Inside Lobo Volleyball With Devanne Sours
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/07/2014
New Mexico volleyball sophomore Devanne Sours is giving you Lobo fans an inside scoop of what is happening in the 2014 preseason. Each day there will be an update from the previous day on the activities the team participates in, plus a little talk about their practices. The Lobos are very excited for the 2014 season and we want you to be as well. Go Lobos! 

Devanne SoursSours is currently a sophomore on the team. In her freshman season, she played in 27 matches with eight starts at outside hitter. She averaged 1.59 kills per set with 89 total kills. Sours had a season-high of 12 kills in 2013 on Nov. 23 at Nevada. She was a 2013 Mountain West Academic All-Conference recipient and at the end-of-the-year volleyball banquet, her team voted her the Most Improved Player. 

 Day 1

As all of the Lady Lobos filed in the team room for our first meeting of the year, I could see all of the excitement and nervousness on everyone’s faces. The freshies were looking a little bit anxious, and I’m sure after they heard about all of the stuff we have to do, that their anxiousness got a wee bit worse. For all of the returners, all of this stuff was exactly what we expected. After a quick talk with the coaches, we got Christmas in August! One of the favorite things that was showed off repeatedly was our new Nike shoes that we got, they are nice!

Quickly after we got all of our new gear folded and put away, we headed straight to the Lobo Club Board Room to meet with Dawn for compliance paperwork. After we went over the rules and what not to do, the people that were staying in the hotel headed off to check in before our next meeting back at Johnson with the coaches.

Faith gave us our school planners (which runs my whole life) and talked to us about study hall and academics. Then Jeff, Lisa, and JJ went over guidelines for the newcomers. Also, he made the sophomores stand up and teach the freshman the UNM fight song. Then following that unbelievable act, the little freshies had to perform it to our standards, which took them awhile, but they finally got it. Then to top all that off, Chantale had to stand up and pump the team up with her version of the fight song, which included hopping and skipping around, while high-fiving and fist pumping while singing.

We all got to know each other a little bit more as we went around the room and talked about ourselves and had to answer questions from the team. Everyone got made fun of just a little, but it was all in good spirits. We ended our day by eating at Sandiago’s at the Tram. The day ended on a positive note as we all laughed and told stories and reminisced. Everyone is pumped and excited to kick off our first practice tomorrow.

 Day 2

Walking into Johnson gym this morning gave me goose-bumps. Our whole team was finally getting to play volleyball together for the first time…..and I think that everyone shared my eagerness to finally get started. Hitters lubed their feet up and got their ankles taped in preparation for the damage that was coming to our feet. I think that Kate, our athletic trainer, may have had a little panic attack when she finally got rolling and she had so much to do, and figured out how many girls to put up with!

Practice started with some good solid touches on the ball, like passing and setting with a partner, then we moved into some cooperative drills that seemed to go pretty smoothly for the first day. The day progressed, and it seemed to go by pretty fast, and we finally got to hitting lines. The funniest things I remember were Julia jumping up and down screaming “I LOVE VOLLEYBALL” for about 5 seconds, and Cassie bright red with a huge smile on her face after hitting on the box saying how happy she was that she could take her anger out on the ball.

Our setters put in some awesome work today, and got quite a few touches when we moved into team drills in the afternoon session. We got to know each other’s games and styles a little bit better today and I can’t wait to see how well we can work together in the future. The defensive specialists all probably have too many strawberries and bruises to count already from hitting the floor and running balls down, and us hitters couldn’t appreciate what they do more. I love playing beside all of them and watching what amazing work they do every play.

Day 2 of preseason ended with a much-needed ice bath and a trip to Applebee’s for dinner. Needless to say that Cassie was a little bit cold, she had on sweatpants, a hoodie, a sweater wrapped around her waist, and then a jacket on top of her head…….but yet was somehow still shivering. Our bellies are full and we are ready to get some sleep and knockout another day of preseason bright and early in the morning! 

 Day 3

Today started off super early with weights, but we hit it hard and never stopped. Not to say that we weren’t a little bit stiff, but we pushed through it without question. We rushed from weights to practice and got started as soon as we could. We worked on multiple skills today and maybe some parts could have gone a little better, but I can definitely say that we improved as a team.

The freshmen are fitting in with our team perfectly. Each one seems to be adding something positive to the team and doing their part to make everyone better. Our little Sam is hanging with the outsides and proving that short kills can hang with us tall ones! Steph and Taylor are driving all the hitters crazy because they dig everything and their serves are a little bit scary as well. Mariessa and Victoria are working their butts off and swinging away up there in the front row and each getting better by the day.

