Men’s NCAA division III Volleyball Tournament – Day 3
Friday April 27,2012
We began day 3 with some breakfast. We had an early 25 minute practice and therefore not everyone woke up to grab a bite. During practice we worked on serve receiving and other small details. We all got much more comfortable with the court and were ready to face Kean midday. We arrived back at the hotel and fooled around in my room. Eric, Stan and I took some ‘duck-faced’ pictures. We went down one more time to grab some more breakfast and then made our way back into the hotel rooms.
It was now roughly 11am and we were scheduled to leave and watch Baruch’s match against Springfield. We arrived at Blake arena at 12pm, and were escorted into the building by the police. We then made our way down to the bleachers (behind Baruch’s bench). We witnessed a great introduction ceremony. Olympic styled music, straight marching lines, and even talented patriotic singers were amongst us. It was nice to see that there were 4 line judges, one up ref and one down ref. One would think that this would ensure proper refereeing of the game. Little did we know there was only one ball handling error throughout the entire match. Now, I understand this is the NCAA championship tournament, but I don’t think there was only one ball handling error during the game.
The game quickly escalated and the Bearcats kept digging themselves into a deeper hole. We left after the 2nd set to get dressed and warm up in an auxiliary gym. I don’t think we were nervous or very anxious. We all wanted to get dressed and start warming up. We left our locker room to meet with Kean in the auxiliary gym. We ran a couple of laps, went through dynamic stretching and were called to go up to the main gym during static stretching. We entered the gym with about 40 minutes on the clock. We split the court and began serving and hitting down the line. Barty and Chris, were hitting very well. Seeing them warming up gave me confidence that we would enter the game well. Before we knew it, it was already time for our lineup check.
The game went by relatively quickly. Kean was trailing behind us throughout most of the game. Since we were able to shut their primary hitters down, we managed to take the first set from them. Somehow they quickly regained motive and took the 2nd set away from us. We realized it was time to give it all we’ve got. We stormed through the next two sets and won both of them. That was when the feeling of relief came upon me. I was happy. We were all jumping. The bench ran onto the court to greet us and celebrate along. I know we deserved to win, and therefore we did. We shook hands and were directed to walk together to the locker room.
Surprisingly we were not that excited in the locker room. I guess we were all expecting to win. Chris, Ray and myself were called to the media room for an interview.
After the interview we were invited to a CUNY dinner along with Baruch College. Since fans were allowed in, I invited my mom and Tania to join in the festivities. We got to meet the athletic president of CUNY (unfortunately Terry could not attend). Aviv Elias walked up to me and Barty and wished us luck for our next game. I hear mixed things about Baruch sometimes, but actions like these help to build a positive relationship with them (when were not playing against each other). We grabbed some of the food and brought it back to the hotel (since we wouldn’t be going out for dinner). I grabbed a plate of pasta with chicken. In a separate plate I had some cannolis.
Tania and my mom headed to check into the hotel while we (team) decided to stay behind and watch the UC Santa Cruz vs Rivier game. Congrats to Rivier for taking two sets away from the banana slugs. The slugs came back to win the fifth set. Amazing to think that we beat Rivier in 3 sets and they went to 5 sets with UC. I guess anything is possible. It would have been very painful for UC Santa Cruz to fly back home to California after such a short stay. After the game we headed back to the hotel room to eat our dinner and recreate the game of mintonette (original name for volleyball).
We were accompanied by Ray Bello and Elvis Rodriguez for some time, and later went into our own rooms. We then decided to watch Nazareth play Carthage (Carthage won). Afterwards we began recreating volleyball. Nino and Stanley were behind one bed and Jonah and I were behind the other. We played with the molten volleyball I picked up at the banquet. After my match I walked into my mom’s room to say hello to her and Tania. I took a few pictures and returned to my room to go to bed.