Getting Ready for the Big Brawl -- The Horizon League Tournament That Is…
By junior middle blocker, Kelly Mischler
It's "Middle Blocker" birthday week in GBVB-land. Mine was yesterday (November 16) and Carmen Leitermann's is on Saturday. It is definitely good stuff alright, but the big story here is the Horizon League Tournament. This is the big time - what we play for all season. How do you prepare for such a big event one might ask? Well, I'll tell ya!
This will be the third time this season we will be playing teams in the conference. We all have scouted each other many times. We take a look at what teams like to run offensively and what their tendencies are. Then we take what we see on tape or what coaches are telling us and use it in practices to get our defense adjusted. It could be anything from different play sets our opponent will run to its defensive schemes to the personnel we will see on the other side of the net.
We also prepare for big matches by competing hard in practice, and playing games that have the element of "battle" in them. In order to win, we have to get ready when we walk in the gym, put on the battle gear and get down and dirty. My new favorite game is called The Grind (Coach loves making the game names sound epic and intense). There is a certain amount of time put on the clock (like 15 or 20 minutes) and it is a straight up game of pure volleyball. After your team sides out, you only have 7 seconds to get the ball to the next server; otherwise it's an automatic point for the other team which makes it a fast-paced game. You are able to earn bonus points for certain things so even if your team finds itself with a big deficit, there are things you can do to get back into the game. Unforced errors are minus one for your team and a plus one for the other team, so puts us in a position to "take care of the ball." The reason why I like it so much is because we have to figure out what to do and how to win. There is no time for time outs or anything to slow the game down; everything has to come from the players so it's up to us to change the momentum to our side of the net.
We have worked hard all season to get to this point, and we know that all the other teams in the tournament have worked hard as well. On Friday it will come down to who is ready for a battle and who wants it more. I know in my heart that GBVB is ready. So make sure you are ready, Horizon League Tournament, because here comes the Phoenix!!!