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December 1, 2008

Senior Brittany Johnson wraps up the season and her career at WSU in this blog.

Hello Cougar friends and family!

As I finished class today, I started to do the same routine that I've been doing for the past four years: rush from class to grab some lunch and head to Bohler to get ready for practice. In the words of the Great B-Lamps (Coach Brian Lamppa), "all of a sudden" I realized that I didn't need to do this anymore. I think it was the first time that it really hit me that I am done. Done with putting in hours upon hours of blood, sweat, and tears (but mostly sweat!) for this program that I have been a part of for the last four years. I guess that I was still on the high of beating my personal home rivals (ASU and U of A) that I hadn't had time to sit down and really think about it. And while I am done with my volleyball career here at WSU, I will NEVER stop being a COUGAR!

It seems like January 2005 was just yesterday. My time here at WSU has flown by so fast (well maybe some of those select 4-hour practices felt more like 20-hour practices, but for the most part it went very quickly). I am definitely going to miss a lot of great things that I have experienced here. For example: fighting off the frat boys to save "our" section at Martin Stadium for the guys' football games. Dance parties in the locker room to help us get pumped up before our games. Me and the rest of the SRs (seniors) reminding the rest of the players that we are (were) SRs. Finishing almost impossible workouts and feeling a sense of accomplishment (most of these involved Willie Jude, but I think Pali earned his spot on this list in the past couple months that he's been here). Demanding that Kimika wipe her eyes after a crazy laugh session with the team. Gosh, there are too many great things to list out here, but I will definitely remember them all.

While my experience here on the volleyball team has been that of many great times and many challenges, I have great pride in knowing that I always worked hard and accomplished many goals. I feel confident that I was able to do what I set out to do when I arrived on this campus. First, I wanted to be a leader and a great representative of myself, my family, and WSU. Second, I was able to achieve great things in the classroom and as a result am graduating with two degrees and have a full-time job in place. Finally, I wanted to leave this program in a better state than it was when I arrived. I believe that I have been a part of a major change with this program and have the utmost confidence in Coach Pali and the rest of the staff and team that it will continue to move in a positive direction.

I want to thank all of the great support that I have received over the years from my teammates, coaches, family, friends, fellow Coug athletes, professors, fans, boosters, and other WSU faculty/staff. I hope you all know that I truly appreciate all that you have done for me.

I hope you have all enjoyed the season! Thank you again. Good luck to my girls for next season....you all better watch out. They're going to be AWESOME!

I will definitely miss this place!

--BJ
GO COUGS!

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December 2, 2008

Junior Jackie Albright's Thanksgiving week blog.

Hey Cougs!

So this weekend was without a doubt one of the best weekends I have experienced since I have been here at WSU! Not only did our Cougar football team win Apple Cup in double overtime by a field goal, we swept the Arizona schools for the first time since anyone on our team has been here. It also happened to be Thanksgiving weekend, which meant no school, families visited, and of course turkey and mounds of other tasty treats.

Apple Cup weekend began when we played UW Friday night and took them to 4 sets, competing close to the best we have all year. The game was intense and absolutely packed with Cougar fans cheering us on. Saturday began early because of the Noon game and crowded Pullman streets, but earlier for the freshmen because they had to save our usual front row seats at the football game. The weather was colder than usual but that didn't stop our team from cheering, or Tillman from cheering for the band, or even BJ from yelling at the players. When the game went into overtime in the last minute of regulation play, the noise was nearly unbearable, the looks on Huskies' faces were priceless, and strangers were hugging us. After the first overtime no one could have been more nervous or intense, but the best part was watching Tillman lead the rushing student section onto the football field once our kicker kicked the winning field goal.

The next week began with no school and early practices. On Thanksgiving Day, my mom and many families went over to Coach's house for a filling Thanksgiving dinner. I think the best dishes were Lamppa's wife Rachel's Snickers salad, Wendy Palileo's turkey, the mashed potatoes, and the yams; I basically enjoyed all the food but that is nothing new. For our pregame meal we had the delicious Thanksgiving leftovers, which must have worked because everyone played amazing! We beat ASU in 4 games and felt great after the match. Our team wanted nothing more than to end on a good note, for future success, for ourselves and the coaches, for all our hard work, for the graduating seniors, and for the fans. So we came out strong against Arizona and took a 2-0 lead. They battled back and took us to a 5th set, but the Cougars prevailed and we took our first weekend sweep. We're all glad to see the seniors leave on such an outstanding note, but we will certainly miss them on and off the court.