In one of our sessions today, we got to play queens, which is our FAVORITE game/drill of all time! There was quite a lot of excitement as we started off, and when we started, we went off. From the amazing digs to the crazy kills, I’d say it was a pretty entertaining part of practice, I’m pretty sure Jeff got a few laughs too.

The afternoon session seemed a little bit long, but overall it was very successful. All the Lobo volleyball players will be up and ready again tomorrow morning after a good night’s rest and some more food in our bellies! 

 Day 4

This morning before practice, the team showed quite a bit of energy dancing around the locker room listening to our crazy music, and it helped start the day off on a positive note. We focused in on different skills today and everyone got some good touches on the ball. After that we worked on transition drills, which helps the hitters know where to get to off and on the net at different times. It was a great morning!

We had a delicious lunch at Jason’s Deli, then we headed back to the locker room for a quick cat nap before we got after it again. The afternoon session consisted of a scrimmage that was very competitive and fun. Playing together and on opposing sides of the net of your teammates really helps you learn about them and helps you learn their habits as well, and vice versa.

All of us are looking forward to a day off to rest our bodies and have a little bit of team bonding time. We will back at hard Monday morning with weights! 

 Day 5

Today was the Lady Lobos day off of training, but we got in some good team bonding time. At lunch time, we ate at Dion’s, then headed straight from there to complete a certain task that Jeff assigned us. We each got 10 posters and were asked to go to businesses around the Albuquerque area and see if we could display them in their windows. It may sound simple, but we were placed in groups of four or five, so we had quite a few posters to put up. We definitely were spread out in different areas, some on Central, Lomas, Jefferson, Paseo, and areas close to Rio Rancho.

I know that our group had fun singing and asking around different places, and I hope all the other groups did as well. We would love all the support we can get and we don’t expect it to just be handed to us! We ended with dinner at Macaroni Grill, and now everyone is back at home resting up, drinking water, and preparing for the day ahead of us tomorrow! 

 Day 6

Our days started out at about 5:30 this morning with weights and rehab before weights and we have been going ever since then! After our great weights session this morning, we headed back to our home at Johnson and began setting nets up for the day. Today was different from all of the other days though…….today was media day! During our lunch break, I am pretty sure there was absolutely no walking room in our locker room because everyone was hustling to get ready. There were girls in front of mirrors…..everywhere!

All of that seems really odd to me, because most of the time that I see all of these girls, it’s no makeup, hair pulled back, and ready to work hard, so this was a nice change! After each class worked so hard to figure out what their poses were going to be, we finally got all the pics snapped and headed back to change for practice. We warmed up and got to play queens while the media people were there, and I think we accidentally hit a couple of them with a ball, but everyone survived, no worries!

Then we hit practice hard with some competitive drills, and I think everyone had some fun. Even though today seemed to fly by, we got quite a bit accomplished. We got Rudy’s amazing barbecue for dinner and headed off to a meeting we had to attend with some of the other sports teams to end our day. Looking forward to a new, bright sun-shiny day tomorrow! 

 Day 7

Today we seemed to start out a little bit slow, I think everyone was a little bit tired, but we definitely improved throughout the day. Our morning started off with two rounds of plyos to help us get warm. We moved into some cooperative drills and the morning progressively increased in intensity. Our team is very competitive in every aspect of practice, whether its competition between players or between teams that Jeff splits us into. I think that is what is going to help us keep raising our level of play every day, is each one of us pushing each other to get better.

The afternoon session went amazingly well. We got after it and worked hard on everything, especially our blocking. I can’t say that there isn’t a little bit of trash talking on opposing sides of the net between teammates when someone gets stuff blocked (especially between Cassie and Chantale).

Chantale is doing an awesome job of helping to raise the level of intensity, along with all of the other returners. The freshman are following right there with us and making changes and getting better every day. We are starting to work better as a team, and I can see the potential that we are going to have this year, and I can’t even begin to contain my excitement!

The freshman get to move into the dorm tonight so they might be a little stressed out, but at least they won’t be living out of a suitcase anymore. The beginning of the school-year is coming very soon and I think they are nervous and maybe a little bit not ready for summer to be over, but nevertheless, it is here. We have weights in the morning and will start another day of training tomorrow.

 Day 8

This morning in practice we got lots of good passing and setting touches. We are all learning how to pass with each other and figuring out a few things but it is all working out nicely. Middle and setters got some one on one time and had lots of fun working on footwork. Nothing too special really happened this morning but it was a great practice!

