Aug. 16, 2006
As part of the year-long Bronco Blog feature presented here on SantaClaraBroncos.com, senior middle blocker Megan Pura will be checking in on a weekly basis from preseason August practices to the NCAA Tournament in December with the goings-on of the sixth-ranked Santa Clara Volleyball team.
Pura bounced back last season from a 2004 campaign in which she saw limited time due to injury. Starting 24 matches in the middle in 2005, the Salinas native helped spark the Broncos in their thrilling run to the Final Four with stout defensive play, recording career-highs in total blocks (75), blocks per game (1.03) and kills (99).
As a testament to the effect of her play on the court, Santa Clara went a combined 22-2 with Pura in the starting lineup. Her steady play in the middle in a pair of early-season wins over UNLV and UC Irvine also led to her being named one of five Broncos named to the Sunset Classic All-Tournament team.
Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2006
Pimp My Team Room
Hello all. We play our first home conference matches this weekend! We are stoked to take on the Lions of LMU on Thursday and the Waves of Pepperdine on Saturday in front of our awesome home crowd. Playing at home has many advantages, especially for our team, who are lucky enough to call the Leavey center our own. It all starts in the team room. We have a pretty sweet set up with the two overstuffed red couches, 16 large white lockers that are personalized for each player, a television set equipped with a VCR, an unbelievable sound system, a disco ball, and a strobe light. Word on the street is that before Jon and Dusty came to SCU the team room was a barren and desolate place with cement flooring and definitely no audio-visual equipment. Before each match last year we had the tradition of singing Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas" but this year we've decided to take our pre game pump-up routine in a new direction. Thanks to the Freshmen (Kim C., Nina, Heather, Lindsy, B.Awai, and Lauryn), we've adopted a new song called Bo Jangles by Pit Bull (the edited version of course). Not only do we warm up our vocal cords to the song, but we also turn on the strobe light and everyone busts out the dance that the freshman choreographed. Good job to the coaches on recruiting not only hard working athletes who earn top marks in the classroom, but can also produce a top-notch dance routine. Impressive!
So once we are out of the team room and step onto the court, the environment is great. We have the ruff riders on one side, the season ticket holders on the other side, and then there's the university suite, located on the upper south side of the building. Commonly known as the "Lux Box", it's a place very few of us have ventured but many of us dream of visiting one day after graduation. Caroline's father and uncle have been renting out the Lux box since her freshman year and have never missed a home match. Although the space is located far above the court, some of the loudest cheering comes from the section. Maybe it's due to the fact that it's the only place in the Leavey center where alcohol is served, maybe it's because they are extraordinarily passionate and dedicated fans to the sport of the volley.. who knows really. But bottom line is that we love, love, LOVE home games and are tremendously thankful to all the fans that come out and support us.
Some noteworthy happenings of last week:
We discovered that Crystal has a stress fracture in her foot and has been sentenced to 6 weeks in a boot (only 4.5 weeks left!). Major bummer! We really miss Crystal out there, but Lindsy has stepped up and is doing an excellent job. Crystal is still making an impact on the team with her never- failing support and her entertaining stories during stretching circles.
Before our Saint Mary's match B-Lowe's (Brittany Lowe) Aunt Lucy Ameral hosted our team for a pre game meal at her home in Moraga. B-Lowe's two cousins Julia and Claire were extremely helpful and we all had a great time. Thanks!
Kim McGiven's 22nd birthday was last Saturday, September 30th. To celebrate her birthday, we defeated University of San Francisco. Kim was confused though; she must have though she was turning 25 because that is the number of kills she had. Silly Kim, but no complaints by us!
With an x and an o I'm out like WHOAH!
Posted: Friday, September 22, 2006
Bringin' the "Funk"...To Class
It has been two weeks since my last update and in that time many things have changed for us Bronco volleyballers. We started school on Monday. Gone are the leisurely days of sleeping in till 9 or 10, practicing for a few hours, and having the rest of the day to do whatever our hearts desired. Our days now begin with 45 minutes of heart pounding cardiovascular activity at 7:30, followed by practice from 8:30 to 11, and topped off with strength training. Most of us have class at 11:50. If Jon's feeling extra generous he'll let us out of practice with enough time to shower off, but, if it's one of those other days when we're not passing just right or we can't sideout, we'll end up practicing till about 11:40 and run to class in our practice clothes. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize in advance on behalf of my teammates and I to all of our classmates that already have or have yet to experience this. For the first time in a month we don't have any matches this weekend. We begin conference play next Thursday when we travel to St. Mary's to take on the Gaels. What's a Gael anyways?
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of our adventures that have occurred in the last two weeks.
While we were in Austin for the Texas tournament, Crystal was in the process of putting on her shoes before an early morning pass around when she failed to notice a cricket in her right shoe and proceeded to smash and kill the insect with her foot.
After we played Missouri on Friday night at the Texas tournament, the coaches gave us the opportunity to check out downtown Austin for a few hours. Kim McGiven and I were the only ones feeling adventurous that night and explored the famous 6th street for a few hours. Because of the huge football game between the Longhorns and Ohio State the following day, there were thousands of people out and about sporting Texas Burnt Orange or Ohio State Red.
