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December 7, 2009

Hey Cougar volleyball fans!

The team is back in Pullman after the first NCAA Tournament trip in seven years. The players have to quickly get back into the swing of things after missing classes last week while in Nebraska. This is the last week of classes and finals are next week. Yikes! The semester flies by when you have a winning volleyball team :-)

As you all know by now, the Cougars fell to Northern Iowa Friday night in the NCAA First Round match. It was a close first set but the purple and gold Panthers extended their winning streak to 29-matches. But they fell the next day to Nebraska. Only two Pac-10 teams have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 - California and Stanford (and Stanford needed a 15-13 fifth-set score to beat St. Mary's to advance).

Coach Palileo was joined by Renee Bordelon and Rachel Todorovich in the post-match interviews and all did a super job of reiterating their disappointment in losing the first round match but how great the season had been for the Cougars. The senior and the freshman players represented the team very well. And the Pac-10 Coach of the Year is always a good quote-giver.

Many of the players had family and friends at the match so they all headed out to dinner with them Friday night. There were two sets of travel plans to return to Pullman that depended on the outcome of the Friday match. Coach Lamppa departed very, very early Saturday morning from Lincoln to be with his wife Rachel who is expecting their third child. The rest of the team left Lincoln Saturday afternoon and flew out of Omaha that night. There was a stop at a PF Chang's restaurant in Omaha before the flight and this was a great meal, with superb service. The management thought we waited too long for our food (10 minutes??) so they delivered plates and plates of dessert before we headed back to the bus for the airport.

The flights home were uneventful - Omaha to Salt Lake City and then just enough time to walk to the next gate in another terminal wing, and board the plane for Spokane. Oceana's mom was at the baggage claim area with a bottle of water (decorated with red ribbons) for everyone for the bus ride to Pullman. She was so cheerful and it was great to see a real "fan" who appreciated what the WSU volleyball team had accomplished.

So the players are finishing classes and will return to weight room workouts in the Cougar Mania Strength and Conditioning Center next semester. There will be a couple of spring tournaments held here in Bohler Gym, and the team banquet will be held in April. In the meantime, here are some of the things to remember about the 2009 season:

First trip to NCAA Championship Tournament in 7 years.
First winning season since 2002.
Most Pac-10 wins (6) since 2002.
First win over a ranked Pac-10 school since 2002 (No. 18 Arizona).
Andrew Palileo named Pac-10 Coach of the Year
Senior Kelly Hyder ends her 4-year career with a school-record 1,773 digs.
Senior Renee Bordelon ends her 2-year career with 2,093 assists, sixth-best on WSU all-time standings.
Senior Jackie Albright ends her 4-year career with 998 digs, eighth-best on the WSU career digs list.
Senior Cassie Robbins ends her 4-year career with 49 solo, 299 block assists and 348 total blocks, all 10th on WSU career standings.
Freshman Oceana Bush tallied 531 digs this season, second-best in WSU's single season standings.

Pretty good stuff for the Cougs.

Go Cougs!
Linda Chalich
WSU Sports Information Volleyball contact

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December 4, 2009

Hey Cougar volleyball fans!

It is game day for the Cougars. The NCAA First Round match against No. 20 Northern Iowa is just hours away. I am writing from the team's scheduled 60-minute closed practice this morning (10-11 a.m.). We arrived at the NU Coliseum at 9 a.m. for Kerry Gustafson, the WSU certified athletic trainer, to get all the players ready for the practice.

Let me digress. Thursday was a good day. Most everyone was more acclimated to the Central Time Zone. After a good night's sleep and a good breakfast at the hotel, the Cougars went to study table in a hotel conference room for a few hours. They ate their delivered lunches while watching game tapes of the UNI Panthers and then it was to the Coliseum for the 90-minute open practice. A former Coug, Bree Flach, came and surprised us at practice. Bree was a freshman libero last year from Shabbona, Illinois, who had to give up her volleyball career due to very painful back problems. She already had one surgery and is scheduled for another this month. The team was happy to see her and she had a long drive to get to Lincoln. The saying, "Once a Coug, always a Coug" proves true once again.

Another visitor to practice was Coach Palileo's brother, Arthur and his family from Minneapolis. Coach P calls him his twin brother but Arthur is older. There is no mistaking they are brothers! They brought a wonderful cake for the team that said to, "Leave it all on the court" today. Good advice indeed.

