GYNT Blog for FIVB World Championship

July 13, 2013, 4:45 p.m. (ET)

Aug. 3, 2013 * Jordyn Poulter

Hello readers!!! We just finished our match against Brazil... and I have never been so pumped in my life!!! We took Brazil to 5, and won the fifth match 15-12. It was EASILY the funnest match I have ever played in. So great!

Our right side offense is what won the match for us. The middles and Simone did a fantastic job hitting around the single block. Our back row stayed very disciplined on serve receive and made hard serves look like free balls.

This match really tested our "team-ness". Brazil is a very emotional team, and we had to make sure we controlled what we could control. We couldn't let the previous point, good or bad, control how we were going to play.

Audrey was suppose to be writing the blog with me, but she and Kenzie are currently getting drug tested, what an awesome thing to do right after a huge win! ;)

We are all so excited to be playing for Gold; it's almost surreal. CAN'T WAIT!!! It's weird to think that we will be leaving in less than 48 hours. It's been such an amazing experience!

Aug. 1, 2013 * Simone Lee and Danielle Cuttino

Dear reader,

Today started off like any other day. We went to an early breakfast, got dressed, and went to practice. But, since today was our day off we had no games in the afternoon. Instead, after our 11:00 practice we all showered and went back to the mall! Our original plans were to go to either a Buddhist temple, or go to the zoo. Right away, the team chose to go to the zoo. But to our dismay, as we sat at lunch looking out the window, all we saw was gray skies and rain. :-( so our last resort was to go back to the mall for any last minute shopping items.

At the mall, most of the girls went and bought Thai pants. (Picture Jasmine from the Disney animated movie "Aladdin"). Four out of twelve girls had made this purchase yesterday and the rest of the team liked the pants so much that as soon as we got to the mall that was the first place we stopped. After this purchase the team split up. Half of us continued to shop while the other half went to the Fresh Market to do a little grocery shopping.

One place we went to was this jewelry boutique where a few of the girls bought rings and bracelets to bring back to their friends in the USA. Next door, another jewelry store was open. Inside, however, they were offering their services to do ear piercings. So, being the brave soul that she is, Danielle Cuttino got her tragus pierced. She said it didn't even hurt! After all of that excitement, we wound down with some ice cream at Swenson's. Needless to say, our time at the mall was very eventful.

Thai massages were next. To really help alleviate some of our muscle tenseness, some of the girls went for full body and partial body massages. They said it felt great and that it really helped their sore muscles.

After dinner and a very informational scouting report, we went back to our rooms to relax for the night.

July 30, 2013 * Taylor Tashima and Molly Haggerty

We got up this morning and had an hour long, 8am practice before our game against Algeria at 2pm. We secured our spot for first in our pool by beating them 3-0! Today's game set the record for fastest win in this years World Championship at 58 minutes. Really proud of our team's performance this past week!!

Eight out of the twelve players on the team have family that flew into Thailand, so the coaches let us spend time with them today. We all went to this HUGE mall close to our hotel to have dinner and shop with our family for a few hours. Almost everyone ate at a pizza restaurant, which was a nice change from rice and potatoes. Some of the players bought gaucho pants and dresses, while others bought food and went to Starbucks. On our way out, we passed by McDonalds and there was a Ronald McDonald statue bowing (only in Thailand!).

Tomorrows day off should be fun! Goodnight!

July 29, 2013 * Audriana Fitzmorris and Simone Lee

Dear reader,

A beautiful way to wake up in the morning is to stretch. Our team took a walk down to the ballroom on the first floor of our hotel to do morning stretches with Lindsey. When meandering down that morning, our team took notice of a very large dragonfly. Naturally we all started freaking out. But, a very brave hotel employee took the beast by its wings and calmly set it free outside. She was our hero! 

After, we headed down stairs to breakfast. Per usual we headed straight for the French toast and chocolate cereal. We had a few extra minutes between breakfast and our departure time so we got dressed and put our necessary makeup on. Then, it was off to the gym for our match against Dominican Republic! 

