Tag Archives: volleyball

Road Trip!

8 Feb

Mackenzie had a volleyball tournament in Wichita last weekend, so she and I borrowed a car from gracious friends, loaded up with snacks and music, and hit the road.


We arrived in Wichita around 8:15pm, checked into our hotel and promptly ordered a pizza. With the company and the junk food, I felt like the Lorelai’s Gilmore. It was so fun to eat pizza in bed, stay up late watching movies, and crank the heat up to 70 degrees! (As a mom, super fun memories. As a coach, I’d never approve the late nights and junk food.)


The next morning, we ate the hotel breakfast and headed to the gym for the day. We had a great volleyball day, coming away with a 4-0 record! Each of them went to the third set, so I was alternating between excitement and anxiety.




I’m looking forward to more road trips down the….road. Kenzie and I talked almost the entire drive home. Being just the two of us with little distraction, she felt the freedom to open up. This mama loved the one-on-one time!



One More Taiwan Post!

2 Nov

Ok, I left off on the second to last day of the tournament. But I forgot to post about the night market the day before. Night markets are pretty popular in Taiwan. They’re fun, with lots of vendors selling food, trinkets, jewelry, etc. I bought a pair of earrings for 33 dumplings  NT100.

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I told the girls that I would eat one of these if we won the tournament!


We all rode this kiddie train together. I barely fit. Ahhh, I miss that milk tea.



We crammed into the elevator each time we came or went from the hotel. I thought we were at capacity, but then 4 more strangers shoved their way in. I literally face-planted the wall with the force of their enthusiasm.


We’ve been trying to get our team picture for the yearbook and every time we tried, something prevented it. So finally, on the last day of the tournament, we got it! This, of course, isn’t the yearbook pose.


Our pregame warm-up is FULL of cheers. The officials graciously waited to check our lineup for our many cheers to be completed.

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Here are some game shots that I stole off of facebook.

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I love these next shots because 1) they look amazing and 2) the double-quick was never an official offense of ours. We kind of just adopted it throughout the season. It worked a LOT though! We were the only team doing the 71 (back-quick), so the blockers never even saw it coming.

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OK, so I left off with the girls playing terrific in elimination. However, for our fourth match that day, we played the host school and they took it to us pretty easily. We beat ourselves, really. So that sent us to the losers bracket for the final day. We knew that it would make our battle longer and harder, but we were totally up for it!

The two teams that we played in the morning were the two teams that beat us in elimination the year before, so I was so proud of the girls for coming out confident and ready to win. We beat both teams in two sets. That set us up to play the host school again in a best of 5 match.

Gotta stay warm in between games!


Here is the stolen phone pic as we rested in between matches.


The first two sets, we were en fuego. We couldn’t doing anything wrong! Every pass, set, and hit was flawless. We made it look effortless, really. I’m usually up by the court, giving tips and pointers and reminders, but the girls just took over. They knew where to serve and hit, they covered each other’s hits, they communicated. All I had to do was cheer them on. It was a #whyicoach moment for me.

Then the host school and their fans came alive. They won the 3rd set very easily. In the 4th, we were 23-23 and the referee called us in the net. I definitely saw the other team in the net, but just assumed that we were in the net first. It wasn’t until hours later, that coaches from the others schools and even some fans from the host school said that that was not the right call. The other school was definitely the one in the net. I literally got nauseous when they told me that. It was a major momentum shift that gave them gamepoint, then the set, and then the 3rd set and the match!

That team went on to win the entire tournament for the 3rd year in a row. We were bummed that we were two points away from going to the championship (against a team that we beat in pool play), but I was so proud of the girls. They finished their season wonderfully. They broke so many barriers that had been blocking their success for a few years, and they are set up perfectly for next year. I wish I could tag along for the ride!

We got some bronze medals (with Olympic rings on them!) at the awards banquet.


…and a trophy!


My setter won the Best Setter award for the entire tournament, so I was thrilled for her! She has one more year, so that’s one of the reasons the team is set up so nicely for next year.

Our flight home left a few hours later at 1am, so we hit the road after the banquet. We were a little squirrly by then.


