Friday, June 27, 2014

Women's National Collegiate Water Polo 2014 (Highlight Video)

Just watching this video made my heart race. I still have yet to re-watch the championship game for a few reasons. Awesome to see it end with all my girls smiling faces! 

Reason 1: It will just give me anxiety and stress me out. Even though I know the outcome!

Reason 2: I will be judging myself as a coach. There is always more to learn and watching will show me how I let those amazing young woman down especially in the 4th quarter. I should have called a timeout when Michigan got some momentum. But at the same time we did need those timeouts so the girls could make a few big stops and get us into overtime. Also makes you think back to what you should have taught in practice. Coaching is learning and I can ALWAYS get better!

Reason 3: I just want to go back. Relive those girls true excitement and joy. I have experienced the agony of defeat and the excitement of winning. Not sure anything compared to this win for the girls, myself and the program. What a great weekend, that we will all remember forever!

Huge thanks to the CWPA for putting together this video! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Last Fling Before the Ring

All the girls that went on the tour in our Cable Car
Last weekend we did Brooke’s bachelorette weekend in Temecula or the "Last Fling Before the Ring". She wanted something fun and simple. We had seven people do the tour, then Mikayla and Brooke's old roommate Jena were meeting us at the hotel later.We decided on a wine tour. I booked us with the Temecula Valley Cable Car Wine Tours. I had previously been on there tour and it was a lot of fun. Plus they are the best priced- I highly suggest checking them out. 

The group at the hotel

The tour stops at four different wineries, with lunch at the third winery. Honestly cannot even remember the names of the wineries. The first winery was very cute and had great wine. The second winery was South Coast Winery. This place is massive. The bar tender we found also felt no need to stick with taking our tokens. We ended up drinking about 3x more than the number of tokens we all had. Which you can guess what happens then. The group had a really really great time! Brooke did really like a wine at this winery. I did purchase a few bottles for the wedding weekend. The third winery we had lunch overlooking some vineyards. It was nice to finally sit down and the food was great. Then time to drink more wine. The fourth stop we did not like much at all. It was in a converted house, crowded hot and the people working were rude. They did make a pretty good Sangria. 

After the tour the group was a bit tired- so it was back to the hotel. Mikayla arrived before us so that she could set up the room. Before we headed to the room we did make a stop at the little Mexican stand. Seemed that after four wineries we were really hungry. Once we demolished the food, we all just relaxed and hung out for a bit.  Once everyone had recovered a bit we did lingerie party for Brooke. I think she enjoyed all her new gifts. While having a bit more fun drinking. Then we walked about a mile to dinner at this Mexican restaurant in old town. All the ladies had fun at dinner. After dinner we decided to head back to the hotel where we end up playing this super fun game. Everyone had such a great time, the game made everyone laugh sooo hard.  Sadly I did not even win a round of the game, Brooke however became the big winner. Makes sense it was her weekend!

Love my little sister
Sunday would be relaxing, once up and got everything cleaned we headed for coffee. Then everyone headed their separate ways. Brooke wanted to get back to SD as Nik was finally arriving after his cross country road trip from Pittsburgh.

The weekend was such a fun time. The group of girls from the weekend were great. Many of them had meet each other previously, which always makes it a little easier. I cannot thank them all enough for coming and just enjoying the weekend with Brooke. The countdown is seriously on for when she says “I Do”. I can’t believe it is in 3 weeks.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pacific Coast Division Awards- Coach of the Year

This season with my water polo team was something special. These girls really enjoyed themselves and showed just another reason why I love coaching. The awards for them just keep coming. Since I worked with such amazing athletes, they really make me look good. The main reason that I was voted "Coach of the Year" within our division.

I am even more excited to say many of my athletes were voted to the All Conference Team.

Pacific Coast Division

Most Valuable Player:
Bailey Wickliffe (San Diego State University)
Coach of the Year:
Jamie Vessey Cassidy (San Diego State University)
First Team

Morgan Klingfus (Goalie)
San Diego State University
Madeline Schwartz
San Diego State University
Bailey Wickliffe
San Diego State University
Leah Ashley
California Polytechnic State University
Sophie Calhoun
California Polytechnic State University
Danika Felix
California Polytechnic State University
Dorit Stein
University of California-Los Angeles

Second Team
Morgan Rollo (Goalie)
California Polytechnic State University
Adison Gosslein
San Diego State University
Kelli Boling
San Diego State University
Nina Escobedo
San Diego State University
Faith Aguirre
University of California-Santa Barbara
Frankie Puerzer
University of California-Santa Barbara
Shelbi Skinner
University of California-Los Angeles
Link to see the entire list

Friday, June 20, 2014

Brooke's Wedding Shower

Last weekend we had a lovely Saturday afternoon spent with family and friends. There was a great turnout for Brooke's wedding shower. The shower was held at my parents home in Redlands. I really have to thank Mikayla and mom. They did basically all the work in getting the shower planned and set up. I just swooped in at the last second to help with a few details and celebrate. It was also great to have many of Nik's family and friends in attendance. Nik's mom Valeria also made all the food, which was amazing and made for some great lunches for me this week.