When we returned after lunch for practice, we had a little bit of a surprise……we got our new court shoes! I think the general consensus is that everyone loves them! Then…the coaches decided that we got to pick a warm up game to play…..and we chose dodgeball! We had a blast and everyone definitely worked up a solid sweat trying to beam people with the ball.

After that we got started warming up our arms and getting some more passing touches and slowly worked our way into some scrimmages that focused on blocking. It may just sound like we had an ordinary day, but all I know is we put in some good, hard work and are determined to conquer yet another day of preseason tomorrow. 

 Day 9

This morning was a chill morning and good for our legs because only the passers and setters came in and we just worked on passing. The middles got a break until 10 o’clock, which was probably good for them to get in some good rehab and rest before we hit it hard in the afternoon session. We also got to play our favorite serving game, around the world, multiple times and we had so much fun. And we also got to play queens, again, YAY!

We got a good nap in at lunch and then for the afternoon session, we worked really hard. What is really funny is that we have been in different gyms in Johnson, but for the past few days we have been in the auxiliary gym. The problem is, it was waxed and cleaned and everything and any time we dive, it leaves an oily, slippery sweat mark across the floor. This proved to be a little bit dangerous today because Hannah used her super power speed to take off and save a ball and ended up slamming against the ground quite hard. We constantly have to grab towels and mop up the floor, so one of our brilliant helpers taped a bunch of towels to a mop and mops it up in the middle of plays, THANK GOODNESS!

Tomorrow morning we have weights bright and early and it will be our last weight session of preseason, which is a little bit sad/exciting. I don’t really know what we have in store for our day tomorrow, but I know that whatever it is, Jeff plans it out to help everyone get better at something. Ready for a brand new day! :) 

 Day 10

This morning we did a variety of drills that all required a lot of sweat. We did a game called Hitters Hell, and the passers favorite game, ten in a row. We got lots of repetitions in every position and gained a little bit more knowledge about the game. We worked on serving some different zones, doing run throughs, and then just simple peppering to gain some ball control and help get our arms warmed up. Overall, we had a pretty successful morning.

When we came back in the afternoon session, little did we know that we would sweat twice as much as we did before. When we started cooperative pepper over the net, everyone was going at it and making some amazing saves. By the time Jeff said stop, the floor was filled with sweat spots and everyone was dripping and ready for a drink of water. After hydration and a few more drills, we did this game called Three Strikes, which means the defense has 3 strikes to get 30 defensive digs in row with a coach hitting at us. It took us awhile but all groups finally got this accomplished.

Everything is coming to a close quick, as tomorrow will be our final two practices of preseason. The middles will have a break in the morning and setters and passers will get in some more reps, and then we will scrimmage in the afternoon session. I can’t wait to see how much everyone has improved since we scrimmaged the last time. This preseason was awesome and I know that every one of the girls has made great gains! 

 Day 11

The final day of preseason was a little bit bittersweet. We got to sleep in for a little bit and started the morning session at 10 instead of 8:30. We had a serve and pass with the setters and passers and we got some really good reps in. That is what we usually do on game days so that we save our legs for the game. The morning wasn’t really exciting, and felt extremely short, but it was a great practice.

For the afternoon session, all we had in store was a scrimmage. We had scrimmaged a week earlier and watched it on film to see ourselves play, and this time, we were looking for improvement. Not only did the freshman improve immensely, so did the returners. Every single person on the team worked hard this preseason and it showed on the last day. We didn’t have to change anything in practice to help the freshman out because they were able to jump right in and the level of play never changed. They all started out playing at a really high level and it has just gone up from there.

Each person on the team is contributing in their own certain way, and it is an amazing sight to see. We are each pushing each other to get better and the friendly competition is one of the best things about practice. We may have a little bit of fun talking crap to each other at the gym, but we all know that it is just part of the game, and even though we laugh at it, it makes us work that much harder.

After the awesome scrimmage, we got in some serving and then we stretched and got in our final huddle of preseason. Boy were we excited to shout “Bos” for the last time of preseason. We made it together, and it was a little bit rough on our bodies, but it was well worth it. I cannot wait for everyone to come out and see us play, because I think that everyone is going to be impressed. The Lobo volleyball team is working hard and is ready to make a statement. Hope to see everyone on August 29th for our first game! Go Lobos!!! 


Saturday, August 22
7:00 PM - 
vs. Alumnae (Exhibition)