Greetings from the second seat behind the bus driver!
We are headed southwest from Princeton to Fairfax to take on GMU tonight. I apologize for the absence of my updates over the past three weeks. I wish I could claim jet lag but even I have recovered from our spring break trip. So allow me to update you on our team's last three weeks.
Our Spring Break trip to Pepperdine and USC was a disappointment results-wise. We lost a tough five game match at Pepperdine where we suffered through our worst serving match in a long time. If any part of your game is off against a Marv Dunphy Waves team it'll cost you. It certainly did us; however, when you look at the fact that in game five we were down 8-10 I thought we certainly had the opportunity to win it. However, the next night against USC we went down in flames as the Trojans swept us. Our offense was not very good. We were creating scoring opportunities but couldn't make enough count against a tough Trojan block and defense. The more opportunities we created the more we pressed to score and the worst our offense became. We came away from those two matches convinced that we could serve and pass with anyone but our transition game needed work.
It was great to see Marv Dunphy and his Pepperdine staff and Bill Ferguson and his USC staff. The coaching fraternity in the men's game is awesome. We all want to win badly but after that final point goes down there is such respect and genuine friendship which puts the competition into a very healthy realm!
We flew back to State College on Saturday, March 10 so not only did we lose the three hours coming back east but we also lost another hour due to Daylight Savings Time change. At 51, I am finding those lost hours take a toll on me more so than they did ten to fifteen years ago. I need those hours!
The next weekend we travelled up the mountain to Loretto, PA to Saint Francis University. This match completed our first half of the EIVA schedule. SFU was proving to be a very good blocking team and I was hoping we would be recovered from the west coast trip. We ended up sweeping them and did it with good serving and defense. Our work in our transition game paid off handsomely as we were getting some outstanding swings in point scoring opportunities. We had successfully navigated the first half of the EIVA season with a 7-0 record.
We then took to the road again. Last weekend we headed out to Newark, NJ to take on NJIT and Rutgers-Newark. We defeated NJIT in four games but they have shown improvement since we last saw them at Rec Hall in early February. It was the first time many of our guys have played in their gym. It is a smaller gym with ceiling trusses that run parallel to the net. So there are areas above your court where care must be taken to keep a ball under control. But we took care of the Highlanders and headed to Tops Diner. Tops was introduced to us by long-time friend Ron Larsen when he coached Rutgers-Newark. It has been a regular stop for a number of years now.
The next day we faced Rutgers-Newark. They had a coaching change late in the summer and had only eight guys on the roster. After their spring break they were down to seven as one of the guys had been hit by a car while home for the break. We played well enough to get the win and we headed back to State College.
We seem to be stuck in a mid-season slump. Not a terrible slump but one that shows sign of fatigue. Don't get me wrong. We are getting very good effort from this team but we aren't quite executing with deadly precision. We will keep working on that and I'll not throw in a 3 week delay on the updates again this year!
All the best,
Pav, Colin, Jay and the guys