-JacJac
GO COUGS!

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November 18, 2008

Senior co-captain Brittany Johnson writes about the win at Oregon State and Nov. 16:

Hello Cougs!
I can't believe that this is the start of my last two weeks as a WSU volleyball player! Seriously, the time has just flown by.

We just got back from a long weekend in Oregon. While Friday night didn't not exactly go our way, we were able to go out with a bang on Sunday and win our five game nail-biter against OSU! It was great to get a Pac-10 win under our belt, and what was even more rewarding is it was the seniors' final road match. Oh and let's not forget that we all got to see our smooth, calm, and collected coach come out of his shell a bit due to his excitement during the OSU match. I've never seen the little man jump so high and smile so big :-D

As a matter of fact, beside the great win, Sunday was filled with some pretty interesting events. We started the day off with a panicked, long-winded announcement from our bus driver that there may be an issue about being able to move the bus and getting us to Corvallis. To make his 10 minute long explanation short, an SUV parked him in and he couldn't move until that car moved. During this time, coach attempted to stay calm and politely tried to understand the situation. However, his cool demeanor did not fool us. We have seen this look and steam coming out of his ears before when he has said "partner up and get on the line" (right before we have to run shuttles). Don't worry though...the situation was highly exaggerated because we were easily able to get out of the spot we were "stuck" in and got to Corvallis on time.

These types of events continued on following the game as well. Because the match went five sets, the game did not end much before 3:15. This only gave us about 2 hours before our flight was to leave from Eugene (which was about 45 minutes from Corvallis), so we couldn't even have a post-game meeting. We had to hurry up and quickly shower and gather our stuff so we could get on the road. Luckily we made it to the airport and through security with 25 minutes to spare before our flight was to start boarding. However, the flight ended up getting delay about an hour. So, our rushing attempt was not even necessary. To top the evening off, when we arrived in Spokane, we found out that our bags did not make the transition in Seattle. So we had to wait at the airport for another hour before heading home to Pullman.

Despite all these crazy events, we enjoyed our win all the way back to Pullman. We knew that we had to do this because come Monday, we would have a new focus and that would be our match against UW. Our team has worked hard all season and we hope that we can carry this win into the remaining 3 home matches. Finishing 3-0 would be a great way for the team to finish the season and an awesome way for the SR's to finish our careers!

I hope everyone has an awesome week. See you all at senior night this Friday!
GO COUGS!
Brittany Johnson

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November 12, 2008

Hey Cougar Fans -

Gosh, remember when the Cougars really looked forward to the trip to the Oregon schools? Playing a pair of unranked teams was always more fun than other trips...plus shopping with no sales tax! Well, that day is gone...the Ducks are ranked No. 8 and the Beavers fell out of the national rankings but still have one of the top players in the nation in Australian Rachel Rourke. So as the team prepares for its final trip of the season, here is another round of players' favorite things, gathered last summer in a questionnaire sent by Asst. Coach TeAna Tramel. Read and enjoy!

Favorite TV show?
Brittany Johnson - America's Best Dance Crew
Amy Small - any show on the Food Network
Stephanie Weishaar, Jackie Albright and Bree Flach - Friends
Emily Rooney and Kimika Rozier - America's Next Top Model
Kelly Hyder - Friends, Nip Tuck, Will & Grace
Cassie Robbins - America's Funniest Home Videos
Faith Hutcherson - Desperate Housewives
Annie Adams - CSI: NY
Renee Bordelon - Grey's Anatomy
Meagan Ganzer - That 70s Show
Breann Nesselhuf - American Idol
Tangerine Wiggs - Gossip Girl

Favorite food? B J - Mexican Smalls - Fettuccine Alfredo Wisey - Cheeseburger and milkshake Rooney - Mashed potatoes Jacks - Carne Asada Kell - Pasta - homemade only! Cassie - Lobster Hutch - Pasta salad Tilly - Buffalo wings Mika - All food ;) Annie - shells and cheese Renee - Sushi Bree - Steak Ganz - pasta with myzithra cheese Nessy - Ice cream Wiggs - Top ramen

That's it for now but check back again for more Cougar VolleyBlogs in the future.

