Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Verdict

Well, I officially report back to the USA gym on May 2nd. Yep! I MADE IT!! They said the liked me and they want to see me back in the summer. My mind is reeling right now and I am having trouble organizing my thoughts, so this is gonna be a short blog. But, I just wanted to let you know how the meeting went like I promised I would.

I've officially booked a flight home for Tuesday and I can't wait to see my family and friends.

No, I'm not freaking out (sarcasm inserted here). I can't stop smiling :) :) :) :)


Monday, March 28, 2011


I have to start off by saying that this is the number I passed today in practice, and I couldn't be happier. Yes folks, that is the best I have passed since being in the USA gym. I'm stoked. Sorry you're always getting my passing numbers but lately they have been weighing heavily on my mind so bear with me :)

Anyways, today's practice was so fun! Why? Well, I'll tell you. During our last hour of practice (during which we always play some sort of six vs. six activity) Karch and Hugh played along with us. This is probably because we were a couple players short today. Naomi, Dominique, Kari, and Becky are no longer in the gym with us. Naomi, Dominique, and Kari started their next quarter of school today, and Becky is playing professionally in Puerto Rico. So, we practiced today with only eleven players. Karch stepped in to take over an outside hitter position, and Hugh played on the right side. Every time I see Karch play, I find myself completely awestruck. He is truly the king of volleyball. He is so patient; he never makes mistakes. But, at the same time he gets kills because of how smart he is. He gives the ball to the opposing team's setter more than any player I've ever seen. That's just an example of how he sets himself apart. And on defense he just makes ridiculously impossible plays look easy. For example, digging a very hard hit ball with a chicken wing. Basically, getting pegged and it going perfectly to target. Jenna Hagglund tweeted today saying, "How come when Karch gets hit w/ a ball it miraculously pops up and we get the pt? When it hits me, I just look stupid and we lose the pt." That's a great question Jenna, and I'm thinking that it will remain a mystery for awhile.

AND, I am very pleased to inform you that I have officially scheduled my meeting with Hugh and Karch (to discover what my future with USA Volleyball is) for tomorrow at 1:30! I'm very excited for it! I have a good feeling. I will be sure to blog and let you know how it goes as soon as I get a chance tomorrow. Until then...

Peace. Love. Bearcrawls.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

This...is American Idol!

That was supposed to be in the voice of Ryan Seacrest. Use your imagination :)

So, this isn't really American Idol (even thought that would be super awesome), but it is USA Volleyball and a lot of us think that we would make a pretty good reality show. Anyways, there is only one week left of this training block, and the final individual meetings have started. It feels a lot like the show American Idol when the judges are picking their top 24 contestants. One contestant walks in alone while the others wait in the other room. That contestant meets with the judges and gets a "yes you're in", or a "no, but it's been fun". Then the contestant comes back out to the other contestants and announces what result they got. Well, a few of the girls have had their meetings with our coaches and a few have come out saying that they aren't coming back in the summer, and (I know of) one that has come out and said "Yes! I'm coming back this summer!" Well, if you don't watch American Idol, you can probably imagine that as more and more contestants go into the judges room to discover their fate, the tension builds in the waiting room. Well, the tension is certainly building amongst us. We are all very anxious to meet with the coaches to find out what our future holds. I think we just want to be able to plan out the next stage of our lives. I was talking to one of the guys who is always helping out in practice. And he (Kevin) said that they usually wait until the last minute to make their decisions and tell you guys what's going on, and that can be the frustrating part. Well, yes, it's very frustrating. I just want to know if I'm coming back in the summer or not so I can at least book a flight home or even decide how  I'm getting home. And it would be nice to know what my future holds and if USA Volleyball is a part of that future. In other words, the waiting game really sucks.


P.S. I'm in a fiction writing mood, so stay tuned and perhaps I'll post a short story for ya'll :)
P.P.S. Not really sure why I used the term "ya'll". Native Texan, Becky Perry, must be rubbing off on me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am currently on a sugar high right now! Ellie Blankenship made cupcakes tonight and left the bowl (with a little of cupcake batter left in it) sitting out. And anyone who knows me knows I'm bout to get a spoon and finish it off. Well...I did...and I don't think I've blinked in the past five minutes. HYPER! So much for me going to sleep tonight and getting rest for practice tomorrow. So, while I'm wide awake, I thought I would blog!

