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Aug. 10, 2015

The 2015 Virginia volleyball team has started preseason training and our student-athletes will be providing insight each day. The Cavaliers open the season Aug. 28 at Loyola Marymount.

Wednesday, Aug. 26 – Senior Kayla Sears

It’s now the second day of school and I could not be more excited to get back into the swing of things. As much as I love summer break, I really enjoy having a routine schedule to my day and seeing fresh faces back on Grounds. Now that I’m finally a fourth year (still can’t believe it) my course load is extremely light. I guess that’s what being a fourth year is all about, all the hard work and late night studying has definitely paid off.

We had a good practice yesterday focusing on defense and blocking. Today we will work more on siding out and competition-type drills. We will have one final practice tomorrow morning before we head out to California which will definitely benefit us. The team has been working very hard this summer and during preseason and it is all coming together nicely. Now that we are only able to practice once a day we are making the best of the three hours we have to get better at the things we need to in order to play our best in these upcoming tournaments. I’m also excited that we get to start off the season in California. For some that don’t know, my parents moved to North Carolina last year so I haven’t been able to see close friends and family in a while. It will be awesome to see them and have them there supporting us!

I’m very excited to compete with this team for one last season and make it the best one yet with the help of our first years and Krystal. We all know that there is some unfinished business to handle and we are ready to make it happen!

Tuesday, Aug. 25 – Senior Natalie Bausback

Hey Hoos! Today is the first day of school and the last first day of school for me and my fellow fourth years Manon, Lauren and Kayla! Time sure does fly when you are having fun. I shed a little tear as I walked out of the bookstore carrying 12 books I need to read this semester but I guess that’s part of being a fourth year! It is hard to grasp that this is my last year as a student athlete at the University of Virginia and I think it is important for me to enjoy every minute I have at this beautiful institution starting with UVa Volleyball taking care of some unfinished business this season.

Preseason is officially over and I think it was the most successful preseason that I have been part of. Part of that had to do with the coaches being very reasonable with what we were going to do each day and I think the other part is that the team came in every practice and worked very hard, wanting to push each other. There are multiple players in each position, so from day one until our last practice of preseason we were all fighting for positions and competing hard for those spots on the starting side. And we will continue to fight the rest of the season. The atmosphere in the gym is very upbeat and fun due to how competitive it is; we all enjoy competing with each other and making each other better each day we are in the gym. Looking back on preseason, we improved a lot as a team and I think a lot of that has to do with all of us being healthy allowing us to scrimmage each other every night and play different 6-vs-6 games. We have a lot of talent on the team this year which is evident everyday in practice, we just need to figure out how to put the pieces together to allow us to be the best team we can be. I think the first years (Anna, Harley, Kat and Coral) and our transfer Krystal all worked extremely hard this preseason and definitely got better over the course of two weeks. It’s a new game than what they are use to especially the pace of the game and I think they have done a good job at adjusting to it so far. There is a very positive vibe in the gym from everyone and we are all excited for what UVa Volleyball 2015 has in store!

We have two practices this week before we head to LA Thursday to take on LMU and UCLA this weekend! They are two very good teams that we are excited to compete against and to see where we are at. These non-conference games are extremely important in helping teams’ RPIs and is a factor in determining whether or not teams make it to the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. This coming weekend is a chance for us to start out strong! There are a lot of Southern California girls on my team (including myself) so it will be fun to go to LA and play in front of all our family members and friends! Hope everyone will be able to follow our games this weekend and I hope everyone is ready for a great season! Go Hoos!!

Monday, Aug. 24 – Freshman Kat Young

So tomorrow is the first day of school! Today all of the first years are out and at various meetings to prepare us for what’s in store. It’s a lot different now that there are tons of people on campus. Lines at O-hill are ridiculously long, and the Corner is always packed. It’s crazy to think we are starting college for real this time! I’ve already met so many cool people and I think I’m finally ready to get going with the year.

Preseason ended on Saturday and we have had these past two days off. It has been an experience like no other, stepping into Mem Gym. The gym has no AC so it’s especially important to have a balanced diet throughout the day. I learned that the hard way the first time we practiced there.

Preseason overall has helped me grow as a player for sure. I have a lot to learn but have made a good start! The college game is much different than high school and typical clubs, but I am finding it very doable. The hard work we are doing right now will definitely help us make strides toward success this season, starting when we hit California this weekend!