We had a very laid back shower. No crazy games. Just hanging out and spending time with family and friends. At my shower we had everyone introduce themselves and then give a favorite memory or something special they wanted to share. When we did this at my shower I was overwhelmed with what everyone had to say about me. Thus I really wanted Brooke to experience that. I know she was holding in tears a few times. So I think she also enjoyed the activity.

Such a cute cake
Just some of the amazing food- this was so beautiful no-one wanted to eat it. 

Mikayla came up with these super cute center pieces

Brooke with just a few of the gifts she received

Brooke & her cake.. Thankfully she had not dropped it

The girls..
I know Brooke appreciated having everyone come out and celebrate with her. It was a great afternoon. We are under a month till the big day!

After cleaning up from the shower I spent some time with the family. Then we had Coldstone for Father's day. Dad always loves some ice cream, as do I!

To see the whole Album of photos

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

CWPA National Champions

Why I Coach:
Coaching to me has a very different definition than how it would be defined in the Webster Dictionary. I coach so that I can share the knowledge that I have so greatly received from my personal experiences from coaches, athletes, games and situations. I coach to give back to young individuals, help guide then forward in life. I coach to create a place that all feel welcome and that their thoughts and opinions matter with equal weight.

Some individuals coach so that they have complete power. I coach for the opposite, I want to give my athletes power. I get just as much from my athletes as I believe I am giving them. I learn something new constantly from them. My biggest thoughts were during the National Championship game with so much on the line, that my players were still confident in voicing their thoughts on plays and situations. This type of coaching I believe allows for the sharing of constructive information and growth for us all.

This past season was like no other year of coaching. Like anytime coaching there are the good days and bad days. As a coach I have experienced some amazing wins and some very tough losses. This year I was able to rooster and coach two teams an A squad and a B team. This alone created some extremely long days at tournaments coaching 4 games in a day many back to back. Yelling from the bench to my other squad that was supposed to be warming up or cooling down. Or the time we played each other and I was standing near half coaching both sides, I can tell you that game got very confusing.

As the season went on my A squad only lost a game that was at the ASU open invitational. My B squad lost a few and won some great games, getting better every time we played. This was the best part of the year, the girls actually wanted to sub they were playing so much. No one was mad about playing time!Everyone became a better player and teammate. 

Pacific Coast Division Championship:
Victory Swim
In order for us to advance to the National Championship tournament we needed to win the Pacific Coast Division championship, this is something that as a program we had never accomplished. The best we had ever done was 2nd in our league, back in 2012. Where we got 5th at the National Championship (in Florida). The programs only other appearance at the National Championship, prior to this year. That year 2nd was good enough to stamp our ticket because CAL Poly (in our league had one the 2011 National Title- granting our division 2 spots).  That said this year we had to win to advance.

This would be the first time our program got to host the Pacific Coast Division Champs, making a bit of extra work for us. In all it worked to our benefit. The  B team would have a great tournament ending with two wins and two loses. Then the A squad would play through the tournament with little trouble. Then playing a great game against Cal Poly to win! I would get to take a great victory swim. Being pushed in by the girls! It was such an exciting time for the girls and our program. Then we started the planning process Nationals was only three weeks out.
Spending a bit of time stressed with the president we managed to get everyone’s plane tickets to Cleveland Ohio. The hotel booked, our rental cars rented and our paperwork turned in. 

Nationals Bound: 
The trip to Ohio would start super early. We had a 6:15am flight. Of course we had a delay out. Which seems to be the only way I travel these days. Once in Ohio we headed straight to the pool to warm up.The girls got to loosen up and start to feel comfortable with the indoor pool. We then headed to grab some dinner and back to the hotel. Which of course had the water being turned off- after a cross country flight, humid pool and then no shower. This was turning out to be an adventure for us.

Friday we would only have to play one game as the 3 seed, we were playing 14th seed, which would be NYC. I was happy with how the starters came out to play setting  us up for a great tournament.We were then able to rest the starters and play our entire squad. It was great to see some of the younger less experienced players get a great amount of time. We would win 13-6. Game Recap. With a good amount of time left in the day we wanted to rest up, we headed to lunch and the movies. Getting the girls in bed early to set us up for another great day.  

Last huddle before the championship game
Saturday we would play two games. I would also have my own cheering section, Nik made the 2-hour drive to Geneva to watch the games. The girls really enjoyed meeting him. The first game of the day was played against Duke. Thanks to some great help from my old teammates and best friend Anna, I had a full scouting report. We would win the game and everyone would get a great amount of playing time once again. We would defeat Duke 9-2. Game Recap. 

After winning this game we were officially in uncharted territory for our program. History was already being made we were into the semifinals of the National Championship tournament. The semifinals would be against ASU. We had played them at the ASU tournament earlier in the season.We had struggled a bit  in March with them, so I was a bit unsure how this game would go.The girls would come out firing away. They really set the pace of the game, allowing for everyone to play. We would defeat ASU 12-4. Game Recap. After beating ASU we were granted our first ever trip into the NATIONAL Championship game.