This past weekend at the Stanford tournament, we played two matches on Saturday. We only had a few hours between the two matches and chose to get food and hang out in our visiting team room instead of driving all the way back to Santa Clara. We were all sleepy after lunch and decided to return to the team room and take naps. It must have been quite a sight for anyone who walked in. We were sprawled all over the floor using sweatshirts and towels as pillows. We even put together a sleepy time play list on one of the ipods (we bring portable speakers to every away game). The only thing different from our team and a kindergarten classroom were milk boxes.
On Tuesday September 19th we had our first home game against Sac State. It was such a nice change play at home in front of our own fans, in our own beautiful gym, listening to our own Grammy-worthy warm-up CD after being on the road for the past month. Tons of Ruff Riders came out to show their support and did an amazing job of cheering and getting in the other team's domes. We ended up defeating the Hornets in four games. Yeaaah Broncos!
That's all for now!
With an X and an O I'm out like WHOA!
Posted: Thursday, September 7, 2006
Rackin' Up the Miles!
Women's Volleyball at Notre Dame Photo Gallery
Hello from Texas! We arrived in Austin this afternoon after a long flight and a layover in Las Vegas, where the 21 and over gang (Myself, Danger, Shannon the trainer and the four coaches) played some wheel of fortune slots in the airport. I had a crushing net loss of $2. Goes to show you that the whole gambling thing is a big gimmick.
These 10 days have been crazy. After our trip to Notre Dame last week, we had only two days back in Santa Clara to catch up on sleep before it was off to Texas on Wednesday morning. The Notre Dame trip was rockin'. We flew into Chicago and had a delicious meal at this Mongolian barbeque place that Kristen "Puxy" Luxton, who currently resides in Chicago, recommended. It was certainly a treat. We then boarded the vans for the 2 hour excursion to South Bend, Indiana. By the time we settled into our rooms we were all exhausted and ready to hit the sack right away, especially since our match versus Valparaiso was scheduled for 12:00 Indiana time, which translated to the ghastly hour of 9:00 AM California time.
After our victory over Valpo on Friday, our focus turned to our match against Notre Dame on Sunday. But before we were to play the fighting Irish, we had some supporting to do. Our good friends on the soccer team were also in a tournament at Notre Dame and had come to our match against Valparaiso that morning (which was quite an act of kindness considering the early hour in which we played). In order to return the favor, all 16 of us crammed into Anna and Kim's room and covered our faces, stomachs, and backs with body paint. Each person was assigned a pre-determined letter and color. The front of us spelled "Santa Clara Soccer" and the backs of us stated "We liiiiike Crush". The game was such a blast that we have decided to attend many more bronco sporting events in the future donning head to toe body paint to showcase our Santa Clara spirit.
On Saturday we had practice and went for a swift jog around the beautiful campus of Notre Dame. We viewed many famous sites such as the Grotto, the basilica, and the Notre Dame football facilities. Although Notre Dame is a beautiful campus filled with historical landmarks, I kept thinking how much it would suck running to practice in the dead of winter in 3 feet of snow. We all agreed that our campus is gorgeous, walkable, and sans snow and that made us all mighty happy.
On Sunday at 2:00, we played Notre Dame and dominated in three. After our match it was off to the airport and then home where our own cozy beds welcomed us with open arms.
Some interesting things to note:
-Our team is presently infatuated with "Da Ali G Show" and often quotes memorable lines from the three characters Ali G, Borat, and Bruno.
-"Young" Shannon (our trainer) peppered with Nichole Clark at practice on Monday. (pepper: a volleyball term referring to the bump, set, spike repetition between two people)
-Crystal was named the WCC Player of the Week. She is such a stud and we are all super excited for her to receive this honor. She's has worked really hard to reach this level in her game and it's paying off in many ways! Success!
With an X and an O I'm out like Woah!
Posted: Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Not Much To Do In Fresno But Win!
We are back from Fresno with three wins! Our trip began on Thrusday when we all piled into a couple of school vans and Dusty's rugged SUV and headed southeast to Fresno. The drive took about three hours. Anna Cmaylo purchased the pre-teen magazine entitled "M" for the trip. Since we are all big fans of the Disney movie "High School Musical," we were thrilled to read about all of the characters and what they do in real life. The best part of the magazine was the free gift that was included with purchase...tattoos! We decided later that we would all put the glittery tats on as a team before our first home match for good luck!
When we finally arrived in Fresno, we checked into our hotel room and went to dinner at Cheesecake Factory. We all dressed up a little, it's always fun to break the routine of sweat pants and Nikes. Although the national preseason rankings were released weeks ago with Santa Clara at No. 6, we just recently heard the news that the preseason polls also ranked us No. 1 in looks. It's a pretty big deal... something that former Santa Clara setter Kelli Sousa taught me about when she was a senior and I was a freshman. Anyway, we enjoyed a delicious meal (although we had to pass on the cheesecake) and got psyched up for our first match of the season.
