Illinois setter Hillary Haen had 70 assists in the State Farm Illini Classic over the weekend.
Sept. 3, 2008
Hello Everyone! Wow. What an insane weekend of playing! I think the question I have heard the most from people after playing our last match against Oregon was "What did you guys talk about in between sets two and three?" I think that the answer surprises people... we decided to stop focusing on winning (if you can believe that was our focus the first two games) and start focusing on playing our game. There was no yelling done by anyone, including the coaches. Everyone was extremely calm. (I think part of the reason that everyone was calm was because we knew that it couldn't get much worse than it already was).
We all went upstairs from our team room with clear heads and put our new game plan into action. It was a great learning experience for us and luckily we pulled off a big W. I just hope that this lesson can stay with us in the future so we don't have to go through such nerve racking sets again. I think that some of our parents almost had heart attacks! Winning this tournament was definitely a confidence booster for us, but at the same time we all know how quickly the tides can change if we loose focus on our goals.
Next weekend is a big weekend with three great teams and we are all super excited to get down to Missouri and win! We start off playing Saint Louis and we just found out today and their team went undefeated this past weekend as well. We talked about how although it is going to be amazing to play Stanford because of their reputation and ranking, we can not over-look a team like Saint Louis because they very talented. Saturday afternoon is the Stanford match which will be very interesting.
I think that if our team can come out and play our own game (sound familiar?) we are going to do very well! Saturday night is William & Mary who we don't know a ton about but once again, is not a team to overlook. This whole pre-season is a really great test for us and I think that no matter what the outcomes of the matches are it is a preseason that is going to prepare us well for the BIG TEN. Thanks for reading!