At the playing facility we got settled into the locker room where we put our volleyball gear on and listened to our pump up music. After that we had a final scouting report on our opponent and we then headed to the court for dynamic stretching. We followed the regular pregame procedure and finally we were ready to start the match. We had a first set deficit of 10-3 in the opening match but came back to win 25-21. The following sets we continued to improve our game. We really stuck to the scouting report and that helped lead us to victory. 

After celebration of a 3-0 victory over Dominican, we came back to the hotel to eat lunch. Naps and television watching ensued during our two hour break between lunch and practice. Practice was short and sweet. We were able to focus on specific things to help improve our overall game. There was definitely no lack of mosquitoes and gnats  during practice. Everywhere you turned you would see someone, either a coach or a player, swatting away some sort of pesky flying insect. 

Finally, we were able to return to the hotel and take our long awaited showers. After we freshened up, we had yet another hour or so before our dinner and scouting report. Players would watch TV, nap, do summer homework, or go on social media. You can tell who was using their social media because they were all crowded around one spot where apparently the "best wifi" was. Our dinner and scouting report soon followed. Today was a very exciting day and we will have many more days like these in the future.

July 28, 2013 * Jordyn Poulter and Kenzie Maloney

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Hello readers!

We started our day off at 7:45 doing some dynamic stretching in an open hallway down by the ballroom to get our bodies moving for the day. Lindsay had a quick chat with us about nutrition and how important it was that we fuel our bodies the right way. We headed down to breakfast shortly after.

A few hours later we arrived at the playing facility where we would play Brazil.

Many of us listen to music to get our minds focused on the match and make everything around us smaller. As soon as we stepped on the floor for warm ups, it was a battle to see who could be the loudest/most pumped. We worked hard to win the match in three sets. Our hitters were on point today and we kept high energy the entire time. We limited our errors and we played with passion. It was such an incredible feeling to beat the Brazilians and represent our country. Our hard work over the past couple of weeks is definitely starting to show.

After our match we came back to the hotel and ate lunch. We had a few hours to ourselves before we had a quick scouting meeting for our next match against the Dominicans.


July 27, 2013 * Mikaela Foecke

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Today we had to wake up extra early so we could be ready to practice at 8 a.m.! We practiced for a little over an hour, working on specific things that would help prepare us for our match against Slovenia.

Once we finished practicing we headed back to the hotel and started to do some game day preparations - a few of the girls even took showers so they would look their best for USA's first match of the tournament!

We then ate lunch at 11:30 a.m. and headed to the gym. When we got to the venue, the tournament officials directed us to our player room, where we put on our gear and listened to music. Once we were all ready to go, we took the floor! After three weeks of training hard, it was so exciting to finally get to put on the USA jerseys and play a real match.

In the first set we were down by a lot at the beginning, but we managed a come back, losing 25-23 in a very close first set. In the second set, we dug ourselves into another hole and were unable to get ourselves out of it, losing set two 25-15. However, we turned it around in the third set, rallying to win 25-18! In the fourth set, we overcame an early deficit to tie the game up at around point 15. We were unable to finish the game off, though, and lost 25-22.

We played hard, and even though we didn't get the result we were hoping for, it was a good learning experience. After the match, we had a case of a missing warmup jacket, and after many miscommunications due to language barriers and scavenging around the gym, the Slovenians finally turned it over!

Later tonight, we will have a team meeting/video session to scout out the Brazilians and prepare us for the big match tomorrow! We are definitely eager to get back out on the court and win some matches!

July 25, 2013 * Taylor Tashima and Molly Sauer

Today was the first sunny day with almost no rain! Beautiful 80 degree weather. Beau met us at our hotel at 8:30 a.m. and we rode our bus over to the official practice facilities. We practiced in a new gym, one that we will potentially play in, and the stadium was huge! It's crazy to think how many people are going to be watching the World Championship.

Walking into the lobby after practice, we exchanged hellos with the Italian Youth National Team, and later saw Puerto Rico, Serbia, Mexico and Brazil. All of the teams rostered finally arrived at the hotel this afternoon in time for the opening dinner tonight.

