U.S. Women's Junior National Team Journal with Bailey Webster and Hannah Werth

July 27, 2008, 8:12 p.m. (ET)

NOTE: Bailey Webster (Baltimore, Md.) and Hannah Werth (Springfield, Ill.) are members of the U.S. Women's Junior National Team competing in the 2008 NORCECA Women's Continental Championship at Saltillo, Mexico.

July 26, 2008

Hey volleyball fans, you are now reading the journal of Bailey and Hannah!! Fortunately, we are the lucky ones who had the chance to write about the most exciting day of this trip. This morning we had our usual 8:30 a.m. breakfast. Then we headed off to practice which began slowly but ended productively.

Practice was light and only an hour, but in that time, we were able to practice our serving and passing. Looking back on the match, it was our serving and passing that led us to that sweet victory.

Because our match was at 4 p.m., we had a quick turn around. After practice, we had to rest up before we had to get dressed and go straight to lunch. We woke up from our nap to Hannah’s Itunes. And to our surprise, we looked out the window and saw our hallway janitor, Fernando, dancing to the beat of our music.

At lunch, we had rice, fish and steak. And, of course for dessert, everyone ran for the chocolate and sugar doughnuts. We got on the bus heading to the gym and everyone had their headphones on focusing on the huge game we were about to play.

Going into this match, none of the fans thought we could beat Cuba. Cuba was a favored team in this tournament and we had nothing to lose. Before the game, Coach Paula gave us advice on how to tool their blocks and not to be intimidated by them. As long as we high and not straight down, we would be fine.

During the warm-ups, the Cubans were trying to intimidate us by singing through the net and staring some of us down. Although our warm-up was not the best, it was no preview of how we performed throughout the game.

Even though we lost the first game, 23-25, we were able to recognize their weaknesses and came out more aggressive. Towards the end of the game, there was no question about who the better team was fundamentally. Cuba had big hitters, but we had an all-around team.

The day ended perfectly. We are now secure to take 1st or 2nd place in the NORCECA qualifier and a spot in the 2009 FIVB World Championships. We are sure to come home with a medal. Many of the fans were so amazed by our play that they congratulated us and we all took many pictures and signed many shirts. We both believe that this experience has taught us many lessons, not only on the court, but in life as well.

Tomorrow we play the Dominican Republic for the GOLD. It should be an exciting match since they are our only loss. Wish us luck.

Bailey and Hannah