Jordan Bostic is a member of the NMSU Aggie Volleyball team. Jordan is currently a sophomore majoring in Journalism/Mass Communication and will be a junior starting in the Fall of 2006. She'll be filing entries in the Aggie Volleyball Diary throughout the 2006 Volleyball season, giving fans a taste of life on the volleyball team.
As a member of the New Mexico State University volleyball team, I’m pretty proud of what we have accomplished. However, if you have followed our team at all, you know that we are all carrying a big chip on our shoulder after last season.
A little background information for you: after receiving the Sun Belt Conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament in 2004, we started our first WAC season with big expectations and a goal of making the NCAA Tournament again. However, a 20-7 record and a tie for second place in the WAC later, we were left out of the tournament. It could have been argued that we should have been picked, but the reality was that while Hawaii, Utah State, and Nevada were representing the WAC, we were sitting at home. Our goal was not reached, and we were not happy. Coming into this spring season, we had a lot to prove.
We returned almost everyone, with the exception of graduated senior Sarah Silagy. However, two players would have to sit out the majority of the spring after having major surgery during the Christmas holidays: Tanya Allen with her shoulder and Angelle Guerre to elbow surgery.
The spring season commences with individual workouts and conditioning, as well as weightlifting. After a month of that, we begin team practice again, just like in the fall. Our team zipped through individuals and began team practice with everyone improved.
Coach had scheduled a pretty difficult spring tournament schedule where we would get to see how we would measure up to a lot of quality teams. While spring is more casual than the regular season, it is still pretty intense and we take it very seriously. Everyone on the team is competing for a starting position for next year, and how we do in the off-season has a great deal to do with how coach sees our lineup developing in the fall.
Our first spring tournament was at the University of Arizona, where we played a lot of great teams. We split (meaning we each won one game) with Ohio State, the University of Las Vegas at Reno, and the University of Arizona. We swept (meaning we won both games) Arizona State, Wichita State, and the University of New Mexico. Overall, Coach Jordan was pretty happy with it- although anyone who knows Coach knows that he can always, always find room for improvement! We returned to practice and Coach worked with us on the weaknesses he saw in Arizona.
The main tournament that we had circled on the calendar this spring was in Houston and featured all of the top teams in Texas as well as an SEC power, the University of Florida. We were slated to play a feature exhibition match against the University of Texas on Friday night to kick off the tournament festivities.
We rolled off the plane on Friday, threw our bags in our hotel rooms and went straight to the gym. I’m sure you can imagine what was running through the Longhorn’s minds when we showed up, decked out in our own mismatched sweats, rumpled from the trip and looking not the least bit intimidating- “Who is New Mexico State??” Texas, on the other hand, was dressed in full burnt orange regalia, looking every bit the Big 12 power that they are.
One of their players was standing at the volleyball net, her arms bent at the elbows, just draped over the white tape that runs across the top. You know they are tall with long arms when they can stand flat-footed and lay half of their arms over the top. Keep in mind, when I reach as high as I can, I am still about five inches from even skimming the top of the net! I remember thinking, “These girls are huge!” Then, I glanced at our little team, which I had always thought had pretty good height, and got excited about the challenge ahead.
In the bathroom, I washed my hands at the sink between two of the Longhorn players. Soaping up her hands to my right was Lauren Paolini, standing 6’5. To my left was Jen Christian, standing 6’3. They casually chit-chatted over my head like I wasn’t even standing there. I had to laugh when I realized that even with my 5’9 frame puffed up to its peak stature, I didn’t even break their field of vision.
The game started in front of the good crowd of mostly Texas fans. The Aggie faithful were there in full force, however, as most of our native Texan players had their families make it out for the tournament. The first game was back and forth, with our team coming from behind to take it in a score of 33-31.
The second game was pretty close as well, with Texas coming out on top. We battled and battled and, two games later, the Aggies were victorious! It was very, very exciting. I remember leaving the gym and seeing the Longhorn players still surrounding their coach, getting a very intense post-game talk. I was pretty sure that they didn’t think they would be experiencing that awful post-loss briefing when they saw us on the schedule, and it gave all of us Aggies a lot of satisfaction!
The actual tournament went well the next day, as we defeated Texas Christian University and Texas Tech in pool play to advance to the gold bracket. There, we defeated Rice before losing to the University of Oklahoma. The loss was a tough one to swallow, as we didn’t really play very well. I guess you could say that after four matches, we ran out of gas. That’s no excuse, really, and trust me when I say that we will be mad about that one for months!
With spring practice officially wrapped up, it’s safe the say that we are extremely pumped up about the coming season. With our injured players returning, as well as four new freshmen signees, we are going to have depth like we’ve never had before. Coach Jordan has layed out a pretty tough schedule for us where we will face off with perennial national contenders Hawaii, the University of San Diego, and the University of Santa Clara. You better believe that come next December- NCAA Tournament time- we do not want to be sitting at home. We are working really hard right now to make sure it doesn’t happen again!