Sarah Rumely Blog: a2 National Team Championship Run

June 19, 2009

Minneapolis, Minn. - Hello everyone! Sarah Rumely here! I just got back from Minneapolis and my training and competing with the USA a2 National Team! I had so much fun so I thought that I¡¦d fill you in on all of my adventures!


I woke up at 4 a.m. because my flight left at 6 a.m. What an early day already! I left from my home in Indianapolis and flew to Atlanta and then to Minneapolis. Yes, for all of you thinking it, that makes no sense geographically but oh well! I landed in Minneapolis around 10:30 a.m. and the USA staff picked me up from the airport and took me to the University of Minnesota¡¦s campus to the dorms where we would be staying. I was the third member of the 24 member squad to arrive. I got to my room and got situated and then I went out to lunch with Sarah Ammerman from Texas A&M and Laurie Gonzalez from Albany. I already knew both of these girls from the tryout because Sarah was my roommate and Laurie was on my team the last day of tryouts. We ate at an Italian restaurant and it was so delicious! We then went back to the dorms and I organized my stuff and then took a really long, and glorious nap! Around 4:30 p.m. my roommate arrived! I already knew her too! It was Naomi Washington from Long Beach State and she was on my team at tryouts on the last day! We were really excited to be roommates! We had dinner at 6 p.m. and it was so good! Bill and Frieda are chefs for the University of Minnesota¡¦s volleyball and basketball teams and they made all of our meals! They were so much fun too! Right after dinner we got all of our new USA gear fº and had our first training session! We did a lot of scrimmage type drills just to get everyone back in the flow of competing! Every drill was a competition and I love drills like that. It was a great environment. After practice I went back to my room, hung out with Nay, and went to bed because I knew it was going to be a long, hard week of training and competing!


I woke up around 8 a.m. and went to breakfast! It was delicious! Then the setters had to go in 30 minutes early for ¡¥tutoring.¡¦ This was just setter-training to make sure that we could establish the tempo and location that was going to be used for all the sets all week. This was very informative, and it was great to get some extra reps in since I hadn¡¦t played in a couple of weeks. Luckily my touch came back to me pretty quickly! The rest of the group joined us and we started practice. Once again we competed the whole time and really got after it! It is so much fun to play at such a high level with girls who just compete like crazy! We had lunch after practice and I was able to go back and get a nap in before tutoring and practice again. After our second practice of the day which was from 3-6 p.m., we ate dinner and came back to shower! It was fun just to hang out with all the girls at night. We laughed and joked and everyone was so nice! Then came bedtime and ready to do it all over again!


My schedule is about the same as Tuesday. I woke up, went to breakfast, tutoring, and practice. After practice we had film with just the setters and then we went to lunch. I went back to the dorms after morning practice and took a nap, woke back up and went to tutoring and practice again! After evening practice we had a group film session and then we went to dinner. I went back to the dorms and hung out with the girls! I got pretty close with my roommate, Nay and with all the other girls in the SEC that were there! It was fun to hang out with people you always play against across the net and it will definitely be fun being able to play against them in the fall. Later that night, we had a group meeting and they split our group of 24 into two teams of 12. I was selected for USA Red! I was so excited because all the girls on my team were awesome players and fun people! We were determined to beat the USA Blue team (our other team of 12) in our scrimmage that was planned for Thursday!


Breakfast, tutoring, and morning practice started off my day! We were working in our new teams so that we could start to establish a good offense and learn how to play around each other. We started to develop some great team chemistry! The two head coaches that are coaching the teams and have been training us all week are Jason Watson from Arizona State and Suzie Fritz from Kansas State. We didn¡¦t know who was going to coach Red or Blue so they were both helping us out! It was great getting input from so many different coaches because they all see things differently and are all able to give you insight into improving your game! After practice we had lunch and then were able to get a nap in before our scrimmage. Our scrimmage was actually a fundraiser for Meghan Bergman. She is a local gymnast who suffered several life threatening injuries during a meet on January 17 and has already had nine surgeries. All the proceeds from the ticket sales went to help pay off her medical bills. The scrimmage went exactly as planned and USA Red (my team) came out on top! We beat the Blue team 3-1. It was a fun scrimmage and it was great to finally compete for the local crowd. After the scrimmage we hung out for a little bit and went to sleep!


