Duke volleyball junior Nailah Waterfield will keep a weekly blog this season chronicling the Blue Devils' 2010-11 campaign. Last season, Duke won the 2010 ACC Championship, made the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight year and advanced all the way to the Round of Eight.
Look for Nailah's blog every week during the season on GoDuke.com.
Duke Volleyball Blog #4 (August 23, 2011)
With only two days until our first game, I am excited to let you all know that this will be the last blog I write for a long time without a game recap! This past week has just flown by with so much going on, but these next couple of days are seeming to take forever as we're all counting down the days until our home opener.
If you remember from the last blog, we were all looking forward to the lake house, the middle school clinic, sophomore and junior move-in day, a trip to the Forest, and our Blue and White scrimmage. All of those things have happened and were as exciting as we had planned.
Our annual trip to the lake house was one of the best trips in a while. Amanda Robertson even decided it was her favorite trip there in all of her four years. Before we take off we usually divide the team into three groups, each one in charge of making one home-cooked meal: Dinner when we arrive, breakfast the next morning, and lunch before we leave. This year we divided the team into four groups, dinner breakfast, lunch...and dessert. This change went over quite well as dessert was voted the best group. During dessert, we all sit together and watch home videos and share childhood pictures. This is always the best part of the trip. T (Christiana Gray) had us all laughing with her third grade memory book. T, who is 6'5" now, was about 5'5" in third grade... she also wasn't quite as fit as she is now. Towering over her classmates and even a little taller than her teacher the pictures were priceless. We also all spent a lot of time down by the water getting some sun. For the first time, half the team decided to swim all the way across the lake. This also may be the last time this happens because as we were heading back up for lunch, I spotted a snake in the water. Growing up with pet snakes this only excited me; my teammates weren't quite as thrilled.
Next was move-in day. With five girls moving in, three to apartments two to dorms, four to the third floor, one to the second floor, and just one of us having an elevator to help, we knew it was going to have to be a team effort. Our plan of action was flawless. All five of us packed up the biggest cars on the team the night before, and after practice the sophomores took the freshmen, and the juniors took the seniors to help. It's times like these that remind me of what the word teammate means to Duke Volleyball. We are not just teammates on the court, but in all areas of life. We work together to solve problems both inside and outside of the gym. No matter what I may need, small or large, I always know Duke Volleyball will be there for me. After they helped us move in the freshman, the seniors headed over to the Forest Retirement Community to play some sitting volleyball and socialize at their cocktail hour. These brilliant seniors almost always have ties do Duke, either working at or attending the University at some time; it is always a good time learning about their experiences.
The middle school clinic and Blue and White scrimmage was a great success. We had about 100 girls come out for an afternoon of volleyball, and it is always nice seeing some familiar faces in the group. We got to see girls that come to our summer camps, girls that come to a lot of our games, and even our own coach's daughter, Jenna Wasielewski, participated. After an hour of teaching, we put our jerseys on for just the second time this year and took the floor. We even had one of our favorite cheering groups, TROSA, in the crowd for us. After five sets, we signed some autographs and headed home.
Students are starting to return to campus, and for a lot of us this means the return of our roommates. Almost everyone on the team lives with a Duke Lacrosse player, and we are all excited to see our friends come back. Parents start filling in tomorrow for our Friday night game, and this is not only exciting for daughters, but all of us who haven't seen our teammates parents since the spring. Duke Volleyball is truly a family unlike any other.
Nailah A. Waterfield