During our second training session, we found a cat statue in the practice gym and just had to take a picture with it. At the opening dinner later that night, we were greeted with roses and shown into a huge, elegant ballroom. Each country was assigned tables and luckily ours was closest to the food. Thai performers did traditional Thai dances and the FIVB president handed out stuffed animals as a gift (it looked like the cat statue we took a picture with earlier in the day).

Our team is continuing to train hard in our final days before we start competition on the 27th. We look forward to opening ceremony, scouting teams and one of our few days of sleeping in tomorrow!

July 24, 2013 * Alexa Smith and Molly Haggerty

Hello readers,

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After traveling halfway across the world we are still trying to get used to the time change. A lot of us go to bed around 8 at night, but end up waking up around 3 in the morning because we are still used to the time in America.

This morning we got up and ate breakfast, but had some free time before we left for practice. Although there are TVs in the rooms, it is hard to find a channel in English. So a few of us spent our morning watching music videos in Thai that we found on the TV. They were actually pretty entertaining to watch!

For our training session, we went over to the venue that we will eventually compete in. In this session, we scrimmaged against Peru. We had a slow start, but ended up tying 2-2 in the four sets that we played. As usual, on the way home it was raining again.

This afternoon we got a chance to relax because we did not have a second session, but used the time to watch video on how we played today. Counting down the days til we have our first real match!

July 23, 2013 * Molly Haggerty and Audriana Fitzmorris

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Hello Readers,

So we're finally here after all those days of waiting! The flights went well for the most part and I think everyone slept some part of the plane ride. The airplane food was better than expected, and everyone seemed to be in a great mood while arriving in Thailand. Once we landed in Thailand, they checked our passports one last time. After that we were off on a three-hour bus ride.

On the bus ride everyone took a nap, and it felt great to catch up on some lost sleep. Getting to the hotel was awesome and everyone there greeted us so kindly! Once we all got into our rooms we changed and got ready to practice. We practiced for about an hour or so, but you wouldn't believe how much we all were sweating! It was very hot and humid, but felt good to practice again. After practice we went back to the hotel, had dinner, then went straight to bed.

Today was pretty exciting because we had practice in the morning, then had a scrimmage against Argentina! Everyone was very pumped to play them, and we ended up winning 4 sets to 0! Everyone can't wait for the tournament to start so we can compete at our greatest ability and represent USA!


July 18, 2013 * Tia Scambray and Alexa Smith

On this lovely Thursday we mixed it up a little. After eating breakfast, instead of having two team practices we split up our morning so we worked within our positions. This ended up being brutal for the setters and liberos because they had to leave an hour before us (the outsides and middles). So after our short practices we went and ate a second breakfast because we seem to constantly be starving to death. We got the usual stares from people that seem to say, 'who the heck are these giants' or "oh my! What planet are they from?'.

After our decadent breakfast we had the pleasure of watching the national team practice! We were all so excited because one day we all hope to be in their same position. When we returned from watching them play, we ate yet again another meal! At our team practice later in the afternoon, we mainly worked on our eye sequencing and blocking techniques. We also learned the importance of leadership on the court when tough situations arise.

When we came back to Cal State Fullerton, after meal number four, our amazing coaches took us on an adventure to Best Buy and Target! We only stayed at Best Buy for a small amount of time so we could get adapters for our phone chargers in Thailand.

Now at Target we had a grand ole time! We decided to play a joke on Denise Sheldon by sneaking up behind her and yelling while she was shopping for makeup. The only thing anyone really bought was food, which is reasonable because we heard that most of the Thai food goes right through you...if you know what I mean.

Then tonight after our team meeting Alexa and Tia decided to play jokes on everyone on the team. First Alexa would tell a few girls in the same room that something was going on outside and everyone had to come see. After everyone left the room Tia would run in and hide under one of the beds. Then after the girls came back in Tia would start to make noises and then grab one of the girl's legs hanging off the edge of the cushion. This continued throughout most of the night until all of the girls were in on the practical joke. The day then ended with watching funny YouTube videos and conversing with one another in Danielle and Alexa's room.

July 16, 2013 * Courtney Schwan

Yesterday we had a complete day for relaxation. We spent our time at the beach. We went to Tia's house and then walked to the beach. After we arrived we ate some delicious burgers and fruit. Next we walked to the beach and it definitely took longer than expected. We were happy and super excited to be going though.