Yesterday, yesterday, yesterday...what happened yesterday? Practice in the morning was a bit of a struggle. Couldn't really pass to save my life. And I was right back on the struggle cruise ship. The universe was not on my side. So to make myself feel better, I went home and began making cake balls. I was unsure of whether I'd be able to accomplish this without Jess Yanz here talking me through it (slash doing it for me). But I gave it a shot. It all went well until I went to melt the chocolate chips...I may or may not have burned them in the microwave. Dang it! I knew I would not get through this unscathed!

BUT! the next day I recovered nicely. I went to the store and got another bag of choco chips and went to take two of melting chocolate! Second attempt was a success and I continued on my journey of making the greatest dessert of all time! Well today I completed the process at around 7:00 PM. So, I took them to my friends Ellie Blankenship, Ashley Benson, Naomi Johnson, and Jenna Hagglund in apartment 420 and invited the rest of the volleyballers in the apartments to come get some. They are gone. Needless to say, they were a hit. This is the most complicated thing I've ever made, with macaroni and cheese and hot dogs in a very close second place. Yes, I am very proud of myself.

Apart from that mini adventure, practice today went better than yesterday. I was still low on energy and my body is getting tired (but not now because I'm all hopped up on sugar!!!!). Tomorrow is another practice with a lift following. And in this training block we officially have 7 practices left. Time is flying. Then hopefully I'll be able to get home to see my family and then get back to Lincoln to see my long lost (and very much missed) friends...Okay I'm gonna go take a shot of NyQuill and try and sleep. Wish me luck :)


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Again, it has been way to long since I've posted; like a ridiculously long time to keep my avid readers (aka Mom, Dad, and brother) waiting. But, I have an excuse! It may not be a good one, but it's a legit excuse! As some of you know, Christa Harmotto, and Alisha Glass were once roommates of mine, and the internet and cable was under Christa's name and apparently you can't change the name on the account. SO, when she left to return to her professional team in Italy, we had to cancel the cable and internet to our apartment and Kindra and I have been too lazy to call and get it started up again. And now with only two weeks left of this training block, it doesn't really seem worth it. Good enough? Oh well. Anyways, since it has been so long since I've blogged, I made a list of all the things that have happened in the past 12 days. So, fair warning, this will probably be a longer blog. Welp! Here goes!

1. My brother Eric, has been bugging me for the longest time about putting up another blog. This has convinced me that he may very well be my biggest fan! He has asked me in the past, "Is it weird that my favorite athlete is my little sister?" NO! It's not weird! I talked to him the other day on the phone and I told him when my training block was over and instead of saying, "Oh YAY Kayla! I can't wait to see you!" The first thing he said to me was, "So, do you want to play in my adult volleyball league game?" Priorities bro :) And even right now I know he is just so anxious to read this blog! He probably keeps checking my website with the slightest hope that something new has been posted...well here ya go brother. And PS...I may be your biggest fan too. But, you really do need to quit that job...just sayin...seriously quit...okay I'm done.
For those of you who don't know him, this is my brother, Eric. 

2. Not this past weekend, but the weekend before (March 9th-14th to be exact) my mom and aunt Mary were in town visiting, or vacationing whichever you'd prefer. Every day consisted of at least two hours of sun bathing, along with a little bit of shopping. The most memorable night was Saturday. We (Me, Mom, Mary, and Liz) spent the night in LA at a BEAUTIFUL hotel called Vagabond. It was absolute PARADISE! Are you picking up on the sarcasm? It's kind of hard to get it across in typing. Anyways, honestly, it was a complete dump! Like I literally thought we were a part of the next Criminal Minds episode. After settling in at our hotel, we went to the UC Irvine men's volleyball match vs USC which turned out to be right down the street from our five star hotel. Perfect walking distance. After the match we went to a bar near the Staples center and eventually made our way to an Irish pub. It was there that more drinks started flowing and we all started to loosen up a bit. It was also there that I gave out a fake number to a guy who I couldn't shake off. Too harsh? Maybe. Anyways, after this bar we wanted to go to another bar that one of our waitresses from earlier told us about. So, we hailed a cab, hopped in and told the driver where to go. He informed us that the bar we wanted to go to was quite literally two blocks down the street. And as soon as we were about to confirm that it was in walking distance, he took off. I guess every dollar counts for these guys. Even if it was only the $3.45 that we paid the man for the ride. Anyways, by the end of the night we made our way back to the hotel thanks to a cab driver that was convinced we were all alcoholics. The next morning, we got up bright and early, and after a McDonald's breakfast we made our way to Laguna Beach. It was a beautiful day. We sat on the beach for hours catching some rays and watching some bad volleyball. And after awhile Mary got an urge to pepper, and when am I ever gonna turn down volleyball? Never. So, we played around and let me tell you, Mary's still got it! It was very fun and we got to work up a little sweat. Workout for the day? Check! We ended the day with a little shopping at Diane's and a nice dinner at BJ's. Then it was home and we were watching Criminal Minds for the rest of the night. I gave them a ride to the airport the next morning! Overall, a GREAT WEEKEND!
Me, Mom, and Mary in LA.
Shoot, I'm only on #3...okay...