We had our only not-great experience of the trip so far at dinner Thursday night. Although we are a large group we went to a spaghetti warehouse restaurant quite close to our hotel that said in advance they could accommodate us and seated us at many smaller tables. But most of our group waited for nearly 90 minutes to get food. Because there was a salad bar with the meals, the players did not starve to death in their seats and really handled the disappointing service very well.

More Cougar fans are arriving hourly. Several parents came yesterday as well as WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk. We are expecting a good crowd of Cougar fans here for our match today and it will be exciting to see all the Crimson when we play a purple and gold team (N. Iowa).

One last fun fact. Our team hosts are a retired couple named Les and Lila, long-time Lincoln residents and Nebraska Husker boosters. They have come to both practices and are lovely and gracious people. They chose WSU as their team to host because they hosted Coach Palileo's South Dakota State team during the 2007 first round match.

The players are whooping and hollaring during this practice. Lots of big blocks and big hits bringing out the boisterous nature of the kids. Looking forward to the match this afternoon.

Just a reminder, the WSU-Northern Iowa match can be heard on radio in Pullman (KQQQ 1150 AM) and in Spokane (ESPN The Ticket, 700AM) or online through Cougars All-Access subscription. To view Gametracker of the Cougars match or any other NCAA Tournament match, go to the interactive bracket by clicking HERE.

Go Cougs!
Linda Chalich
WSU Sports Information Volleyball contact

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December 2, 2009

Hey Cougar volleyball fans!

It has been a whirlwind few days. First, ending the season with a win over Oregon State on senior night Nov. 27, was only the end of the regular season for Cougar volleyball. There was a day and a half of wondering are we in or not? Finally the team assembled down at Sella's Restaurant in Pullman for the NCAA Championship Tournament selection show at noon Sunday, Nov. 29. Which meant more waiting because those ESPN selection shows never start on time. About 20 minutes after noon, the Omaha Region bracket flashed up on the screen and there was Washington State. The players hollered and fans in attendance let out a few Whoo-hoos! Northern Iowa is the opponent and Lincoln, Nebraska the destination.

Then time started to fly! The players were all on cell phones to family and friends but soon assembled in Bohler Gym for practice that very afternoon. Assistant coach TeAna Tramel jumped on the phone to start making travel arrangements which stretched into a two-day task.

To skip to the chase, the Cougar players, coaches and administrators boarded a bus at Bohler Athletic Complex Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 11:30 a.m. to head to Spokane, fly to Las Vegas and then on to Omaha. We arrived in Omaha at 11 p.m. and drove to our hotel for the night (sidenote: we drove past the new home for the NCAA baseball College World Series which is being built just down the street from the Quest Center). After some sleep and a good breakfast, the team went by bus to Creighton University for a morning practice in the BlueJay's new volleyball/women's basketball facility (with the very formal name of the Wayne & Eileen Ryan Athletic Center and D.J. Sokol Arena). The WSU coaches know the volleyball coaching staff at Creighton and they were gracious to allow the Cougs to practice in their 3,000-seat arena.

After lunch at a Panera, some very happy vball players and crew - including the Andrew Palileo family - were treated to an afternoon at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. It was a very sunny day, although brisk with the cool temps and wind, but we scurried from one indoor exhibit to another for the afternoon. It is a wonderful zoo full of very well-done exhibits with many animals, reptiles, birds, and butterflies. There was an aquarium where you walk through clear plexiglass and have sharks and turtles swimming overhead. We also went to the IMAX 3D movie called Under the Sea. The oversized glasses were quite the fashion statement but made the movie amazing to watch. (Another sidenote: the Zoo is next door to Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, the current home of the College World Series. When the CWS moves to the new stadium, the Zoo will expand on that land.)

After busing to Lincoln and checking into the hotel downtown, the team headed for dinner and then studied for a while. Some of us rallied to a downtown restaurant and watched the Cougar-Gonzaga men's basketball game.

Thursday is a big day...some of the players will take tests in the morning proctored by Senior Associate Director of Athletics Pam Bradetich (lucky gals) and then open practice at the NU Coliseum in the afternoon. We're one step closer to the NCAA First Round match...the first one in seven years for WSU.

Good night and don't forget that you can watch the WSU-Northern Iowa match online at www.ncaa.com, and listen to the match on radio in Pullman (KQQQ 1150 AM) and in Spokane (ESPN The Ticket, 700AM) or online through Cougars All-Access subscription.