Yours above the net!
Linda Chalich, WSU Athletics Media Relations Asst. Dir.

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November 4, 2008

Last weekend we traveled to California to take on Cal and Stanford. Friday night we played Cal and took them to 4 games. Although we were disappointed in the loss, we competed and played hard. Our next game wasn't until Sunday, so on Saturday we went on a tour of the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.

Sadly it poured rain the whole day, but it made Alcatraz feel more creepy. We took a boat from San Francisco across the bay to Alcatraz Island, walked up the dock and went into one of the buildings to watch an introduction video that explained the history of the prison. After the video we went to the cell house and got headphones and a walkman type thing that was the tour guide. As you listened to it, it would guide you around the prison telling you facts and historical events about Alcatraz. It was really exciting to walk through the halls and look into the cells that actual prisoners once stayed in. We were allowed to go into `Solitary Confinement' which had two doors and no windows. They said that sometimes prisoners would stay in there for weeks. Compared to running shuttles, it doesn't sound too bad.

After the tour we went back to the hotel, watched some film on Stanford and then the players who had family come were able to go off and spend time with them. For the rest of us, we went to dinner down at one of the piers and ate at a seafood restaurant then walked around the pier for a little bit. On Sunday we played Stanford and we started out a little shaky but finished strong. After the game we got dinner then began what seemed like the longest trip back to Pullman, finally getting home around 2 a.m.

GO COUGS!
Amy Small

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October 29, 2008

This week it's Cougar co-captain Emily Rooney's turn to blog, including her reply to the previous blog from Jackie Albright and Brittany Johnson:

First of all, we need to get one thing straight; Weezy and I are GREAT SINGERS! Matter of fact, we are going to release an album so Jac Jac and BJ, you two can just get used to it! :)

Although the first half of the Pac-10 season hasn't gone according to our hopes, we have been told that we are looking better and better as the season goes on as far as playing together as a team and improving from last year. I wasn't here last year, so I don't know how the team exactly was last year, but I do often think about where I was last year.

Two weeks ago I had the awesome chance to have 2 of my teammates from last year come visit Tina (volleyball operations director) and me for a great weekend. Mackenzie Osadchuk and Amy Anderson made the trip out to Pullman, which they loved by the way, to spend time with us and the Cougar girls. They didn't want to leave, they LOVED my new team. I really miss them and some other things about South Dakota State Universtiy too:

1. The parking, I could park rockstar in front of the gym for practice every day! (I definitely don't miss the fact that there is already snow on the ground in South Dakota!)

2. WALMART, open 24 hours a day I could get food or necessities anytime I wanted.

3. Winning. It is very hard to go from a winning team to not winning a single conference match yet. I am trying to stay positive and so is the rest of my team, but it is pretty disheartening working our tails off all week to get beat on the weekends. This is an adaptation I've had to make, how to stay positive and keep working hard even though we aren't winning. I respect my team and I am so proud of us for all the hard work we do even though we aren't getting the credit since we are not coming out with victories.

As this last half of my senior season rolls around, I want to be able to say that we play our hearts out every single point of every set of every match and hopefully our hard work will pay off and we can come back to Pullman with some WINS! :)

As ALWAYS, GO COUGS!
Rooney

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October 23, 2008

Blog from the back of the bus...(by 2 of the 3 captains, Brittany Johnson and Jackie Albright).

In celebration of Coach's 75th birthday [editorial note here: Coach Palileo did have a birthday Oct. 23, and while there are days that he may feel 75 years old, he is actually much younger] we decided to decorate his office with pink streamers, little soldier boys, balloons, the remains of the hole punch tray, and stickers on his computer chair and keyboard. He thanked us graciously at a "short" Pali practice before leaving for Seattle.

Our trip began when we found out that only three of us were allowed to sleep on the five and a half hour bus ride: Rooney, Jac, and BJ. Coach has high academic expectations of us, and anyone who fell below his standards were nicely informed that this time should be used to focus on studying. We took part in a nice Hawaiian birthday dinner that Coach's wife Wendy made for us. Hyder joked that Wendy should take Palileo's place on the bus and he could stay home with the kids. After the first hour of studying, five players disputed their cases with Judge Palileo and three (Weezy, Faith, and Smalls) were found not guilty of academic neglect of the first degree, the other two returned to their doubled-up seats of confinement.