Sunday, Aug. 23 – Sophomore Haley Fauntleroy

Preseason practices have officially ended! We finished with 6-on-6 scrimmages and it’s been pretty amazing to see things come together after all of the drills we’ve been working on to. The individuals, tedious digging, blocking and attacking drills have definitely paid off. Being able to see how the team applied what we learned in scrimmage was very rewarding. Each side of the net put up a good fight and we saw some pretty good competition all around from the team. I think our blocking is improving a lot based on what I’ve seen from us so far!

The drills we did the last two weeks that forced us to get our hands across the net definitely helped us get touches on the block and convert more touches to blocks as well. We are definitely serving more aggressively than before which is great for our passers now and will help get teams out of system in the future. We for sure have a lot more to work on but the whole team has made great strides and I think we’re ready to take on some competition in California! I’m happy to say I completed my first preseason on a good note, with my favorite kind of practice plan to end it all: game play.

Saturday, Aug. 22 – Freshman Harley Sebastian

Hey HOOS!!!

Sorry for the excitement but Coach Hohenshelt promised us that today is our last day of preseason as long as we play well! So as Meghan (McDowell) said before, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Being a first year, I was extremely nervous about preseason, but right from the start of it the girls made me see that we may all struggle but we are in it together! I am so happy I came here and I love all of my teammates and the coaches. Although preseason was mentally and physically draining, it was good for the whole team because you would push yourself even more when you saw your teammate doing the same. Since today is the last day (hopefully) we started out the day with a long treatment session from 10-12 with Stephan and Erin. God bless them and their magic healing hands. After treatments we have a practice from 2-5 which I’m sure will consist of a bunch of 6-on-6 drills, to put together all of the individual work we have put in over these past two weeks! Then pre-season (hopefully) WILL BE OVER! On Sunday we will have a long treatment and recovery day and we will have Monday off! I can’t wait to see how this pre-season has prepared us for the tough matches in California this coming weekend. As always, GO HOOS!!

Friday, Aug. 21 – Redshirt Sophomore Meghan McDowell

There is light at the end of the tunnel…..

Today marked the second to last day of our preseason grind. We started off the morning with some much needed TLC in the UHall training room from our modern day Mother Teresa, Stephan Bodkin. After a demanding round of practices in Mem Gym the previous day, Stephan has plenty of injured souls to keep himself occupied.

After treatments, we all headed back to Mem Gym to meet with our new academic coordinator, Kate. She briefed us on how to properly correspond with our Professors and TAs during travel weeks and how to manage our time and schedule effectively, just in time for our upcoming trip to California! We then heard a presentation from the student-run Honor Committee and discussed as a team some of the policies that govern our University.

After these meeting we dove into a long, 3-hour practice. Our primary focus today was serving, defense and passing. Coach Hohenshelt talked with us about how important it was for us to challenge our opponents from the serving line. We then proceeded to serve balls for longer than I care to remember. After serving reps, first year middle blocker, Kat Young, learned how to do a push up…. Big time.

We finished the second to last day with a team dinner at Mono Loco… Thanks for the burritos, Santa.

Thursday, Aug. 20 – Sophomore Krystal Ejesieme

Today was pretty cloudy here in Charlottesville, which was nice because it cooled down Memorial Gymnasium quite a bit. We only have a few days left of preseason, which means our first game is about a week away! Coming in as a transfer was a little nerve-racking and having to adjust to a new environment seemed daunting to me, but I have never felt more welcome in my life than I have at UVa. Each of my teammates radiated with their joy for volleyball and they all took me in with open arms. Not only that, but I’ve also enjoyed the academics here as well. Though I’ve only completed one class (philosophy), I’ve already learned how to think critically, how to communicate effectively and learned how to consider many viewpoints and modes of thought in analyzing and solving problems. I feel that with the help of my professors and the university, I will be able to tailor my own curriculum and discover issues appealing to my self-identity and curiosity. I can’t wait to thrive in an unpretentious intellectual environment, compete in the ACC and enjoy academics that are challenging and enlightening.

Today we started off at 10 a.m. with a “no jumping” practice. That means we didn’t hit, block or do anything else that involved jumping. It was meant to be a lighter practice, since we put in tons of work this preseason and needed to give our muscles a little rest and rehabilitation. First, we started with our normal warmup, which involved agilities, stretching, and loosening up our shoulders with elastic bands. We mostly worked on serving and fine-tuning our defensive skills. Though there wasn’t any jumping, we still got some sweat going by completing different drills, such as timed serve receive, serving to specific areas of the court under pressure, and digging off-speed balls. After an hour and thirty minutes of volleyball, we ended practice with another round of shoulder stretching. Tonight we have another practice at 3 p.m. and then we are off for the rest of the night. I can’t wait for what lies ahead because I know we will all enjoy every second of it. Go Hoos!