I was home and back to bed by 5am! It was such a great week. It had been 3 years since I had traveled with a volleyball team and I had forgotten what an amazing experience each trip had been. Now I have to leave again! (humfph) arms crossed, stomping on the ground.

Tournament post #Liang (according to Google Translate)

28 Oct

I left off at the end of the first day of pool play. After we played our third game, we walked down the street for some more amazing Taiwan street food. Here in Manila, street food can get iffy, but apparently Taiwan is THE place to buy street food. It’s safe and cheap, both of those high on my priority list!

I had my Taiwan-raised player order for me and it did not disappoint! It was some pork noodle dish with some sweet potato tops (leaves). It was delish and only $1.20!

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While the girls relaxed in the hot tub that night, us mom’s all went to Costco (which, for me, was almost as exciting as the tournament). It was insane! We got there at 8:30pm, and it was so crowded! There were three levels of parking and we could barely find a spot.  I guess the three other people in this photo doesn’t really show the crowds….oh well. Either way, I was excited to be there!


Samples were a little different in Taiwan – rice and seaweed!


When I got back, I checked in on the girls.


The next day, we didn’t play until 3:30pm! Everyone else had two matches that day, but we only had one against the host school and defending champs. So we decided to hit up downtown Taichung for some sightseeing and dumpling-eating.

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The restaurant is kind of famous, I think, but I’ll never remember what it was called, as it was mandarin. Anyway, they have a whole assembly line making these soup-filled dumplings. It was impressive.


You’re supposed to pick up the dumpling with chopsticks, put it in your soup spoon, poke a hole in the dumpling and suck the soup out, and then eat the rest. They were more expensive than the street dumplings, but so worth the money!


We lost our match that night in 2 sets. Blah. We played badly with lots of missed serves and hits into the net. It was crazy. Needless to say, I was the one who needed to hit the hot tub that night! Everyone else went out to eat, but I needed some alone time.


The pool area was amazing. I wish I could’ve gone up there every day. It was on the roof of the hotel. There was a really hot tub/really cold tub set up, where you alternate between the two for some fun invigoration. There was a sauna and steam room. My favorite was this big hot pool. It had six stations of different water spa spouts. When turned on, they spray water and bubbles in different ways, targeted at different body parts.

These two chinese guys and I really loved it.


The next day, we had two more pool play games, followed by the start of  the elimination rounds. After two difficult losses in pool play, followed by a team pow-wow and coaches meetings with the captains, the girls came out A-Mazing and never looked back. We beat Dalat and then ICS Hong Kong. We tied for 2,3,4 seed with a 4-2 record, but we ended up with 4th seed because of head-to-head and win/loss numbers.

The seniors on this team have NEVER won in elimination of any tournament. Remember last year, when we were seeded #1 and then lost in the first round of elimination? How does that happen? It’s been a major mental block for all of us. Anyway, that afternoon, the girls came out ready to win, and they did! It was so fun to watch them because they were unstoppable. It felt so great to have that 4-year long burden lifted off of our shoulders!

We attributed it to our lucky bananas. We kept bringing them to every game, but no one was eating them. They just kept getting worse, but we kept getting better!


Alright, my back hurts, so I’m going to sign off for now. I hate back pain! I don’t remember hurting it, but it’s been kicking my butt for a month now! Hopefully now that vb is over, I can let it heal properly!

Dumplings and Milk Tea….oh! And volleyball

26 Oct

Trips with my volleyball teams are ALWAYS incredible and memorable, and this one was no different! Looking at the pics already makes me miss it, miss the season, and makes me not want to leave next year! I don’t know if they need me, but I definitely want them!

We were supposed to leave right after school last Monday, but a huge typhoon up north cancelled school for the day. All we had was some wind and rain, but there was some pretty huge destruction up north. Anyone know where Taiwan is? Right in the path of the typhoon. That, of course, delayed air traffic, so we didn’t leave Manila until after we should’ve arrived in Taiwan! Ick.

All smiles, before the delay.


After waiting at our gate for hours and hours.


Yay, all smiles again! We finally boarded!  We had a bumpy ride as we got up over the typhoon, but once we were high enough, it was smooth sailing until we touched down in Taipei.