As we were enjoying our sleepy-time in the back of the bus we were surprised to hear a voice coming from the ceiling. At first we thought it was God's voice until we realized the voice had an accent and was telling all of the N.S.ers(non-sleepers) to get back to studying. The back of the bus (the sleepers) looked up to the front and saw the study habits of our teammates. Tilly had her legs touching the ceiling vertically in the air. Cassie was watching Dream Girls "for class." Bree turned to ask us if homesickness was a word. Even Kerri, our trainer, was reading with her eyes closed. But everyone lost focus when Palileo took Hyder's "notes," which turned out to be a love letter. If this is only the first two hours of the trip, you can only imagine what the next thirty will be like. And although this bus ride will be a long one, at least no one has to worry about Ganzer forgetting her ID and not getting through airport security.

Sincerely,
The Back of the Bus

P.S. Jac and BJ seriously hope Rooney and Weezer lose their voices before we get to Seattle because their singing is horrendous.

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October 7, 2008

Hey Cougar Volleyball Fans -

While the WSU volleyball team prepares for another weekend of battling nationally-ranked Pac-10 teams, I will take this time to share a couple of the players' likes and dislikes, gathered last summer in a questionnaire sent by Asst. Coach TeAna Tramel.

The shoes or no shoes decision can tell you a lot about these players!

Shoes -
Brittany Johnson
Kelly Hyder
Cassie Robbins
Brittany Tillman
Annie Adams
Bree Flach

No shoes - Stephanie Weishaar Emily Rooney Faith Hutcherson Kimika Rozier Meagan Ganzer Breann Nesselhuf Tangerine Wiggs Coach Palileo

Amy Small and Renee Bordelon both answered flip flops (year-round) while Jackie Albright said sandals

Favorite snack? B J - Strawberry CheeseQuake Blizzard at DQ Smalls - Twizzlers Wisey - Chocolate chip cookies Rooney - Cheez-Its Jacks - Raisinets Kell - Cookies...chocolate Cassie - Chips and salsa Hutch - Cheez-Its Tilly - Nutter Butters...no, ICE CREAM! Mika - Mint chocolate chip ice cream Annie - Cheez-Its Renee - Starbucks Bree - Trail mix Ganz - Soy beans Nessy - Oreos Wiggs - Taco Bell

That's it for now but check back again for more Cougar VolleyBlogs in the future.

Yours above the net!
Linda Chalich, WSU Athletics Media Relations Asst. Dir.

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September 24, 2008

Cougar Volleyball Fans!

Have you have been able to watch Cougar volleyball in Bohler Gym this season? Sure hope so. Lots of new faces and lots of exciting action. The team is on a three-match win streak and heading down to the desert to take on a young and talented Arizona team and then it will be the meeting of the first-year Pac-10 coaches as our Andrew Palileo leads the Cougs against Arizona State and first-year coach Jason Watson. How many five-set matches have the Cougs and Sun Devils played? Ten with the first one in 1989 but don't wish for one (even though WSU is 3-0 in five-set matches this season) because ASU won 8 of those 10 matches. Remember the WSU at ASU match is on Fox Sports Network nationally at 3 p.m. PT but will not be televised in the Northwest until Monday night at 8 p.m. due to the WSU vs. Oregon football game which kicks-off at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27.

The Alumnae Weekend was a really fun one with a great group of players from nearly every decade in the past 32 years represented. There was a nice pre-game and post-game reception Friday night for alumnae, friends and family in the upper concourse at Bohler Gym. The alums in attendance were introduced pregame and gave the 2008 Cougars a good start toward the 3-0 win over Utah Valley.