Wednesday, Aug. 19 – Redshirt Sophomore Alex Thorson

Now that we are halfway through week two, we need to power up and grind through these long practices and work on getting better. After finishing a three-hour practice Tuesday night working on our lineups, transition plays, and 6-on-6 drills, we ended with an amazing catered meal. After a long practice that was nice to come down to the locker room and see. With the heat being so high in Memorial Gym, we’ve been working hard to drink lots of water and Gatorade so we can be in the gym a little bit longer.

Wednesday morning we started off with a lift, working on keeping our shoulders and legs strong for our upcoming season opener in California vs. LMU. Later on we will have a tough four-hour practice to finish out the afternoon and night and smooth out some bumps and come together as a team and work out some issues that we need to get better at. I believe that as a whole this preseason, there has been more good than bad, and I am extremely proud of our team and how far we have come since Day One.

Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Senior Manon Fuller

We’re back in Memorial Gym this week for our last week of pre season before we leave for our first preseason tournament in Los Angeles! Although we all love being back in our home gym with our locker room right downstairs, I think we all forgot what Mem feels like at this time during the summer. Despite the heat, we put two good practices together yesterday and were in early this morning for a quick, but technical practice. Later today, we will have a competitive three hour practice where Dennis will experiment with different lineups and continue to develop and prepare the team for the tough upcoming matches that we have in store for us this preseason. I cannot begin to explain how excited the entire team is to start this 2015 season and execute what we have worked on against some of the top teams in the country this year!

In other exciting news, today is media day! Which also means the last media day for me and the rest of the fourth years (it’s all going by so fast!).

Monday, Aug. 17 – Junior Karlie Suber

First week of preseason is in the books and we are rested and excited to continue working in the gym this next week. Through the Orange and Blue Scrimmage on Saturday we learned a lot about our team dynamics and what we will need to work on going into our first preseason games. We had the day off to recover from the scrimmage and we spent it meeting the fans at Meet the Team Day at John Paul Jones Arena, and rehabbing to ensure we are ready to work this week.

After this morning’s lift, we helped move our hard working first years into their new dorms for the year. Though we have been doing a lot of bonding in the gym and in the ice bath, helping move them in created a new way for our team to bond and help each other out. The upperclassmen are very proud of how far the first years have come since the beginning of the summer, and we are excited to watch them continue to grow and mature just as we did.

There was a lot for us to take away from this weekend and we are looking forward to bettering our game and preparing for LMU in 11 days. Thanks to all the fans that came out to the scrimmage and we look forward to seeing everyone on September 4th for the VCU game.

Sunday, Aug. 16 – Junior Haley Kole

The first week of pre season is officially over for UVa Volleyball! After working hard for 5 days in the gym, we ended our week by hosting our annual Orange and Blue Scrimmage at Memorial Gym on Saturday. The Orange and Blue game is a great opportunity for us to show the fans what we have been working on all off season and during preseason. It’s also a time when our first years can get acclimated to playing in Memorial Gym in a more serious match-like environment. Overall the team played well, and it gave us plenty of new skills we will be working on into the upcoming second week of pre season.

However, today the coaching staff was generous enough to give us a day off, but here at UVa Volleyball there are no days off. So we spent this morning going around to local Charlottesville businesses and restaurants handing out posters and promoting our team. Following that, our entire team attended Meet the Teams day at John Paul Jones Arena for all fall sports. Both of these events were fantastic opportunities for us to reach out to the local community and fans, and promote UVa Athletics. With this day off and extra rehab session this morning, I know the team will be fresh and strong and ready to compete in the gym Monday morning!

Saturday, Aug. 15 – Freshman Anna Walsh

Hey Hoos!!!! Wow, I can’t believe we’ve already finished our first week of pre-season here in good ole’ Charlottesville! This past week has been a great way for us first years to adjust to the tempo and pace of Virginia volleyball as well as Coach Hohenshelt’s way of coaching. The returning players have been incredibly welcoming, and I feel so lucky to have them to lean on and learn from. It has been a blast grinding with the team and getting ready for our pre-season matches in LA!

Today we have our first Orange and Blue scrimmage at 4 pm in Mem Gym. It’s gonna be a fun and competitive environment, and a good way to get the fans ready and excited for season!!! I can’t wait for conference games and the road ahead this year. It’s going to be a great year and one to remember! WAHOO!!

Friday, Aug. 14 – Junior Jasmine Burton

Committed. That’s the word that has been instilled in our minds this preseason and is going to be practiced all year. The goal is to be committed to everything that we do, not only in the gym but in the classroom as well. The whole team is on the same page. We want to win. We want to go to the tournament. We want our program to go to the next level.

