Jordan Bostic is a defensive specialist for the 2007 NMSU Aggies volleyball team. Jordan was second on the team in both digs (311) and digs per game (2.47) and was named to the academic All-WAC team in 2006 with a GPA of 4.0. Jordan will be a senior in the fall and is majoring in Journalism/Mass Communication and she'll be filing entries in the Aggie Volleyball Diary throughout the 2007 season, giving fans a taste of life on the volleyball team.
One weekend into the season, and we are 4-0! That's what I'm talking about! I'll be honest, it wasn't always pretty, but a win is a win, and we got four of them. Can't complain, that's for sure.
Those of you that have been following our team for the past couple of years, you will notice that we look a little different than prior seasons. This weekend at Northern Arizona, we bounced back and forth between two different offenses. The traditional offense we have been running for the past years is known as a 5-1, which means only using one setter who played for all six rotations. Now, we are also sometimes using a 6-2 offense where there are two setters who each play only the three back row rotations.
Why would we change our offense? Well, the 6-2 certainly has benefits. Since our setters aren't that big of blockers (Brynja Rogers is about 5'9 and Alyssa Gintant is about 5'10), the 6-2 lets us substitute better blockers for them when they get to the front row. Against some of the very, very tall teams we are about to face (Texas, Louisville, Duke, Nebraska), having a large block could be very critical.
In the 6-2 offense, we use twice as many substitutes as usual, and we are only allowed 15 subs per match. In a close match, we would probably come very close to reaching the limit of subs. As a result, we have to conserve subs, so you won't see many defensive specialists being subbed in to play back row. On the flip side, we will have 6'3 blockers on the right side at all times, and that's pretty awesome.
Ok, enough shop talk! I'll give you the scoop on the NAU tourney and our match with Texas Southern. First of all, congratulations to Lindsey Yon, who was named Tournament MVP at NAU. For people who don't know Lindsey's story, she was close to giving up volleyball all together last spring after playing two seasons at Texas A&M. Coach Jordan talked her into coming to play for NMSU, and we are so glad that she is here. She's a great teammate and fit in right away. Lindsey is already playing great, but she is still shaking off some rust and recuperating from surgery for a broken arm. I can only imagine what she's going to be like at 100 percent!
Also, congrats to Krystal Torres, who was named Outstanding Libero at the tournament this past weekend. Unless you are familiar with volleyball, you probably have no idea how hard it is to be a libero. Krystal gets very little glory, but she has one of the toughest jobs on the court. She passed practically perfect serve receive the entire weekend, which is so hard to do. A good float serve is equivalent to a nasty curveball in baseball, and they have the ability to make passers look pretty bad when they suddenly change direction. Krystal is a pro at handling it though, and she was on fire this past weekend. As a result of her consistent passing, we were usually “in system” and able to run all of our offensive plays with no problem.
Our all-everything senior middle blocker Kim Oguh was also named to the All-Tournament team. It's becoming pretty normal for Kim to get these accolades, but she definitely deserves them. Her knees are sore, but you would never know it because she is still twice as quick as the poor players on the other teams that have to try and keep up with her! I'm just glad she's on MY team, because she sure is hard to stop.
Overall, the weekend at NMSU was pretty typical for opening tournaments in a lot of ways. We had moments of brilliance and other moments that weren't so great. As a team, we are still getting used to the new lineups and developing our team chemistry, but I really think we made huge steps forward in those areas this weekend.
We woke up at 4 AM on Sunday, drove to Phoenix and flew home. We got home about noon, squeezed in a quick nap and then headed up to the Pan Am for pregame. I think we were all a little tired, but we had a secret weapon for waking up: our friends at Special Olympics. Two hours prior to the game, we spent 30 minutes with the local Special Olympics athletes and taught them how to play volleyball. It was so much fun, and their enthusiasm was contagious. We were all laughing and having a great time, and I think it really refreshed us for the match against Texas Southern.
With some of our players exhausted from a long weekend of playing, our younger players really stepped up and did some great things. Whitney Phillips, Alex Steinmetz, Kelli Goodan and Brynja Rogers all got valuable experience and did really well.
I've said it before that we have great depth this year, and I think that was evident last night. Look for that to be a theme throughout the season. In past years, we really haven't had the ability to sub in new players if someone wasn't playing well. Now, we have great players at all positions that are ready to go in the game at all times. Coach Jordan was saying that where in past years we have only used 7 or 8 players, we will be consistently utilizing 10 or 11 players this year. That's a big advantage and will make a huge difference for us.
Up next: Texas and Houston, and then UNM. It's a big, big weekend ahead. Texas is ranked fourth in the country, so that will be a great opportunity for us. We are very excited about the challenge… I'm getting pumped just thinking about it!
I'm getting pretty long-winded in these blogs, so I think it's about time I shut up. One last thing, though. We have a new cheer we do on the bench- we call it our Tiger Woods. Whenever we get a kill, we say “Yaaa!” and then “YAAAAA!!” with a huge, over-exaggerated fist pump/uppercut punch(Tiger-winning-the-Masters-in-1997-style)! We would love for the crowd to start joining in. Ok, I'm officially shutting up now…
Wait, one last thing: GO AGGIES!!