Several opted not to play but the alumnae who did play Saturday morning had a great time. And is usual, there were plenty of laughs to go around. Debbie McGill Krebs (1977-79) showed everyone that Cougar volleyball players don't get older, they get better. She is training to run a 50-mile endurance race and her fitness level was an inspiration to all. Shannon Wyckoff Hunt (1994-97) was very impressive on the court and said she stays in shape playing against the high school team she coaches. Shannon watched Kelly Hyder break her school record for career digs Friday night but Shannon was quick to point out she was an outside hitter and not a libero! Shannon's two sons were enjoying every corner of the gym. Samantha Spink Ramsey (1997-98) snuck in the door with her youngest son in a front pack.

Trina Kightlinger Anderson (1999-2000) had her 8-month old twins at the gym being passed between husband Eric and his family. Elis Arias (1994-97) also had her two youngsters in attendance with husband and brother-in-law keeping them corralled. Holly Harris Rohrbacher (1999-02) and husband Davi left their toddler William with grandparents but were joined by Adrian Hankoff (1999-02) and her fiancé Dave Paschal who traveled from Reno, and the always delightful Zanda Bautre (2000-03) who traveled from Los Angeles. Holly had just returned from a trip to Paris and Milan with her mother Denise. And speaking of traveling, Kali Surplus Gesser (2000-01) barely made it back from a week in Rome to play Saturday morning. Her hubby Jason was there to watch for a few minutes before he went to Martin Stadium to be on the Fox Sports telecast of the Cougar-Portland State football game. Kim Kleven (1995-98) was happily introducing her fiancé Kalyan Krishnaswamy and had recently returned from India. Stacy Holbrook (2003-04) traveled up from Arizona where she is completing her nurse's degree. Jen Barcus (2003-05) looked great on the court, guess selling exercise equipment keeps here in playing shape.

Thrilled to see our 1996 All-American setter Stephanie Papke in attendance but sadly she was not able to play due to her battle with a rare bone disease, Melorheostosis. Though active in her coffee shops business, real estate and still coaching, Stephanie tells her story at www.melofund.com and has put together a fundraising competition at www.firstgiving.com/wsucougars. Check it out.

Needless-to-say, all the alumnae had a great time playing and catching up with former WSU administrator Marcia Saneholtz, current Sr. Assoc. AD Pam Bradetich, and long-time boosters Bill and Faye Seehafer. And they really enjoyed their time with Coach Palileo and his staff and loved meeting the current players. Kudos to Cougar Asst. coach TeAna Tramel for organizing the weekend. Sure it won't be the last.

If you want to see pics of the Alumnae Weekend, go to: GALLERY

Yours above the net!
Linda Chalich, WSU Athletics Media Relations Asst. Dir.

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September 14, 2008

Hey Cougar Volleyball Fans!

My name is Emily Rooney and although it's my first year playing for the Cougs I am a senior this year. I transferred from South Dakota State University with Coach Palileo this summer, and I love it here. Playing in Bohler this past week was my first time playing in front of Cougar fans as a Cougar, however last year I came and played in the Baden Cougar Challenge as a SDSU Jackrabbit! I can't say enough about how much I love playing in front of the home fans, our Cougar Superfans are amazing! Thanks so much for welcoming me here to WSU!

This week was a tough week for us beginning with a late night "running" practice. Our bodies were sore throughout the week. Wednesday's game against Gonzaga started off not so hot, but our toughness showed through when we came back and won in 5 sets. Then Friday night's game against Wichita set us back again, I can only speak for myself, but I was disappointed with our loss. Knowing they were a top 20 team, a victory would have boosted our confidence so much! Coming back Saturday and beating MSU pretty bad left us with some confidence going into the tough game against Northwestern on Saturday night. The Northwestern game was the best match we've played so far this season, they were a very solid team and we beat them in three sets proving to ourselves we can play together and accomplish what we need to!

I am very happy for Renee and Hyder to be honored with All-Tourney accolades, but I also think Cassie, Tilly, Jackie and BJ did an awesome job this weekend and should be recognized...GOOD JOB GIRLS :)

Thanks again for welcoming me to WSU as a Cougar...I LOVE IT HERE!

See you all Friday when we beat Utah Valley University!!

GO COUGS!

-Rooney

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September 2, 2008

Hey Cougs!

This is Jackie Albright, I'm an outside hitter for the Cougar Volleyball Team and hopefully this blog will bring you closer to our team. We just returned from Boise, Idaho for the Boise State Bronco Invitational Tournament. We played three teams in two days, had two really long bus rides, ate some great food, and encountered some serious college football fans.