We had a 1.5 hour ride to Taichung, where the tournament was. We didn’t get to sleep until about 3am! That’s just how a coach likes to start a week-long tournament. Thankfully, we arrived a day early, so we all got about 6 1/2 hours of sleep. Then we headed over to the school for a little practice, just to get comfortable with the balls, the gym, or at least make us feel like we are putting ourselves at an advantage!


After practice, we walked to the village behind the school. I don’t know what we would’ve done without one of our players, who just happened to grow up in Taichung. She knew where all the good food was and could speak mandarin. Without her, we would’ve just been walking around like zombies, grunting and pointing in the only way we could communicate in a country that speaks next to no english, looking for the golden arches of McDonalds.

She took us for some insane dumplings. I ordered 10 pcs., and when they told me that my total bill was 30NT, I thought to myself, “Wait. Isn’t the exchange rate 31NT = $1? Folks, my amazing lunch cost $1! My dumplings were $.10 ea. From that moment on, I put everything into dumpling currency. The taxi ride was NT1oo, nope, it was 33 dumplings.


While we were waiting for our dumplings, we all went to get milk tea. Taiwan is the home of milk tea, preferably with pearls, jelly, or anything else that can be slurped up through a fat straw. The pearls (big tapioca balls) are my favorite, but I don’t usually order them because they have a lot of sugar in them. But when in Taiwan….you know.

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After lunch, we took cabs back to the hotel. I told the girls that they needed to nap or at least lay low for the afternoon. I, of course, put my PJ’s back on, turned the air con on full blast and burrowed under my down-ish comforter. It was a perfect nap, where I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go!


I was loving the opportunity to spread out in the big bed….but I also loved when a bunch of players took all that space away too.


That night, we had the welcome dinner with all of the other teams.

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It was fun for the girls to see some friends from the other schools. All of the coaches were the same as last year, so they remembered that Simeon had just been born during the tournament last year. They kept asking if it was hard to leave all the kids. I answered, probably too quickly, “I miss them, but I. Am. Good. I like being in charge of 9 teens who can take care of themselves!”

The next day was the start of the tournament. We had a the expected first game jitters, but snapped out of it really quickly, and beat St. Paul from Guam in 2 sets.


We had a one game break and then played Grace Int’l School from Thailand. We played amazing that game and took them in two sets as well. After the game, we prayed together. I love seeing this kind of sportsmanship in high schoolers!


After the game, we ate lunch at the school (which, btdub, wasn’t great and cost 33 dumplings) and then it was time for our ministry day. All of the teams came together and buddied up with a special-needs child for the day. They were precious, sweet, and interactive!

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We were just a couple of minutes late because we snuck out for some milk tea. shhhhhh.


After the ministry time, we had one more pool play match against YISS from Korea. They were the team that knocked us out of the winners bracket last year, and they took it to us pretty easily in 2 sets. We didn’t play so well. Lots of missed serves and hits into the net. Ick. I chalked it up to a long day. Plus, I participated in that parachute activity and my arms were tired after a few minutes! I can only imagine how hard it was to play a third match of the day after that!



That’s all I’ll post for today. I have to unpack still!

Volleyball Fun For Everywon

25 Sep

People have asked what we do with the kids when we’re both coaching….


Here is one. He likes it, we like it.



Normally, I can’t snap a pic of the boys, as they are running, climbing, jumping, swordfighting, Force-choking, etc. But on this day, they were tucked in the back of the gym, reading.


This was a first time experience. I was reffing, Josh was coaching, Mackenzie was playing, and Bella was keeping score! I was nervous about being partial to our team, but we lost in the 5th set, so I guess I can rest easy.


Buhay Sports mostly does basketball outreach, but last week, we were able to do a little sports ministry through volleyball! We played and then shared about our salvation with the other team. 3 people got saved that day!!


Our boys varsity coach gave a great motivational message to our teams, connecting sports with our character in Christ. It was great, and I’m excited to see the fruit from it. So here I am, not praying, while taking a pic of them praying. shhhhhhh (I pray for them everyday – they. are. covered.)


Yesterday at the beginning of practice, I gave them a quote to memorize. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.

At the end of practice, they had to get all 9 players off the floor, touching the box, long enough to recite the quote. It was comical, but they did it! In the future, I will give them this task at the sweat-less beginning of practice.

Or not.