After dinner we all went back to our hotel rooms for a quiet night of relaxation and mental preparation. Being on the road is a great time to rest up and focus on upcoming matches because there are very few distractions. In other words, there is a lot of down time. Because we haven't started classes yet, we don't have to worry about homework, which is nice! My roommate (Caroline Walters) and I watched two movies on the road... "The Break Up" and "She's the Man" (which was great)! In fact, I have placed an order with Amazon.com and will be receiving my copy shortly. I would recommend it to movie lovers of all ages. Road trip down time allows not only for great mental preparation, but also bonding time with your teammates!
Aside from pulling off three wins, the highlight of the weekend was when SCU alumna Megan Johnston came to talk to the team after the Pacific match. She brought us delicious cookies, and talked about her amazing experience on the team playing for Jon, Dusty and Matt (Will had not yet arrived). The cookies were yummy delicious bomb.com. Usually Jon frowns upon the consumption of dessert items before matches but this was a special occasion and we enjoyed the treats immensely.
We returned to Santa Clara on Sunday afternoon just in time for the Men's soccer game against Cal. We decided to dress up in bright colored outfits and show some support for our fellow Broncos. We must have looked like one big Rubix Cube to onlookers! As always, we had a great time watching our amazing men's soccer team duke it out with our Bay Area rivals.
We head to Notre Dame on Thursday! We plan on arriving in Chicago in the evening and having dinner with Kristen Luxton, Michelle's sister who played volleyball for Santa Clara and graduated last year. We are all looking forward to seeing Chi-town and playing Valparaiso and Notre Dame.
With an "X" and an "O" I'm out like WHOA!
Posted: Thursday, August 24, 2006
It's Opening Weekend!
Double days were over and done with last week, and tomorrow we head to Fresno to play in our first tournament of pre-season! We are looking forward to finally playing in a real game. We've prepared for our upcoming matches by playing "3 stops," "26-all games," and "Perfect Sideouts." All three of these are played at game-like speed and are situational drills that break down specific parts of the game like defense and siding out. After working out some kinks, we feel pretty smooth going into this weekend.
In addition to practicing, we've been having meetings in the mornings. These meetings are usually about an hour long, and we use the time to discuss goals, review practice film, etc. Last Thursday, we presented what we learned on our "dates". I learned some interesting facts about many of my teammates. One of Brittany Awai's hobbies back home in Hawaii is spear fishing and Lauren Dowd was a swimmer before volleyball and was voted "Ms. Piranha" when she was 9.
Now that we've prepared as teammates on and off the court, we're ready to face our first opponents! Over the river and through the woods to Fresno State we go!
Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Christmas Comes Early This Year!
Double days have finally begun! All 16 of us (10 returners and six brand-new fresh-faced freshman) reported to campus on Monday, August 7. The first day is always pretty mellow but loooong. Lots of meetings, physicals at More Clinic in Redwood City, and... CHRISTMAS with our very own Santa Claus in [Associate Head Coach] Dustin Moore. Christmas in August is pretty comparable to the traditional December Christmas. Santa Claus delivers presents to our team room and we can't open them 'til all of our orientation meetings are concluded. Some of the presents we received this year were a brand new travel roller bag, our jerseys, practice clothes (we get to practice in hip and stylish Nike Dri-fits), SUPER comfy sweats, etc. Because we are a very well taken care of team, "Santa" even hooked it up with a sweet iPod stereo system, disco ball, and strobe light for our team room. Now we can really jam to some cool tunes and get super fired up before practices and matches!
The first day concluded with a BBQ at Coach Dustin's beautiful home. We made our own sushi rolls and ate delicious food straight from barbeque master chef Dustin Moore's grill. We all know his lovely wife Kim was the brain behind the operation though! The BBQ night at Dusty's can be compared to the calm before the storm. Everyone is happy and jolly, coach and player as one, just getting together to enjoy some good grub. What follows in the next couple weeks called "preseason" is an intense regime of pushing your body to the limits and transforming 16 volleyball players into one unit- a team.
The first week of practices went well. It is easy sometimes to become overwhelmed with the intense volleyball during the first week. As an attempt to mix things up a little, Coach Jon paired each returner with a new girl. Our task was to go on a "date" and get to know each other better. We will present our findings to the rest of the team this week. This is our second year doing this type of exercise and I am looking forward to hearing all of the fun facts about the new girls and maybe learn a few new things about the older gals. I'll report back next week on some of my new knowledge of my teammates.
On Saturday night, we had a team bonding night at Annalisa's beach house in Aptos. We told stories, ate delicious pizza from a local pizzeria, and decorated cups. Cup decorating has been a tradition for as long as I've been at SCU and serves a very practical purpose. At practice we bring out a big jug of water and we all use the cups that we have personalized to quench our thirst during practice. This year, Anna Cmaylo and I were in charge of getting supplies for this activity. We bought clear plastic cups and picked up markers, puff paints, and pretty gems at the craft store. Let me just tell you, these cups are truly inspired works of art.
Judging from the past 10 days of our lives as the 2006 Santa Clara Women's volleyball team, this season is going to be unforgettable.
With an X and an O I'm out like "woah"!