Our trip started after practice on Thursday night, and lasted five and a half hours! We had a walk through the next morning and then the coaches surprised us with a trip to the Cheesecake Factory. It was really nice to eat in the restaurant, especially because it was Renee's birthday and the waitress brought her a delicious ice cream and fudge dessert.

Our first match was against Cal State Northridge, which was a good challenging match to start our season off. We won in five sets and laid a good foundation for this coming year. After the Northridge match we ate at Old Chicago where many of the players' families came along. I was fortunate enough to spend some time at dinner with my mom and grandma, which is always great especially on road trips.

The next morning began with an early match against Seattle University, which we took in five sets as well. One of the shocking things of the weekend happened on the way to our last match, against Boise State. We drove by the football stadium after eating at Fridays and I can safely say we were ALL amazed at what we saw. There were blue and orange Bronco pop-up tents around every square foot of their stadium. Some fans were watching plasma TVs in their cars or camping out and barbequing, some were throwing footballs and chanting, but absolutely every fan was decked out in football gear. It took us longer than usual to get to the gym, but once we did, we had the usual warm-up routine and took care of business in four games against the Broncos to take the tournament. We had one more surprise from Coach before we headed home and that was a trip to McDonalds. It was a great weekend full of fun, bonding, eating, family, and WINS but I was happy to get back to Pullman, the home of the COUGS!

As always GO COUGS
Jackie Albright #2

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August 25, 2008

Today's edition of the VolleyBlog is presented by co-captain Brittany Johnson. Later this week, look for another blog with explanations about the new rules for college volleyball this season.

Hello Cougar Volleyball Fans!

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Brittany Johnson. I am an outside hitter from Phoenix, Arizona. This is the start of my senior season and final semester as a college student. I am a little nervous because this is my first blog, but I'm glad that I get a chance to share with you all about some really exciting things that are happening within Cougar Volleyball!

Our team has just completed our two-week fall camp. Although it was VERY physically and mentally draining, it was also a lot of fun and very effective. We were able to learn and apply quite a bit of Coach Palileo's new system and things are really starting to come together. In addition to strengthening our volleyball skills, we have already become pretty close as a team (coaches and players). The coaching staff is a group of amazing people. They are great teachers and very easy to communicate with. The players are GREAT as well!

This is the first year that WSU's volleyball team has had so many players on the team. Some of the returners and I were a little nervous about having 17 players, but so far it is working out great. Coach Palileo has worked with big teams like this in the past and knows how to incorporate every player in practice. Really, the addition of 8 new players to the returning 9 has just added even more funny stories and crazy moments to our experience. If all the laughs we had during fall camp are any indication of what the rest of the season will be like, then we will all have very nice six-pack abs by Christmas!

This week are preparing for our first tournament of the 2008 season. I am very excited and optimistic about this year. I know that all the players and coaches are working really hard to make this a great season. I'm glad that I was able to share a little in-site as to what is going on with Cougar Volleyball. The entire team appreciates all the love and support from our friends, families, and fellow Cougs! Thank you for making this experience so great.

Go Cougs!
BJ

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August 19, 2008

Cougar Volleyball Fans!

Let's check in on the Cougar vball team after their very productive first week; new coaches and new players working up a sweat just walking into their temporary practice gym in PEB 144. So Saturday (Aug. 16), expecting temperatures to reach near 100 degrees, the team, and coaches, were finally able to move back to the newly painted and varnished Bohler Gym - Marcia Saneholtz Court - which is very air conditioned.

I'll let one of the 2008 team captains, Jackie Albright, tell you what happened next: "We had morning practice Saturday, and started about 8:30 a.m. Coach told us it was so early because the football scrimmage was early, but it wasn't, so the team was like, `What?' After about two hours of practice, Coach Palileo brought us over to the dry erase board and he usually flips it over and shows us our rankings for our positions. But Saturday he flipped it around and said, `Okay, this is the weekend schedule.' It said we were going to Spokane, staying at the Red Lion Hotel and everyone just started yelling (with excitement)."

For those of you not familiar with the routines of August practice, usually during preseason two- or three-a-day practice days, the coach will sneak in a break from the printed schedule and that time off is a welcome relief for the players and coaches. This trip to Spokane was a big and welcome shock.