3. The Friday morning that mom and Mary were in town, I received a missed call from my brother Eric. My mom actually answered the phone and from what she said, this was their conversation:
                     "Don't go to the beach today!" -Eric
                     "Why not?" -Mom
                     "There is gonna be a tsunami!" -Eric
                     "Aww! Does that mean you would care if I died?" -Mom
                     "No, I just don't want to have to take days off for your funeral." -Eric
                     "Well you'd get bereavement days for it, paid days off." -Mom
                     "Oh, in that case, I hear there are gonna be some sweet waves                                                                  
                      today!" -Eric
So, you could say I woke up with a laugh. I went to practice and all the midwesterners were freaking out because of the tsunami that was gonna hit! All the Californians there were like "meh

4. This past Wednesday, March 16th, we held an intersquad scrimmage. Red vs. Blue. I was the libero for the Blue team. Also on the blue team was Becky Perry, Carli Lloyd, Lauren Gibbemeyer, Naomi Johnson, Kari Pestolesi, Kaitlin Sather, and Julianne Piggot. We played at a local volleyball club called T-Street. This night was a success! The blue team won in 5 sets with the 5th set being 15-13. I was sooooooo happy with the way I played. I got into a passing groove that allowed be to feel comfortable covering more area that I normally would cover. I passed a 3.45!!!! No, that is not a typo. 3.45!! I was 80% perfect on 30 attempts. Let's just say that it is the best I've felt passing since starting this training block. It was such a fun match. 

5. The next day, (Thursday, March 17th) we held another intersquad scrimmage at Irvine Valley College. Same teams: Red vs. Blue. However, this night was not as successful. Red team won in another 5 set match with the fifth set score, again, being 15-13. However, I didn't play as well as I would've like to. I think I passed something like 67% perfect, and I didn't even bother looking at the other passing stats. I didn't think I'd like what I saw. The match was sloppy, uncomfortable, and ugly. One word I used to describe this night was embarrassing. We were representing USA volleyball and that was the best effort we could come up with? Maybe this is too harsh, but it was very disappointing. 

6. But, a disappointing match wouldn't dismiss the fact that we still had another three hour practice the next morning followed by an hour lift. I woke up that Friday morning and thought to myself, "I can't do this. There is no possible way that I have enough energy to make it through this practice." But, I got to practice and once again FRS (the most amazing vitamin energy drink in the world) had my back. 

I chugged one down at the beginning of the practice and then convinced myself that I had enough energy to do this. AND THEN I PEPPERED WITH KARCH KIRALY! That energy quickly evaporated. The King of Volleyball is still the King and he worked me, and potentially proved to me that even though I am much younger than him, he may still be in better shape than me. Well, after the pepper from hell I officially hopped on the struggle bus. And by the middle of practice, fellow libero Cami Croteau and I upgraded to an all new level of struggle. We came up with new struggle terms because we didn't think that the term "struggle bus" would do us justice for how much we felt like we were struggling at the time. We came up with "struggle plane", "struggle cruise line", and "struggle army fleet of tanks". So, I guess we reached a point of delirium as well. 

7. Even though I was super exhausted I felt like I had a good practice on Friday. Every play was an inner battle but I pulled it out nicely and played pretty well. So, every Friday we vote for who we thought was the player of the week that week and the winner receives a $200 gift card to Lululemon Athletica (the most comfortable yoga pants you will ever wear). Well, my teammates voted me player of the week last week! So, I got to take myself shopping! There is one more goal I can check off the list. 

8. Friday night I went to Santa Monica to see my good friend Prince Amukamara. I went to school with him at Nebraska, where he played football. He's an okay athlete. Okay he's pretty good. He may or may not be (but definitely will be) a first round draft pick this year. Yeah, he's kind of a huge deal now. It was weird to see him now that he's super famous because I knew him before all this. So as soon as I get to his hotel I call him to see what room he is in. He told me to walk down the the Adidas store (he's sponsored by Adidas now) which was two blocks away. So, I walked down there and as soon as I walk in he goes, "I have a $1500 dollar shopping spree and I'm not gonna spend it all. Go pick out what you want." It took me awhile to pick my jaw up off the floor. And then told him that if was serious then I was gonna get a pair of shoes or something. He told me that I should and after a little hesitation I went and picked out a brand new pair. It feels weird. I seriously couldn't get over how big of a deal he is now. And I'm pretty sure the people who checked us out at Adidas had to have thought that I was his groupie. After that, we went to dinner with his Adidas rep, and first round draft pick from last year CJ Spiller. He plays for the Buffalo Bills, and he was in town doing stuff for Adidas too. Basically, I was at a dinner with two superstars and a man who pays them just to wear his brand. It was bizarre! After dinner, Prince and I went for a short walk before I headed home. It was really good to see him and catch up. He's a fun guy to be around.
This is Prince backstage of American Idol with Steven Tyler. Yeah...I told you he was a big deal.

