By Todd Dagenais - 7/24/12 - Blog Entry No. 3
Watch Team USA take on the Dominican Republic HERE. The match is set for 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
Yesterday we finished the training phase of the USA High Performance experience and today we started to competition phase against a very talented Canadian Junior National team this morning. It was a really exciting match during the first two sets as we were able to win both 25-22 and 25-23. I opted to play some of the reserve players in the third set and we lost 25-11. It's a bummer because the reserves played well enough for us to win the third set, but the remaining starters on the floor collectively had a poor set. We went with the starting lineup in the fourth set and closed out the match to win 3-1.
Tonight we have the opening ceremony (I know...it seems kind of odd), and a wonderful buffet dinner is planned. We will play the Dominican Republic tomorrow in a match that could very well determine our overall finish in our pool of six teams. They are clearly the best team in the pool, but we have a shot at taking them if we can keep our errors down and convert some serves into points. For those that read the earlier blog...YES it's the same coaches and players as last year. Ding, ding...round two begins at 12:30 tomorrow!!!
We have moved into the Quality Inn for the rest of the experience. After 105 degree weather and no air conditioning, the Quality Inn seems like the Bellagio for us!
Michelle Chatman is also here coaching the USA Select National Team. These are the top Freshman and young Sophomores in the entire country. She is doing a fantastic job with them, and they also won their opening match.
UPDATE: We just beat the Dominicans in an epic five-game match. We are now 2-0 in our six-team pool and in firm control of our destiny. We will have a quick turnaround to play a 7:30 match against Iowa's JNT program. Being 2-0 allows us to get some other talented players on our roster some additional play time through the next three matches.
If you watched online it was another pretty heated battle this time around, but none of the fireworks that we had last year between the benches and under the net. The Dominican coach actually came up and gave me a hug after the match. Even through the intense rivalry, there is a great deal of respect as well. He promised that he would get me next time. I told him "don't bet on it" ...we shared a quick laugh.