Go Cougs!
Linda Chalich
WSU Sports Information Volleyball contact

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November 18, 2009

Today started out normal for us players. Some of us had early weights before morning classes, and later others helped hand out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to fellow students for the popular ASWSU PB&J Wednesday on campus. After lunch, the remainder of the team did their weights and we headed back to the locker room to quickly change and head to Bohler for practice. We wanted to hurry because last night as Coach was closing out our meeting he told us to hurry up to the gym after weights today.

However, when we walked in the net wasn't set up and the balls weren't out. There was the first moment of anxiety for some. And Coach was there before us, which almost never happens because we warm up before practice starts, and that worried us a little more. Then when everyone was in the gym he said he had a "different" kind of warm up planned...

Strike three! We knew we were in trouble.

But Coach led us out of the gym and downstairs to the Tom and Barbara Wilson Indoor Rowing Center in Bohler Gym (we learned that WSU is one of only two schools in the nation to have one!) where we met with the rowing Grad Assistant coach Crystal Culp and Intern Karl Huhta for a lesson in a different kind of teamwork.

We went through a quick lesson in technique and series of rowing drills that required us to work as one force (sound familiar?). By the end of the lesson, we knew where coach was going with this "different" warm up. If possible, we grew a little closer as we talked about how the principles of rowing were similar to individual and team responsibilities in volleyball.

Coach ended with a talk with a few housekeeping things, and then to everyone's surprise said, "Ok, see you guys tomorrow."

We couldn't believe it! Just before practice we were ALL talking about how much homework and papers and exams we had this week before break that we didn't know when we were going to take care of it all! We all felt like nerds because instead of practicing we were all going to go home and get down to some school business.

It was a great day for the team though. We learned a new sport, remembered what is so special about team sports in general, what's so important about volleyball, and got a reminder that our goals for this year are much bigger than ourselves. Thanks Pali!

Go Cougs!
Faith Hutchersonl
Junior Defensive specialist





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November 12, 2009

This week's blog comes from WSU Asst. Coach TeAna Tramel, who is handling her volleyball duties and preparing for the births of her first children, twins, hopefully next month.

Hello Coug Fans,

We decided to change up the blog this week. I am going to give you an inside look of what we as coaches really do during the week of a home match! We will start with a typical Monday in the volleyball offices. I start of the day by uploading all of our scouting video for that week's opponent. All of us like watching film differently so Lamppa gets a DVD copy of the matches, Andrew likes his on a zip drive, and I get my on an external hard drive. So once I get all that done, the real work begins! Scouting!! We all watch film separately and put together our own game plans, then meet later in the week to talk about what we have seen and any adjustments we need to make...After a morning of scouting, I, of course, eat lunch!! Hey I am feeding three!! Andrew and Pali usually go workout-you know you have noticed their biceps!!...if you want to see them working out they usually go around 11:30! :-)

After lunch, we usually meet as a staff to discuss practice plans, and any housekeeping items. Okay, here is how a typical meeting for us goes: (don't tell anyone!!) Andrew will start off asking each of us if we have any housekeeping items...Kara usually starts and talks about what she needs to...after she is done, Lamppa and Pali usually give her some dating advice!! Then Andrew will ask Lamppa if he has anything...he usually doesn't...it is quiet funny...so then we usually make fun of Lamppa and get a good laugh out of that...then, finally, Pali gets to me and of course I have like ten things (because I know it makes Lamppa mad!) half the time my stuff is made up just to make Lamppa mad!! But don't tell him that...Once we get the housekeeping/dating/marriage advice done we talk about Practice. We go over what we are going to focus on and then talk about our game plan for that weekend...Then before you know it we hear the players in the gym warming up so it is time to head down to practice!

After practice, we usually meet again to talk about how practice went and what to do for the rest of the week...and more marriage/dating advice is freely offered (by Pali and Lamppa!!).

So all that is really a typical week.

The night before matches we do a meal at Pali's house! Man is his wife Wendy a great cook!! Thanks Wendy for all you do for the Cougs!! We greatly appreciate it!! Friday is finally game day! Game days are pretty hectic...we spend the morning getting ready with video, scouting, and game plans. Then the team comes in around 2 p.m. for a practice. After practice we head to our pregame meal usually at Dupus Boomers, or Banyans (Palouse Ridge Golf Course). I would go into what everyone eats and all that fun stuff, but you will have to get all that fun stuff from the players. But there is usually a lot of laughing at pregame. After pregame, we all head back to the office and relax a bit. Pali usually heads home to shower, and get ready. Lamppa watches film during his down time. I set up video equipment and all that fun stuff. Then, before you know it, the players are up here around 5:30 for their pregame talk. Those are usually funny too...may include some dancing?? But again, I can't spill all the secrets...