Jackie said, "I think we were working really hard and he surprised us (with the trip). It was a good reward because we weren't expecting it. It came out of nowhere and it surpassed our expectations for anything that we were expecting, like time off. We were ecstatic."

Coach Palileo told me today, "After a week of practices, I thought it was a good time for us to just get away from volleyball for a little bit, get to know each other, relax our minds and mentally get refocused for the second week of practice. I wanted them to have a fresh start and rest their bodies. We did a pool workout and a short practice. The rest of the time was about relaxing and getting to know each other, coaches as well as players, doing things as a group, and enjoying each other outside of volleyball."

And enjoy they did. In addition to having the pool at the Red Lion Hotel during the hottest days of the summer to date, the Cougars also had a team bonding experience over dinner at the Melting Pot (www.meltingpot.com) a four-course fondue restaurant that was a surprise too.

Jackie said, "We didn't know where we were going for dinner until we got in the vans and even then TeAna (assistant coach Tramel) tried to trick us. The van parked outside Red Robin (downtown Spokane) and we were like `Oh, dang it.' But then we went upstairs to the Melting Pot."

Hmmmm, I don't know what young woman aged 18-22 would be disappointed about being in and around a pool at a lovely hotel, some retail therapy (at the Northtown Mall), and a fabulous fondue dinner...this was certainly more than the usual half-day off.

Jackie summed it up well: "I thought it was really cool that the coaches brought their families. It wasn't just a break from practice in the gym, it was a peaceful and relaxing bonding time."

So it's back to the gym and all those associated with Cougar volleyball are working hard. With the release today of the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Div. I Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll, the Cougars know they have their a tough schedule ahead. Six Pac-10 teams ranked in the top 11 nationally. To see the poll, go to www.avca.org/collegiate/DIpoll/dipoll8-19-08.asp.

Yours above the net,
Linda Chalich, WSU Sports Information

August 15, 2008

Welcome Cougar Volleyball Fans!

I hope that you will find this blog to be both informative and entertaining when it comes to the Washington State Cougars women's volleyball team, the teams the Cougars will play in 2008, and the collegiate teams making news nationally. This blog will not replace the weekly release found on wsucougars.com, but will supplement it and will be updated as information comes along that I can share with you.

And who am I, you ask? I'm the WSU Sports Information contact for Cougar volleyball and have been in this position since 1992 so I've seen all lot of great players and great matches both at home in Bohler Gym and on the road. So I can cover a little bit on the historical front as well as let you know what is exciting today with Cougar volleyball.

Let's start with the beginning of the Andrew Palileo era at Wazzu. The 17-member team (largest in my time at WSU) has gone through a week's worth of practice now, and most days they have practiced twice a day. There is a lot to learn with a new offense and new teammates on the court. I've watched the players eagerly drinking in all the information Coach Palileo, and Associate Head Coach Brian Lamppa, and Assistant Coach TeAna Tramel can deliver. One thing is for sure, the goal is for the action on the Cougars' side of the court to move much faster this season.

Unfortunately for the players, coaches, and support personnel from athletic medicine and equipment, they spent the past week practicing in the nearly unbearably hot PEB 144 gym, which is used during the school year as the basketball practice gym. The players grabbed their water bottles and ran into the much cooler hallway during every break from the action. But beginning Saturday, Aug. 16, the team will be back in Bohler Gym - the newly repainted Bohler Gym - for practice. The beautiful graphics and fresh varnish make the gym a showplace for Cougar volleyball. Be sure and look for the graphics identifying the floor as Marcia Saneholtz Court, honoring the long-time WSU Sr. Assoc. AD who retired last fall.

One more bit of information in this first VolleyBlog - the Cougars will no longer play with Baden brand volleyballs. The familiar crimson, gray and white balls have been replaced by Nike balls, which do not come in custom colors at this time. Thus, the volleyballs are royal blue, gray and white...at least they are the colors of hometown Pullman High! The WSU team does not see them as an obstacle to a good season and the fans will get used to them in due time.

As the season goes along, if you have any questions or comments about this blog, contact me at lindak@wsu.edu.

Yours above the net,
Linda Chalich, WSU Athletic Media Relations Asst. Dir.


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