Dec. 3, 2009
Hey Lobo Fans!
I made an executive decision last night/early this morning to cut our volleyball student-athletes a break on the Lobo VolleyBlog this week. As you can imagine, their minds are trying to remain focused on the task at hand while we are in Los Angeles for the First and Second Rounds of the 2009 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. So you are stuck with me ... I'll try to give you an update a few times a day, walking you through our NCAA adventures. Besides, doing the blog I'm not limited to 140 characters and the number of tweets I send in a 2-hour window (sorry about the fifth set at UNLV, folks).
A reminder for everyone, Friday night's match will be video streamed - LIVE and FREE!! The links are available on the front page of GoLobos.com (scroll down to the schedule of events) and on the Hawai'i listing on the GoLobos.com volleyball schedule/results page. Or you can CLICK HERE to link to the video stream.
So welcome to the 2009 NCAA Tournament edition of the Lobo VolleyBlog!
Everyone's a Lobo! Woof, woof, woof!
- Judy Willson, Assistant Media Relations Director
Dec. 4, 4:30 p.m. (PT) ... Almost Game Time! ... Okay, 14 years without a trip to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament by the New Mexico Lobos comes to an end in 46:30, 46:29, 46:28 ... you get the idea. Don't forget to tune in to the LIVE AND FREE webcast from the links on GoLobos.com! Or click on LIVE AND FREE.
A couple of behind the scenes housekeeping things that shows this is different from a regular road tournament ...
1. The public address announcer has to be as neutral as possible. That is probably one of the toughest things to do when you have your own team on site. But I have faith that the USC guy will do a great job.
2. I can not twitter the play-by-play like I did during the regular season. So for those of you that checked in on www.twitter.com/jwillson10 during our road matches this season, I'll try to do a periodic update at the timeouts and between sets. And thank you for bearing with me as we try out new social media for our coverage of Lobo athletics.
That should be it for now. I expect to hear lots of cheering for the Lobos from Galen Center Section 103!
Next update will be the post-match story on GoLobos.com! See you then!
Dec. 4, 11 a.m. (PT) ... GAME DAY!! ... IT'S GAME DAY in Los Angeles! We had a great team dinner last night at The Chart House in Marina Del Rey, even snuck in a little NCAA Tournament dessert. Dessert is usually a no-no on the menu. :)
Before dinner, Jeff, Janice, Breda and I attended the tournament administrative meeting. For me it was a little 2002 NCAA Volleyball Tournament reunion. I was the local media coordinator for the national championships in New Orleans that year. Two of our teams on site were head coach Mick Haley and the USC Women of Troy, the eventual national champions that weekend, and head coach Dave Shoji and the Rainbow Wahine of Hawai'i. I also had a student from a Mississippi junior college as one of my top volunteers, Cassie (Chance) Gage, who is now the volleyball media relations director for the Oklahoma Sooners. It was great to catch up with all of them. The longer you stay in college athletics the smaller your world can get.
We had our morning closed practice, going through our normal game day routine. Things are going good. It looks like we will have quite a few fans with us at the Galen Center tonight, along with some of the UNM cheerleaders and the UNM mascot Big Louie.
Rumor has it the Indiana Pacers are staying at our hotel at some point during our trip. So we might run into Lobo alum Danny Granger before we get out of town. Right now the Miami Heat is at the hotel, so the Dwyane Wade watch is on.
For those of you unable to join us in Los Angeles, you can watch the FREE live video stream on your computer from links on the front page of GoLobos.com. Did I mention it is FREE?!
On a side note, happy 14th birthday to my niece Rebekah! Bekah, have a fun day at school and I hope you enjoy your new Lobo volleyball t-shirt!
Dec. 3, 3 p.m. (PT) ... Behind the Scenes (video) ... We had a good practice this afternoon for our designated 90 minutes. Shot a little video to add to the end-of-the-year highlight video and for our wonderful video coordinator, Katie, to work her magic for GoLobos.com on Monday. Katie Brutlag joined the UNM staff this past summer after graduating from Nebraska. Any of the feature videos you see on GoLobos.com under Lobo TV are the work of Katie and our media relations student assistant Dave Lepre. They do a great job of keeping our internet video features fresh and current for your enjoyment.
Had a little post-practice lunch at Panda Express and time for a break before Jeff Nelson, Janice Ruggiero, Breda Bova and I head back to the Galen Center for our tournament administrative meeting.
See you after dinner!
Dec. 3, 8 a.m. (PT) ... "I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan welcome to the land of fame excess, am I gonna fit in?" --- The first verse to Miley Cyrus' `Party in the USA' sums up the last 14 hours for the Lobo volleyball team.
We got to the Albuquerque Sunport around 7 p.m. for our 8:30 p.m. departure only to find out our flight was delayed an hour. So we found the closest television to our gate and got to watch the Lobo men's basketball team take down No. 25 Cal in a great game! I'm sure I annoyed a couple of people around us because it is a rare occasion when I get to yell at the t.v. or cheer for one of our teams, because I'm usually working the games. And just before we boarded our flight at 9:30 p.m., I got a text that the UNM women's had beaten New Mexico State in Las Cruces. Congratulations to both teams! Keep it up so we can keep adding to our amazing list of Lobo athletics teams advancing to NCAA postseason this year!
Finally! We get to LAX around 10:30 p.m., Pacific time, with our dreams of NCAA glory running through our heads and our cardigans because it was still in the 60's when we landed. Left the winter coats in Albuquerque for this trip! And if you've been around our team much this season, you know that they know every word to this song. Usually at full volume!
So, are we going to fit in? Absolutely! This team has worked hard all season and over the previous two seasons to prove to the NCAA Committee that it belongs on the national stage. From pumping up the strength of schedule, winning key matches against regionally and nationally strong programs, to building a wild and crazy fan base that has made coming to Albuquerque a nightmare for opposing teams. This program is headed in the right direction!
Well, time for breakfast and our mandatory open practice at the Galen Center at noon. Catch you later!