One thing new this year is Pali's Chalk Talks....I think it has helped to calm his nerves before matches and lets our season ticket holders and donors have access to our game plans. After the chalk talk Andrew heads to his office to change his shirt and brush his teeth (don't tell anyone I told you that!!) Next thing you know everyone is down on the court ready for the match to begin.

Go Cougs!
TeAna Tramel
Assistant Coach

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November 3, 2009

Hello Cougar Volleyball Fans -

Wow! What a wild time the past two weeks have been for the Cougar volleyball team and fans. The ecstasy of defeating No. 4 Washington in Pullman Oct. 23, was followed by the agony of losing to two teams WSU defeated at the beginning of the month.

First, the Washington match was just spectacular with a great, loud crowd. Many students came too late to grab a good seat so they stood around the top of Bohler, cheering for the Cougs the whole time. It was so rewarding for this team to break the six-year drought and beat the Dawgs. If you don't think Bohler Gym makes an impression on visiting teams, you are wrong. Before the match I spoke with a former UW player who is now coaching and she remembers just how loud the crowds were at Bohler when she had to play here years ago. That kind of home court advantage is really special and we need to continue to pack the gym for the remaining matches.

The matches at Arizona were tough for the Cougs. Two teams looking for revenge after falling to WSU the opening weekend of Pac-10 action. Any other student would think going to the warm, desert state during the cool days of the Palouse fall would be enjoyable. But when you travel with a team, and the competition is the most important part of the trip, there is little time to enjoy the warm weather or sight-see. Between occasional airplane and bus traveling snafus, waiting for food to arrive for your large group in a restaurant, study table hours (usually indoors) and hostile crowds, the players have to look at their travels as business trips. Some are successful and some are not. But the team always has each other and that makes for strong bonds that get closer knit during trips.

And that makes coming home all that much better. This Friday and Saturday is Whiteout Weekend and all fans are encouraged to wear white shirts to the volleyball matches. Coach Palileo and the Cougar Volleyball program have purchased white t-shirts which will be given out at the Contest tables at the beginning of each match. PLUS, anyone who wears a white shirt can get a free Rally towel at the Contest area in Bohler. Cal averages just over 1000 fans a match but play in a large basketball facility so the fans don't have much impact on the players. Stanford averages over 2300 per match and play in a basketball facility that is similar to Bohler but much larger. Their fans have a huge impact on the opponent players.

WSU is the only Pac-10 school that has a facility dedicated to volleyball matches. WSU is ranked 24th in the national coaches poll this week (Cal is 13th and Stanford is 4th). The rest of the volleyball nation is paying attention to the WSU team, a huge turnaround from the 10-wins and 19-losses last year and a real threat to win every weekend in the Conference of Champions in 2009. Our players and coaches are encouraging all Cougar fans to wear white and come to both matches in Bohler Gym this weekend and make a statement about Cougar volleyball.

See you there!

Go Cougs!
Linda Chalich
WSU Sports Information Volleyball contact

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October 21, 2009

Hello Cougar Volleyball Fans -

A special thank you to all the great fans that came to the WSU win over No. 16 USC last Friday night in Bohler! That was some heart-pumping volleyball on Marcia Saneholtz Court. The WSU band was into the action as were the Stimson SuperFans, the student body and the community members. The players and coaches really appreciated your presence and the loud cheering certainly gave the Women of Troy one more thing to worry about, in addition to being Whooped on by the Cougs! Largest crowd of the season but doesn't reach the top 15 all-time crowds at WSU. Back in the day, we packed them in.

The biggest Bohler crowd for volleyball was Oct. 6, 1995, when 4,039 fans watched WSU and here is the recap of the match that I wrote back in '95:

PULLMAN, Wash -- A first-ever volleyball sell-out crowd at Bohler Gym watched No. 4 Stanford deliver No. 7 Washington State its first defeat of the 1995 season and claim the lead in the Pacific-10 Conference standings. The game scores were: 8-15, 15-8, 12-15, 15-4, 15-7.

The 4,039 fans found standing room only for the Homecoming weekend match which eclipsed the previous record of 3,356 fans set last weekend when WSU defeated Idaho. Several hundred fans were turned away at the Bohler Gym doors as the evening match went to five games.

Washington State is now 13-1 overall, 5-1 in league play. Stanford moves to 11-2 overall and 7-0 in Pac-10 contests.

