat for my team: triple-chocolate brownies! I have lived in six places and no matter where my family goes, they are always a hit!

Class and practice resumed Monday. We know we have another tough weekend ahead of us--and on the road. There is no easy weekend in the Pac-10, but we're doing everything we can to be successful.

Thanks for all your support and we hope to see you soon!


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