When we finally arrived at the beach everyone started running because the sand was so hot. Once we finally got in the water you could easily tell who the locals were. They were shredding while the rest of us were struggling with the power of the waves. After the enjoyment of the water we spent the rest of our time at the beach just chilling in the sun.

When we returned to Tia's house we all enjoyed some swimming in the pool to wash off most of the sand. We had some ice cream and then it was time to return to campus. The last part of our day consisted of taking showers to get the last bit of sand washed away. We ended the day on a serious note with a team meeting consisting of things we needed to work on and other confidential information. Finally we went to bed because we were all dog tired and need to rest ourselves for the training days to come.

July 14, 2013 * Rhamat Alhassan

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Days six and seven have been the most exciting days of our training so far. Mostly because we're not training, but relaxing! On day six the team got to witness a live replay of Frazier going down.

After our morning training we went out to the Hodsen's to enjoy some food, pool time and team bonding that is so important for good teams. Pretty sure most of us would agree that we had the world's best cupcakes there, courtesy of Tia's mom.

At the end of the day half of us that still had some energy remaining decided to have ourselves a dance party. That was not the best idea because after that we were all extremely thirsty after a long day. We began a search for some water that ended up taking us through the campus of Cal State Fullerton where we are staying.

On day seven we had our first day off. Everyone woke up with the anticipation of going to the beach! A few of us were surprised by the giant waves that were coming, but all in all we all still have four limbs attached to our bodies which means we will have the opportunity to get up early tomorrow and play some volleyball and get better as a team.

July 13, 2013 * Rhamat Alhassan

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We're on day five of our California training, and new coaches arrived today. Andy and Mike were able to help us today with our training. Coach Stone was VERY generous and gave us a session off to rest our bodies. Instead we went to Walmart and took our visa pictures, which ended up looking more like mugshots. We had a few minutes there to buy whatever we wanted and needed. (mostly food)

After Walmart we came back and had a team meeting where we looked at the stats for the day. We also went over different types of plays to run and talked about naming them differently. Right after the meeting we had dinner and loaded up the vans to go watch the women's National Team play. On the way, Patchi didn't fail to get lost for the fifth time.

When we arrived at the pyramid where the national team played, everyone was mistaking us for the actual national team and we took a few pictures for them. We were mesmerized by the fast pace play of the national team. At the end of the second game we were introduced to the crowd and ran out to wave to them. All in all, today was a successful one in California with the Youth National Team.

July 12, 2013 * by Taylor Tashima and Jordyn Poulter

Hello readers!

We've been having a great time in Anaheim the past three days training for the FIVB World Championship in Thailand. We all flew into LAX and drove to California State University at Fullerton, where we sleep and have meals.

The California weather has been beautiful, and the food here is amazing!!! They have everything you could ever imagine: salad, pizza, burgers, stir fry, frozen yogurt, waffles and so much more. We've been doing double days with three-hour sessions and none of us have sweat so much in our lives! And might we add that our legs are dead...but we're definitely building some nice hamstring and quad muscles to get that beach bod for our day off on Sunday.

Every day we wake up around 7 a.m., have breakfast and we're on the court at the Anaheim Sports Centers at 9 a.m. At noon, we are back at Fullerton for lunch and have some down time until we head back to the gym for our last session at 3 p.m. During our breaks, our time is consumed by taking power naps, browsing social media, playing ping pong and catching up on our favorite shows. We eat dinner at 6 p.m. and typically have a meeting afterwards where we watch film from practice or volleyball clips of international competition.

At the American Sports Centers, we practice a court down from the Women's and Men's U.S. National Team. During our first training session, Coach Karch Kiraly, the head coach for the Women's National Team, came to our court and introduced himself to us. We all shook hands with him, some playing it cooler than others (*cough* Simone Lee).

At another one of our training sessions, a few of us had the opportunity to talk with Courtney Thompson and Jordan Larson. It was so cool!! It's awesome to be training alongside the National Team players as we look up to them and all aspire to someday be in their shoes.

We all can't wait to watch their match vs. Japan at Long Beach State tomorrow night! GO USA!