Always the Bridesmaid…

Our 3rd and final tournament of preseason is over, and our third 2nd place all wrapped up. Boo. We played in Riom, France which is a 5 hour drive from Nantes.

Riom, France

The tournament was only between 3 teams- us, Albi, and Beziers- all 1st division French teams we will play this season. It was an interesting format as well: we played both teams Saturday and Sunday, each 2 out of 3. Overrall we went 3-1 (beating Albi twice, and splitting with Beziers), but we dropped one set more than Beziers so 2nd it is.
The good news is we definitely made progress compared to our performance last weekend. AND I got to see Alesha Deesing!

Me and Dees 🙂

I haven’t seen Dees in maybe a year, but we played together back in 2007 when I was a freshman at UW and she was a senior. It was awesome playing with her then, and I wish I could do it again!
We are now officially less than a week away from our first real league match! 😀 I’ve been looking forward to this for 7 weeks, time to really get down to business!
Some highlights from the week before:
We had a *mostly* day off last Monday… until that evening. The club hosted a press conference and ‘meet the team’ event for the public. Although it was tough on us because it was such a long function (4 hours… and it gets extra long when you don’t understand anything people are saying) but it’s so awesome to see the sponsors and supporters of the club, and that they’re actually invested and excited about our team.
On Tuesday night I had everybody come over to my apartment for Mexican Night 🙂 We had Wednesday off, so we finally got to blow off some steam Tuesday night. I whipped up a full taco bar- shredded chicken, ground beef taco meat, black beans from scratch, fajita veggies, pineapple peach mango salsa, and all the toppings. Did I mention the margaritas? First off, more than a few girls have NEVER had a margarita before (that kind of inspired Mexican night). Second off, it was actually really difficult to find tequila and a margarita mix in the grocery store. There was only 4 types of tequila to pick from. I was walking up and down the aisles, “Here, Jose Jose Jose… where are chu??” No Cuervo around, just 4, not so well stocked brands to choose from. But it got the job done! It was a really fun, relaxing team night. And the margaritas were well received 😉

Pineappe Peach Mango Salsa… to die for

On Wednesday, Kristy, Coop, and I did some shopping- our favorite past time. I bagged my first real purchase here, a cute winter jacket from H&M. Nothing extravagant, but I love it, and am sure I will put it to good use shortly with the weather changing.
Thursday night the American trio whipped up a cauliflower pizza! Kristy and I are a wee bit pinterest crazy, and LOVE all the funky/healthy/yummy recipes you can find on there. So we’ve been planning on attempting this for a little while. It’s a pizza made of cauliflower crust, so kinda healthy. It was pretty good, except it pretty much just made me crave normal pizza. I’m a bit like my mom: the crust makes the pizza!

Cauliflower Pizza

Friday we set out to Riom for the tournament. It was a 5 hour drive that we took rented vans for, but the drive went relatively quickly. First off, I watched the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy and was tearing up every 15 minutes! LOVE THAT SHOW! And then I started trying to learn how to scout matches on Data Volley. Data Volley is a program that helps you to ‘code’ and scout a volleyball match. I’m very familiar with it from college and USA, but my coaches here are just trying to learn. It’s tough for them because it’s all in English, so I’m trying to make it a little bit easier for them. I now understand how important the support staff and statisticians that are ‘fluent in data volley’ are!

Entrance to the restrooms at a gas station. Got me really ‘excited’ to use it.


Quimper Deux

We didn’t quite realize it when we first arrived, but our little camp ground area is really pimped out! After breakfast we did some recuperation in the indoor swimming pool. It wasn’t just a little pool, but a big one in a lazy river type format and even with a couple of decent size slides. Who woulda thunk it?
There is also a large outdoor swimming pool- way too chilly for that- a playground in a huge sandbox, a ropes course, a small convenience store, and a large restaurant/bar that we have all of our meals at. Last night at dinner they had all the disco hits pumpin in the front while we ate. It’s raining’ men!
We played Quimper (the tournament host) and unfortunately lost in 5. However, we were down bodies even more- we ran a 4-2 which means there are 2 setters on the floor at all times, and whichever is in the front row will set. We only had 1 outside hitter so our third middle blocker played outside. Like I said, it’s always disappointing to lose, but I’m proud of how our team fought and didn’t bat an eye even though we were all out of sorts positionally.
The other thing about the match is that it started late, at 8:30 and we didn’t finish up until 11 ish. Factor in cool down, shower, and drive back… (not to mention the slow course service of French meals) we didn’t sit down to eat until maybe 12:15 and finish dinner just before 1 am. Whew.
One more match on Satruday to wrap it up.

Welcome to Quimper

Tourney Time!

Quimper is a city in the province of Brittany that’s one of the most traditional. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Nantes, and we went straight into the city to meet with the Mayor and the other teams for a pre-tournament reception. We were also a little behind schedule so I grabbed my camera on the way and had a shoot-on-the-run session. Pretty pumped about it though, the city was super cute and it was a nice day to just click away.

We play 3 matches in the next 3 days- against Evreux, Quimper, and Nancy. What I didn’t realize was that my friend and old roommate from USA Naomi Johnson plays for Evreux. I was SO excited to see her 🙂 It is always such a treat to see a familiar face while you’re overseas.
After the quick reception we went to check into our… camp? Last week my coach was telling us about this tournament and he says, “Yes, we will be camping next week in Quimper.” I must have looked at him like he has 10 heads. I was like wait… like tent camping? “No, no they are like little trailer homes.” Oh, that’s so much better.
After presuming some very low standard for our stay, I am PLEASANTLY surprised. We are staying in little ‘trailer homes’ I guess, but I prefer to call them bungalows. I am rooming with Lisa and we have a fully equipped little kitchen, table, pink couch, fridge, mini tv, bathroom, shower, and our own bed rooms, a deck and a grill. They look very new and clean as well. It’s all mini sized but super cute.
After lunch we had a while before our afternoon snack and the match so Kristy, Coop, and I decided to walk to the beach. It was only say 1 km away, which translates to a 15 isn minute walk. It is so PRETTY! The water is so blue and clean and crisp. Another little cove like at the other beaches we’ve seen [we’re 3 for 3 for trips located on the water 🙂 ]
That night we played Evreux which is a team in our league and we will play this season. It was an ugly match but we came away with a 3-0 win. We’re still not a complete team yet, waiting on our last 2 players and dealing with some injuries, but finding a way to win when we’re not playing well is still important.
Afterwards, got back to our little camp site complex, had some of the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted then hit the hay to do it again.