WSU was led by the 21 kills and 11 blocks of junior All-America candidate Sarah Silvernail (Tacoma). Keren Oigman (Israel) contributed 15 kills, Elis Arias (Mexico) tallied 10 kills and 14 digs, and Shannon Wyckoff (Brush Prairie, Wash.) had 14 kills and 27 digs.

Stanford was led by the 17 kills and 16 digs of Kristin Folkl, who just rejoined the defending national champions after a summer with the U.S. National team. Cary Wendell tallied 16 kills, 16 digs and 43 assists for the Cardinal. Other Stanford players in double-figures were Eileen Murfee with 13 kills, 11 digs and six blocks, and Marnie Triefenbach with 10 kills. Barb Ifejika had five blocks.

"We started playing too controlled and too tight (in the fourth game)," WSU coach Cindy Fredrick said. "We didn't let things just flow and be aggressive the way we were in game three. You take a solid player like Cary Wendell and when things get tight, she just takes over and she did that in games four and five. We are ready to play again. We feel we shouldn't have lost this match, the players are disappointed they lost, but I told them `we didn't fall, we just stumbled so let's get back up and get going again.'"

This was the first time in 19 matches against Stanford that WSU had won two games. It was also the first five-game match for the Cougars this season.

The 1995 WSU volleyball team went on to a 22-7 record, tied for second place in the Pac-10, and ended the season with a loss in the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament to Oral Roberts' team of behemoth Brazilians (nearly all only played on season at ORU...hmmmmm). Sarah Silvernail went on to earn second-team All-America honors that season.

Back to the special home facility, Bohler Gym. Once the remodeling was done and the Bohler Addition with built onto the older part of the building (1998 and 1999 volleyball seasons were played on a sport court in Beasley Coliseum), seating for volleyball was reduced to a fire marshal-approved 3000. But because it is a facility dedicated to volleyball, it is unique in the Pac-10 and larger than most all campus, volleyball only facilities in the NCAA DI.

Since Coach Palileo came to the Palouse, volleyball attendance has increased 15% in 2008 and so far this season attendance is 10% above last year. Cougars have six matches left at home this season and Meagan Ganzer said it best last Friday night after the USC match, "The crowd is an extension of our team family that makes it so much fun to play in Bohler Gym." Brittany Tillman agreed, "The crowd definitely helped us win. The crowd, the band, Butch T. Cougar. It was great!"

Plan to be there Friday night to take on No. 4 Dawgs and to participate in the Attacking Breast Cancer Pink Campaign.

Go Cougs!
Linda Chalich
WSU Sports Information Volleyball contact

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October 10, 2009

This week we hear from the WSU freshmen: Oceana Bush, Rachel Todorovich, Liz Haskey, and Conley Kipp.

It all started on the day of the 8th of October. It was a cold day at the Pullman airport where we all arrived successfully on time, avoiding our favorite; shuttles. Kerri (Gustafson, athletic trainer) had her masks ready to give us on the plane to wear if anyone boarding had a suspicious cough. TeAna gave us our final farewell with goodie bags full of stickers and candies. After our long flight to Lewiston, we were off to Seattle. Tangerine Wiggs was beside herself being in her hometown, loving the fresh air of the Seattle airport. Mmmm. Boarding the flight to San Francisco, not only did the Cougar volleyball team arrive, but so did the 36 Canadian high school football players. We're lucky we still smelled like girls. Renee avoided this great experience by flying with Coach coming in on Friday because she came down with the flu (no worries, not swine!). Driving around, we found Red Robin. You can't beat bottomless lemonades and monstrous burgers. The day ended with our meeting with Lamppa that was scheduled for 10, but happened at his arrival at 11 pm. The complimentary tea kept us occupied during the wait.

Friday, the 9th, our day started with a surprise of being able to sleep in till 9 o'clock! After our quick film session, we went to the team's favorite, THE MALL! The team's focus was on buying winter clothes for our return to Pullman's below freezing temperatures. The exception was Rachel who lost her debit card and resided in Macy's makeup sections getting a free pre-game makeover to help better her day. It worked! Cassie is still ecstatic about her new red Christmas dress that she bought, complete with a belt. Game time was quickly approaching, yet there was still time between walk through and the game for Jackie, Cassie, Tilly, Meagan, Hyder, and Faith to compose a pre-game rap to the tune of Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake. It was a pump-up session. Unfortunately, the game ended in 4 with Stanford on top. L In-n-Out burger was our "pick-me-up."