9. I don't really have a #9. I think that's it. So, there ya go brother. There is the update from my life. Hope you enjoy! And, my apologies. I will try to blog more often because I'm sure you will keep yelling at me if I don't. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Perfect Weekend!

Okay I know it has been waaaaay to long since I've blogged and to those eagerly awaiting my next masterpiece, I apologize. A lot has happened since my last post so I guess I'll just start from the beginning. We played the Japanese Youth National Team on March 1st and 2nd. I was lucky to start both of those matches at libero and I didn't do too bad of a job. The first match I was pretty much fighting butterflies the entire time. It was the first time I had ever worn a USA jersey. It was just so mind-blowing. The second night I found a better rhythm and played a lot better and closer to my standard. It was amazing. The most surprising thing about the entire night is the entire new meaning that the playing of the National Anthem took on. Can't describe it. It just was a lot more meaningful now that I was representing that flag.
Here is our group shot after the match.

This past weekend was amazing because my very good friend Jess Yanz was in town! She was on her spring break and decided to come spend it with me! How lucky am I? For those of you who don't know Jess, here is a picture!

And here is her blog. The very blog that inspired me to do my own blogging. Yeah it's pretty sweet and I suggest you check it out. Anyways, she got in Thursday and right away I took her to see one of my favorites spots: Laguna. 

Okay, you caught me. I didn't take this picture, but it was honestly just as pretty. It was a cloudy kind of evening but still the beach was gorgeous. We checked out the scenery and took some beautiful pictures and then made our way to the surf shops right along the beach. I didn't get anything, but I didn't need to. Having Jess there completely made my night. We finished with a good dinner at a restaurant called BJ's. When we got home we started what would be a Criminal Minds marathon that lasted the entire weekend. 

Friday was uneventful. I had to give a couple of private lessons after practice so Jess came along and kind of hung out while I was doing my thing. Afterwards, she picked up a ball, looked at me and said, "Kayla, can we pepper?" Can you say volleyball withdrawal? She should so be out here training with us. Yeah she's a baller with absolutely perfect hands. She played at Penn State for two years, with me at Nebraska for two years, and she finished at Dayton. She's pretty legit. Anyways, after a good fifteen minute pepper, we went and cleaned up and headed to a UC Irvine guys volleyball match. It's pretty much my favorite pass time here. I love watching men's volleyball. Maybe it's because they are physically capable of doing things in the game that women can't. Maybe because it's a plus when guys are volleyball players and it automatically makes then ten times cuter than they would appear off the court. For whatever reason, it is mesmerizing for me. After that we went back to the apartment and hung out and continued with our Criminal Minds marathon. And then...gasp! Jess had the most brilliant beyond brilliant idea ever. CAKE BALLS! For those of you who don't know what these little balls of deliciousness are, they are pretty self explanatory. Tiny balls of rolled up cake dipped in chocolate. Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is just thinking of it. They are quite possibly the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. And just because I want to share them with the world, here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Saturday was quite possibly the most perfect day ever. It was sunny and about 80 degrees and we spent the entire day at Newport Beach. It was perfect. And at night, if you hadn't noticed the pattern, we chilled and watched Criminal Minds. Neither of us were even a little bit upset that we didn't go out. I was just glad she was here. 
Shot of Newport Beach from my cell phone. Pretty perfect huh?

Sunday we went back to Laguna in the hopes of laying on the beach for a ridiculous amount of time. But, it was pretty cloudy and a little bit of a chilly breeze going on, so once again we walked the streets checking out some more shops there.

And Monday morning I had to take Jess back to the airport :( it was the worst ever! I was about to call Hugh and be like "Hey I know a legit setter who should be here training with us" and then begin to beg him to let Jess stay. But, I had to say goodbye. And thus ends the best weekend ever! And I know Jess has been waiting for this picture for a few days so here it is: Jess and I at Laguna Beach.

Until next time...