MVP Morgan
Sunday would be an exciting day for our program. The girls were a little nervous as was I. The game would start out a little slow for us. The girls then started to settle into the game. This would be the first game of the year in which the girls were pushed. The score would go back and forth. Leading into the fourth quarter, both teams had the opportunity to win the game. Yet defense was great on both side and we held them off. Our goalie Morgan was a brick wall down the line, she stopped everything.  With such great defense, it meant overtime. Two quarters- three minutes. No goals were scored. By this point we had not been subbing much, the girls playing were exhausted. We had two starters that had fouled out of the game. After two more quarters it was sudden death till a winner was crowned. With only about 10 seconds left in the first quarter of sudden death- Meghan Harder was able to sneak the ball into the goal. We would win 10-9. Game Recap 
Celebrating our overtime win
I can fully admit to not even seeing Meghan’s goal. I was watching the other side of the pool, hoping that the girls were running the play that we had just discussed in a timeout. At this point the place erupted; I am not sure if I was pushed in or jumped. Honestly I think it was a bit of both. Not sure I had ever swam so fast in my life. I was in the middle of the girls huddle in what seems like an instance. We spent some time celebrating in the middle, before heading to shake hands. It was such a great game all around. 

After we shook hands, it was award time. We would be presented last with our National Championship plaques. Morgan would be named MVP of the tournament, while Bailey and Kelli were named to 1st team. The girls were just so excited. A few times I wanted to cry just watching the excitement of the girls. During the game was hard, they had never been tested, the entire year they had just won. So for them to dig deep and stay as a team, was wonderful to see. Many times when a team is in a hard place or struggling it all goes bad when the girls start yelling at each other. My team never did this, they were always so positive with each other. As supportive as they could be. Just wanted one thing to all become National Champions. The girls were just so excited, they had so many amazing things to say to me during awards. This tournament and team is one of my proudest moments.

National Champions
Once the awards were over it was time to shower and get on the road. I had heard about the longest & oldest covered bridge just down the road. As a team we would head to see it. Then it was back to San Diego as National Champions! Only a few girls graduate, so I am hoping to have another amazing season next year.

I want to also thank all the parents of the girls. They were just great this season. To all the people that stepped up and made a donation to the program. You helped these girls create one of the best memories of their lives. One of the best parts of this tournament was the CWPA had set up live streaming of all the games via the internet.It was always amazing to receive text messages from family after a game. After the championship game I had over 100 messages from my family- texting back and forth. The joy and love you all sent for me. That you were 100% behind me coaching. Brennan thanks for all your love and understanding when I freak out. To my siblings for all your texts and tweets, coming to watch me coach. Brooke for helping to coach. My parents for being supportive as always. For Brennan's parents watching the game and not thinking that I am crazy after watching me. I am very blessed with amazing athletes and an even better family. 

The league gave me all the games on DVD. I can officially say that I have not watched any of the games yet. I started the championship game, but within seconds my heart rate was rising and I could not do it. Still just so fresh and exciting. Maybe in a few weeks! 

Longest & oldest covered bridge

If you are interested in reading more in-depth about the games check them out below.
Game 1: SDSU vs NYC
Game 3 (Semi Finals): SDSU vs ASU

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Learning SUP

I have only paddled once before. I really enjoyed it, so Brennan and I have been doing some research so that I can purchase a board in the coming days. At PEAR we have a great coach Noelle who is a SUP master, so I enlisted the best. She offered for me to come meet her and Trevor for a lesson and to try out some different boards in Newport/CDM. 

They have a great company if you are interested in learning and taking some classes:
On the race board
It ended up being a super windy evening! Thus making for a bit of trouble in learning. I started on a race design board- which is harder to balance and lighter. Noelle wanted me to start with the hardest board and see how it went. I was learning a lot and doing really well. The wind was starting to pick up a bit. I ended up getting a little worried near the rocks, then the wind and some boats. Well I ended up taking a trip into the ocean. I tried to recover my balance, by walking backwards. When the board is only 12'6 there is not a lot of space to go backwards. Surprisingly the water was not as cold as I expected. Noelle was great and did not laugh at me to hard, that I could tell. 

The paddle back was hard- since it was directly into the wind. I can see why people get a good workout in. My legs were a bit sore-probably from trying to balance the whole time. Then my lower back just from learning to paddle. The right side of my body is way more sore, guess I worked a bit harder paddling that side.  Noelle said that I had great balance especially with how windy it was, that I could even control the race board was impressive for only my second time. 

When I changed boards it was way easier. This board is designed for fitness classes and more of leisure. It was much wider and actually went straight. Where the race board is designed to move fast through the water like a boat, plus it was much lighter. On the other board I was able to just go straight without issue.
Changed boards- was told this is near the perfect paddle stroke!
All in all it was a ton of fun. Falling in hurt my ego a bit- but Noelle was such a great teacher. I was starting to master the correct form near the end of the lesson. I look forward to finding a board that I like and getting more into the sport.

Thanks again to Noelle and Trevor for teaching me. If you are visiting, live in the area please take a few minutes to check out there company. Get on the water today!