Our last day concluded with an optional breakfast or sleeping in! The majority of us chose to sleep. We were able to rally together to make our luncheon to BJ's at noon. Giving us the greatest surprise ever, Palileo was quite generous in ordering us 2 Pizookies! Greatest things ever. Time flew by and the Cal game was soon over. As we write this, we are at the San Francisco airport waiting for our 10 o'clock flight into Spokane, where we will drive home on a bus that will end up in Pullman at about 2 a.m. We are all so excited.

Go Cougs!

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September 28, 2009

Our weekend started with a quick drive to Pullman airport where 2 of our cars got pulled over by the lovely Pullman police department. Rachael got out of her ticket by almost crying and shaking nervously until he let her drive away scot-free. Everyone made it to the flight on time and we landed in Seattle with no problems but with a long stop in Lewiston.

Our layover in Seattle was full of a long study session and airport food, Tillmans favorite. We got to the Eugene airport and went to our hotel for a quick clean up then headed to Outback Steakhouse for some good food.

At the restaurant Coach wanted to learn more about our freshmen so we played a game called "two truths and a lie." Conley proved to be good at lying about eating frog legs where Oceana failed miserably at even producing a believable lie.

Friday was game day vs. OSU...we woke up for some good breakfast, a little studying and some film. Soon after we boarded the bus for the mall...where some spent lots of money and others did not. We split up to eat so we could all pick our favorites throughout the mall.

It was a long bus ride to Corvallis which led us to Lamppa rapping during and a quick win against OSU in three.

Saturday was our day off so we got to sleep in until 9. After breakfast we boarded the bus for a supposed 45-minute ride that turned into an hour and a half. We got off in Florence, on the Oregon coast, where we walked the main street shops and farmer's market. TeAna once again hit up the baby stores while Tang bargain shopped at an antique store. We had awesome homemade burgers for lunch and watched some of Oregon's football team dominate on a screen so huge it was like we were on the sideline.



Next on the agenda was to see the "beach," which no one actually did because of the sandstorm. We took one picture in which no one smiled or looked at the camera and immediately ran to the bus. We relaxed for the rest of the day at our hotel and awaited our Sunday game.

U of O proved to be our biggest challenge of our season so far. We came out playing tough and confident and won the first game, but came up short losing in four at Mac court. We traveled home with our heads held high over the split weekend. We are ready for the Arizonas this weekend and planning to improve our PAC-10 standing with master Yoda leading us.

Kelly Hyder, senior tri-captain

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September 17, 2009

So our closeout preseason game against Gonzaga started with our bus ride from Pullman. We watched film with our headphones in and scouting binders out (and eyes closed for some of the trip). Once we got to the Kennel we dressed for practice and were all surprised when Conley came out in Gonzaga-blue vans for practice because she forgot to pack her shoes.

Sigh....Freshmen.

Pre-game practice was uneventful, but as always, not to Pali's standard. We left the gym with a slightly sour taste in our mouth but hoped to drown it out with the taste of Oceana's dad's bbq ribs. Tangerine, being the team vegetarian/pickiest eater, likes her salmon crispy and had to wait an extra twenty minutes for it to be `just right.' Waiting this extra time made her extra hungry... and desperate. Coincidently there were nuts in the middle of the dinner table, but little did she know they were there for decoration purposes only. Grabbing one, she ate a four-year-old walnut. We all got a good laugh out of that one.

Once we had eaten to our hearts content (big props to Oceana's parents!), the music was turned up louder and certain (you know who you are) teammates/dancers on the team couldn't help but bust a move to the song "Tootsie Roll." This escalated into a personal Britney Spears performance when Tangerine sang the beginning "oohhh ooohhhs" of "Oops I Did it Again" while Renee performed the choreography, which she seriously claimed was taught to America on SNL. We shared lots of laughs at this pre-game dinner and all of our team's newcomers got to see a more fun side of Cougar Volleyball.

In Coach's pre-game talk he said that he wanted us to continue and feed-off of the fun we had at dinner. So, right after announcing that we had the 5th ranked setter in the NATION on our team he made her do the Britney Spears dance one more time, which must have worked because we dominated the first game 25-10!

Jackie Albright, senior tri-captain

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The following are blog entries written by the Cougar Volleyball Coaching Staff - Andrew Palileo, Brian Lamppa and TeAna Tramel - while on the trip to Utah where the Cougs went 4-0.