So far this preseason we have been doing a lot of team drills and playing instead of breakout work. By doing this, we are getting use to playing next to everyone on the court and building more of a team chemistry. We have been working a lot on serving and passing and attacking out of system balls. I think that in the long run this will really help us be ready for out of system situations. We have been putting in some really good work!

The team has been working really hard this season and I am really excited to see what we can do this year!

Thursday, Aug. 13 – Junior Lexi Riccolo

Helllllllooooo Hooooooos! I am reporting live from Cville on day four of preseason! After a hard couple of three-a-day’s, we were graced with some extra sleep from our Head Coach Dennis Hohenshelt. We started the day off with a late lift with our favorite weight coach ever, Bill Miller. While preseason is taking it’s toll on our bodies, we still have made it a priority to maintain our strength in the weight room. After lift we had a little team bonding session in the training room with a scheduled team ice bath.

Even though the first few days of preseason have been taxing on everyone’s body, we are slowly adjusting, and I for one am starting to feel more like a 20-year-old and less like a senior citizen. Thanks to a little extra sleep, everyone is feeling fresh and strong for today’s two practices. Our first practice today is a self schedule. We are able to schedule a time with the coaches and work on individual skills before the team reconvenes as a whole for practice tonight. Everyone is feeling healthy and excited to continue challenging one another in the gym. Almost every drill so far this week has been a competition and the hunger to win is certainly evident in each session. The next two days will be all about continuing to prepare for our Orange and Blue Scrimmage this Saturday at Mem Gym (at 4 p.m. – open to the public).

Peace. Love. And Go Hoos!

Wednesday, Aug. 12 – Freshman Coral Kazaroff

Day three of preseason! We started off the morning with the usual warm up, followed by serving drills where we had to hit specific targets in the other side and record our percentages. The importance of averages was stressed, along with the necessity of improving upon the individual average and measuring performance in that way. We finished up the morning session with some serve and pass, focusing on the new techniques.

For the second session, we broke into position specific groups. For us little people, we began with this drill where there were three people throwing balls from the other side, each at staggered depths; one person about ten feet in the court, the next at he end line, and the third ten feet behind the end line. We worked on moving our feet quickly in order to get the ball in our midline and keep our feet and hips in he right position. We did progressions that began with tossing and ended in the other side serving to us, and added another person on the passing side to add in the communication factor and work on the seams. When we finished this, we did run throughs at every position in the back row and worked up a sweat while we concentrated on staying on our feet and getting the ball to the target. Now we have the next session to focus on, where we look forward to employing the techniques we’ve been learning and playing hard!

Tuesday, Aug. 11 – Sophomore Haley Lind

Preseason has finally begun for UVa volleyball! After training hard all summer, everyone was excited to get back in the gym and work hard. In our first practice, we played some 4-on-4 then completed our jump and fitness testing. With that out of the way, in our second session we had individuals and focused more on certain skills. Each position got the opportunity to have a 1-on-1 with a coach and work on the technical parts of our game. In our last practice of the day we got to scrimmage and played hard for a full two hours.

It was fun to see how much everyone has improved and the intensity and effort we gave made me confident that this team is going to do big things this year! Day 2 has been mostly defense and this morning’s session was focused on digging and getting every ball up. After some rest and an ice bath, we are ready to get back at it tonight for another intense few hours of competition. So for preseason has been tough but very successful. We are all fully committed to this team and I can’t wait to see our hardwork pay off in the future.

Monday, Aug. 10 – Senior Lauren Fuller

Hey `Hoos! Today is a very exciting day because it is the first day of preseason! Yay! I don’t know about you all, but my teammates and I have been looking forward to this day since the end of spring. Not only does preseason mean that we can get back in the gym and start training with our coaches and teammates, but it also means that for fourth years Manon Fuller, Kayla Sears, Natalie Bausback and I, it is the beginning of our last season as UVa Volleyball players. Although I am not entirely sure how to feel about this yet, all I know is that we have a lot of unfinished business to take care of and we are all so excited to get back in the gym.

As a team we have talked a lot about how much we want to win and do well in the ACC, and preseason is the perfect place to start putting action behind our words. To help us out, there are a few new faces in the gym including first years Coral Kazaroff, Kat Young, Harley Sebastian and Anna Walsh, and one transfer in Krystal Ejesieme from UTEP. The group, with both newcomers and returners are committed to the team and to our goals. What we did this summer and what we do in these next few weeks will prepare us for the rest of the season and I have a feeling that it is about to be the best one yet! Thanks for stopping in and as always, go `Hoos!!

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