Finally, last year, we took a team pic when I was a week away from delivering Simmy. This year, on the same day (thanks to Facebook reminders) we took a pic, showing off our sweet babies.


(It was Spirit Week, hence the suspenders and skeleton facepaint.)

I can’t believe I only have a couple more weeks with these girls! Fall break is coming up, then a tournament, and then we finish up with our big tournament in Taiwan. Then basketball and rugby take them away from me!


All Volleyball All Day Every Day

31 Aug

….except when we’re bowling. Last week, the high school students were off to the high school retreat, so none of us had any practice or games. We took the opportunity for some fun family time bowling. We all have fun doing it, even Mackenzie, who isn’t allowed to use bumpers anymore. She is getting better every time! The first time we made her play without bumpers, she threw EVERYTHING into the gutter. But every game is better than the last, and she can send it down the lane as good as….I don’t know….some amazing professional bowler.

The boys just do what they can to get it down the lane!


We all watch with much anticipation as Caleb’s ball i.n.c.h.e.s. its way down the lane, possibly nudging a pin or two.


Even though HS was gone, the MS was still around and the girls had their first volleyball game! It’s all very exciting and I’m brilliant at keeping my coaching hat from interfering with my mommy hat. (Wow, it’s just as unbelievable on the screen as it is when I say it.) No, I’m not so great at just being a fan, but I’m learning! This is a first for all of us, and I love it!


Simeon had 12 girls all doting on him throughout the day. He’s the unofficial mascot!


It’s so fun watching Mackenzie and her friends work together to pound out a great play! The 8th graders were in 6th grade when I coached middle school, so I’m a proud mama X 10! It makes me not want to go to the US next year, because I could be coaching some of them again!

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Post-game rub-downs.


We had to drop Mackenzie off at a birthday party, so we just brought the entire team to the mall. Middle schoolers have a lot of energy. Did you know that?


Today was a holiday, so there was no school, but since we had games cancelled last weekend due to typhoon, we made them up today. Josh coached JV, then I coached Varsity, then Mackenzie played and Josh coached, then I coached again! Feels like a tournament!

They pulled in their first W, and it was a super exciting 3 set-er! Mackenzie got all of her serves in, which is a big deal in this house! She put up some great sets and even got a few swings on the ball.


Josh even snuck Bella in for a few points. She didn’t touch the ball and was kind of ticked when Josh subbed her back out!


Mackenzie’s goal is to be overhand serving consistently by the end of the season. She can get it over once in a while, which is more than I could do in 6th grade, so I’m already impressed!

Buhay Sports Volleyball!

26 Oct

Buhay Sports is no longer exclusively a basketball ministry! Josh put together a fantastic Saturday tournament for the middle school volleyball team that we coached this year. He is amazing at sports ministry! I’ve seen him in action in his ministry games and trips, but this was the first time that I, as a coach, was directly involved and I have to say that I was totally impressed and proud of his hard work!

We started off with a little encouragement, prayer, and fellowship with the other teams.


Then the games started! One thing that Josh did wonderfully was keep the tournament on schedule! “Filipino time” is notorious for a laid-back attitude towards time, and even though I grew up here, I’ve never been a fan of it!

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We won our first two matches in exciting tie-breaking 3rd sets. All the sets were close so it was an intense day! I was not up for it, as I woke up with a yucky cold. I’ve been sneezing and blowing my nose all day (all while high-fiving each of my team members, so….)

We made it to the finals, which were played in the gym. The JV was also having a tournament, so we couldn’t be in the gym until they were finished. While we were waiting for the JV to finish, my girls bumped the ball around with the other teams, so we were excited to see those friendships start and build.

The championship was an exciting match! We won the first set, lost the second, and won the next two. In the 4th set, we were down 14-21, and came back to win it. It was thrilling and so fun to watch my girls scream and jump on each other after we won! I’m so proud of all of their improvement. One of my 6th graders couldn’t serve over the net in the beginning of the season and she ended up being one of the best servers on the team!

Here are all the players together.




I’ll probably go back to coaching varsity next year, but this was such a fun experience for me! Middle school-ers present an entirely new challenge (they never stop talking! =), but I learned alot and I hope that I’ll be coaching them at the varsity level soon!