Thursday, September 3, 2009
Hey fans we are on our way to Utah for the Utah Valley tournament and a stop at Weber State on Labor Day. We will have an opportunity to play four good teams this weekend in Utah, Missouri, Utah Valley U, and Weber State. The players seem ready and excited to face this challenge.

After a quick bite to eat at Honey Baked Ham (for those that have not had the opportunity to eat there you should try it, it's pretty good) we headed to practice on the game court. Having made the move to Division I only 7 years ago, Utah Valley is an awesome campus and has some great facilities. Practice went ok. I thought we could have had a little more intensity and be more efficient in what we were doing. While waiting for our bus after practice the players decided to take some pictures proposing a new fashion statement. You know I think some look good with these outfits and others don't look out of place at all. For dinner we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory where we had plenty to eat and desert came with it.


After dinner we did some video scouting of Missouri and going over our game plan for success. It was a long travel day so it's time to go to bed!!!

Friday, September 4 The day begins with players doing homework and eating breakfast before heading to our serve and pass time (the girls call it practice) for an hour and then head to MiMi's Café for our pregame meal. The Missouri match started strong and finished strong - what a great way to start the tournament. After a quick bite from Jason's Deli we scouted the other two opponents and rested well this evening.

Saturday, September 5
After celebrating all night from the win over Missouri we were ready to play against the 17th ranked team in the country, the University of Utah. The match was an offensive showdown with Utah hitting .357 and WSU .478 with the Cougars winning in straight sets. We celebrated at Chili's as the players enjoyed the company of their southern accent waiter. After a relaxing afternoon we prepared for our match against Utah Valley. Another sweep and a tournament championship with Renee receiving MVP and Rachel, Oceana and Tilly receiving all-tournament awards. Went to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen - we do eat a lot), returned to enjoy the hot tub. Tomorrow is our day off and we plan on enjoying it to the fullest.


Sunday, September 6
From Assistant Coach TeAna Tramel

Sunday was by far my favorite day! We shipped Palileo and Lamppa off at about 6:45 a.m. to go enjoy some R & R at the local golf course. After we got rid of them, the players got to sleep in and do a few hours of study tables. After the intense study session it was times for the girls to take their credit cards (or their parents) and head to Park City for a shopping spree! Of course we had to stop off on the way and eat a quick lunch. You can't shop on an empty stomach. During the drive to Park City, the girls mapped out their stops...which of course included Lucky, Polo, Nike, Coach, and Columbia just to name a few. After a nice four-hour shopping spree it was show and tell time. Tangerine by far bought the most, she swears she didn't spend very much but her arms were full of bags. Tilly raided the Nike store. Alex stuck to her $20.00 "Mindi" limit. Jackie was nice and bought for not only herself but for a special someone. Rachel had to get winter sweaters so she loaded up! Cassie, of course bought a jacket, which is a staple in her wardrobe. Oceana and Kimika found great deals at Columbia. Faith had the worst experience and had her sunglasses stolen  Conley, being from California doesn't have any winter clothes, so Faith talked her into getting a scarf! Ganzer bought some essentials because she forgot to pack some. Ali (McCoy, student equipment manager) and Kara both got some Khaki's because as a coach you always need Khaki's! Kerry (Gustafson, athletic trainer) got some new white linen pants for the LA games, so she could fit into the SoCal style. I am not going to say what I bought!! But let's just say it was a lot of pink and blue, and thanks to Faith, I was able to pack it all. After our spending spree, we headed to another palyers' choice: Olive Garden!! We enjoyed some soup, salad, and lots, okay tons of bread sticks! Oh yeah, and pasta too. That was basically the players' day off from Palileo and Lamppa and volleyball too.

Monday, September 7
Monday was the final day of our Utah voyage. The morning began with a fairly nice continental breakfast that included "meat" which made Cassie very happy since the previous hotel just had the essential carb collection. After breakfast we heading off the Weber State to have a brief practice and then back to the hotel to check out and head to TEXAS ROADHOUSE for our pre-game dinner. It was a definite hit with the players considering they had cinnamon butter for the piping hot dinner rolls and the extra benefit of throwing peanut shells on the floor. After rolling out of the Roadhouse we went back to Weber State to prepare for our match. After a slow start, and a bumpy middle we finished off beating the Wildcats 3-0 and tacking on anther "W" to our 6-0 record. Overall a very successful trip.

GO COUGS!

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September 2, 2009

Hello Cougar Volleyball Fans!