I woke up, went to breakfast, had tutoring and we had a light practice of just serving and passing. After practice we ate lunch and straight from lunch we went to the convention center to practice at the actual site where we would be playing from Saturday-Tuesday! We had a great practice there and after practice we went back to the dorms to clean up! Most of us then went to the Mall of America! They took us there for a couple of hours. This mall is huge! There are four stories and it is built in a huge square. So, there are four sides of four stories and in the center is the amusement park! It¡¦s crazy! We had to be back at the dorms in time for a cookout and film and meetings. We went down to the Mississippi River and Bill and Frieda grilled out and it was a fun cookout. We found out our playing schedules and then it was off to bed!


I woke up and got breakfast and was all set for our first day of competition! We played at 11:20 a.m. and 2:40 p.m. Most of the teams playing in this tournament were comprised of former D1 athletes and all of the teams were pretty good! Our first match was again Legion Red. We handled them pretty easily and won the match 3-0. We then had a sack lunch made by Bill and Frieda and we played Avril¡¦s team in the second match. We also won the match 3-0, so day one was off to a great start! My parents were able to come to Minneapolis to see me play (which isn¡¦t surprising at all because they didn¡¦t miss any UK games home or away last season). Also, my Aunt Beth happened to be in town from Portland and I was able to go out to dinner with them after the match! That was fun! I went back to the dorms and we had a meeting and got set for day two of competition! USA Blue also went 2-0 today!


We had the exact same playing schedule as Saturday and we played UCLA at 11:20 a.m. This was such an exciting match for me because I was able to play against a top-10 college team and they have a great program! UCLA and Washington bring their teams to the tournament every year and they use this competition as all of their spring dates that they are allowed to play. It also works out well because they are on quarters and were still in school. We ended up beating them 3-0 and we played really, really well! We played the Exterminators at 2:40 p.m. and also beat them 3-0! After day two USA Red is 4-0! Tournament play starts on Monday and it¡¦s great to be able to go into it with confidence. The USA Blue team went 1-1 today having lost to Washington.


Today we start a double elimination tournament! It is so important for us to stay in the winner¡¦s bracket or we will have to fight for our lives and work our way back up to the top! We started out playing Trim Laguna Beach! It was a nail biter but we pulled out the win 3-2. Our next opponent was the Exterminators again and we won 3-0!! It was great to be able to go into the final day of the tournament without dropping a match! I was able to go out to dinner with my family and Aunt Beth again!


Today is the last day of the tournament and we were ready to go! We had to play Washington and we were the only two teams left in the winner¡¦s bracket. Whoever won would automatically be in the finals, and the loser would have to drop down and win another match to make it to the finals. We came out playing flat and were never really able to get anything going. We ended up losing the match 3-0. But, Washington was a great team, and they are always in the top-10. Since we lost we had to drop down to the loser¡¦s bracket and we faced USA Blue, our other team! This was going to be a fun match! We controlled the match the whole way and swept them 3-0! It was going to be us and Washington in the finals!! It was time for a rematch! There were so many people gathered around to watch the finals. We played better as a team in the finals, but Washington was too good. We could not contain them and they won the match and the championship! But, I was so proud to be a part of the silver medal team USA Red! USA Blue took the bronze! I had such an amazing experience and it was a blast to play and compete at such a high level. I made tons of new friends and I look forward to keeping in touch with all of them!

Thanks to everyone who read this, and thank you to everyone who is always supporting me! I can¡¦t wait until my senior season in the fall! I look forward to seeing Memorial Coliseum filled with blue! Go Cats!