Coaches Corner With Kerry Messersmith

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Nov. 28, 2006

UAB Volleyball Fans,

WOW! What an exciting month of volleyball we have seen together! It has been almost a month since my last post and I apologize for that but needless to say we have been a very busy program. I will try my best to recap the past month for you.

Finishing the regular season with a nine match winning streak, beating such teams as Tulane, East Carolina and Marshall, was the perfect way for us to enter the Conference Tournament. We really felt that if we could continue the level of play, which we had been doing the past few weeks, we really had a shot to win the tournament.

Entering as the number five seed, our first game happened to be against UCF who we had beaten just 4 days earlier. They were a lot better team than there record indicated and we knew that they would fight hard to beat us. Fortunately, we played well and came out with a 3-1 victory.

For Friday's match, we faced a very tough Tulane team and played perhaps one of our best matches of the season winning that 3-1 as well.

For Saturday's semifinal we met number one seed and regular season champion Tulsa. Tulsa happened to be the last team to beat us, beating us 3-0 Oct. 15th at Bartow. After heading into the locker room tied 1-1, I could see it in our players' eyes that we were going to win that match. We came out and had the best blocking performance of the season and beat Tulsa 3-1. Shaniquwa Cooper probably had the match of her career, breaking the conference tournament record with 15 block assists in the match. I really knew we had something special going on because winning a championship takes special performances such as Shaniquwa's on Saturday.

For Sunday's Conference USA Championship match we faced a familiar opponent in Memphis. Having played Memphis twice during the regular season with the home team winning both times in five games, we knew that this match had the potential to go down to the wire again. Unfortunately, we played the first two games making more mistakes than we had in quite a long time. We found ourselves down 2-0 at the break but still felt we could win the championship.

The next three games are still a blur in my mind. Watching our team gain momentum in game three, fight back to win game four and finally pull out a 15-10 win in game five was a bit overwhelming. These girls have played with so much heart all season long and they have shown that they refuse to give up. Sunday was definitely a day that I will not forget. It is one of the main reason's that I love coaching volleyball. To see the hard work and the long hours of the spring, preseason and regular season payoff is an amazing thing to experience.

We are very excited about the NCAA Tournament this weekend. It is an honor to represent this University and our Conference. I know that our girls are going to make us proud this weekend as they have all season long. We head to Los Angeles to take on the UCLA Bruins and then possibly the winner of Utah/Michigan State. We play at 8pm PT on Friday night and the game will be broadcasted on the radio on UCLA's website at www.uclabruins.cstv.com. We hope you will tune in and help cheer your Blazers to victory.

Again, thank you for your support of Blazer Volleyball and until next time,

GO BLAZERS!

Kerry Messersmith