WOW - look at us! 3 great wins, zero losses, hitting in the .300s and taking care of business. What fun the Nike Cougar Invitational tournament was. If you missed it in person and you were in Pullman, shame on you! Free admission and good volleyball - great tunes from the WSU BAND (they did their summer homework!) and some funny chants from both the band and the Stimson Superfans...but I hope this new Stimson gang brings back some of the great old acts from previous years.

If you weren't in town, I hope you could follow the action on the internet through GameTracker - the first year WSU has had GameTracker for home matches...so exciting.

Now the team heads down to Utah to take on some tough teams at the Utah Valley University La Quinta Inn & Suites Invite in Orem. Missouri, No. 17 Utah and Utah Valley - three undefeated teams and all should present a good pre-Pac-10 competition for our Cougs. PLUS, a Labor Day match at Weber State in Ogden. I can't wait to hear Steve Grubbs, our radio announcer, calling all the action on KQQQ-1150AM here in the Palouse area or online, via Cougars All Access (subscription) at wsucougars.com. Steve was at every match during the tournament and will have a lot of insight into the matches this weekend.

The team (and especially Coach Palileo) are thrilled to be flying to Salt Lake City from Lewiston instead of Spokane this week. Lewiston is only 45 minutes south instead of the 90-minute drive north. Coach says they are only flying out of Pullman and Lewiston this season - a much more enjoyable travel plan for the Cougs.

Hopefully the next few blogs will be from the 2009 Cougar captains - Jackie Albright, Renee Bordelon and Kelly Hyder.

Go Cougs!
Linda Chalich
WSU Sports Information Volleyball contact

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August 28, 2009

Hello Cougar Volleyball Fans!

The blog is back...sorry for the delay but the start of school is like that: a series of good intentions followed by looking for a place to park and tell new students how to distinguish between Bohler, Physical Education Building and Smith Gyms.

The Cougar team is back with an AGENDA for 2009! Winning the final three out of final four Pac-10 matches to end the 2008 season gave all the players (and coaches) and reason to live. They had a very productive spring and the new players came to campus during the summer for the senior-led team practices in Bohler Gym and on the sand courts at the Student Rec Center.

Official practices began Aug. 10 and Coach Palileo could see the difference from a year ago and boy, was he happy. A taller and more athletic team is taking the floor this year. Faster action at the net and souped up defense too. The team was treated to 2 hot and sunny days at Lake Coeur d'Alene last week, the hometown of senior setter Renee Bordelon and close to the hometown of new operations coordinator Kara Kiefer. Renee and Kara's families provided boats so that the players could have some fun in-between practices. While the bathing beauties took to the water, a little birdie told me a couple of the coaches (who deny ever owning Speedos) took to the golf course. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.

News of Note for 2009 (read carefully, there may be a test later):

    * The players have long-sleeved uniforms this year - it was a coach and team choice. If you recall, some of our long-time season ticket holders (Nancy, Robin, Norma) had resorted to wearing gloves and wool hats during some of our "cool" matches in Bohler Gym. Well gang, a lot of the large basketball arenas where the team plays in the Pac-10 are similarly "conditioned" so no worries about the players overheating.

    ** The blue Nike ball is back - official ball of the NCAA Tournament - where the Cougs aspire to be soon - so we will use the blue ball again this year.

    *** Kara Kiefer, operations coordinator, joined the team Aug. 10 after a playing career at North Idaho College and Tennessee State. Kara takes the place of Kristina (Tina) Martin who is now playing professionally in Finland.

    **** Assistant coach TeAna Tramel is NOT FAT - but she is pregnant with TWINS! which is very obvious when you see her. So exciting for T and her husband Matt Tramel who is working as the operations coordinator for Cougar Baseball this year. Associate head coach Brian Lamppa and his wife Rachel are also expecting - the third child and second daughter. Coach Lamppa - if one of the girls is a lefty Coach Palileo may offer her an early scholarship.

    **** Team tri-captains this year are seniors Jackie Albright, Renee Bordelon and Kelly Hyder. Among the many duties are selecting what to wear to practice...just for the record, Coach Pali does not care for crimson spandex shorts with crimson tops. Noted here Coach!

    ***** Yes, freshman Conley Kipp is 6-foot, 4 inches tall, and freshman Liz Haskey is 5-foot, 2 inches tall. Don't mess with either of them.

    That's it for now. Nike Cougar Invitational begins Friday, Aug. 28 and ADMISSION IS FREE! So be sure and come to Bohler Gym and support the COUGS!

Linda Chalich
WSU Sports Information Volleyball contact

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Washington State Cougars Volleyball