Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Kristina Baum's Player Diary From Arizona Volleyball's homestand versus Stanford and Cal
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 18, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Junior opposite Kristina Baum kept a player diary during Arizona volleyball’s homestand vs. Stanford and Cal.


Kristina was named Pac-10 Player of the Week and AVCA National Player of the Week for her performances against Stanford and Cal.



This morning I did a radio show again, for the third time this semester. Kim [Glass] and Bre [Ladd] came with me to promote this week’s matches against Stanford and Cal. As a seasoned vet, they all know me on a first name basis. Apparently, they have seen me so many times that I don’t even get a handshake anymore. This morning all I got was a wave and a “hey.” We are just that close now.


Anyway, it is fun doing the radio. Chris Rogers from our men’s basketball team was there as well. Our men’s basketball team has McKale Madness on Friday after we play Cal. That is going to be a fun match. I can’t wait for the big crowd to roll in and fill the stands. The good thing about Friday night’s match is that Cal is a really good team, so it’s going to be a competitive match that should be worthwhile to the crowd. When the crowd gets into our matches, it is always intense and more fun to play in an environment like that.


I’m so excited, not just for our match against Cal, but for Stanford too. Stanford is ranked No. 3, and they are the reigning NCAA champs. I want to bring them down from their throne. Right now, it is close to midnight and I should be studying or going to bed, but I can’t. I wonder if Dave [Coach Rubio] is awake right now. I would not doubt it if Dave is up watching film or writing down everything that should happen tomorrow and at what times those things should occur. No wonder he has so little hair.  Maybe I should just go over there and watch film with him ... Hmmm ... Yeah right. Bedtime. Tomorrow awaits ... good night.




I can’t sit still. I’m restless. I want to play now. Can tonight come any slower? I guess I’ll go eat.


Post Match

Wow! I don’t even know where to start. I need a second to breathe and take it all in. Yessss! We won tonight in five games. Five games ... Phew! By far, this was our best match of the season thus far, without a doubt. Without a single doubt. It’s about two hours after our match finished and my adrenaline is still flowing. My head hurts from screaming and getting excited between rallies. My heart is pounding out of my chest. I love it. I loved every single minute of that match.


We had our ups and downs, like every match does, but we battled until the very end. I have not heard of a five-game match that was won very easily or prettily. We got some bad calls by the refs, which, unbelievably, is something that happens all the time. Our passing was just okay. We missed some serves at the wrong times. I was supposed to set when Randy [Goodenough] was put in the front row for Amy [Dyck] to block, and I just stood there like a little girl waiting for her mommy. We missed our blocking assignments a few times. There were about a million match points for Stanford in the fourth game, but never ever did we give up. Never.


Personally, I started the game off the way I usually like to start my games off, with a block. Straight down. No chance. After that, there was no looking back. Last play of the game ... Amy one handed back set to me. Two blockers up. (At least I think there were two.) By the way, that last set was probably one of two sets that I actually had two blockers up on me out of like 30 sets. Back to Amy’s one handed set, which she probably learned from our assistant coach Steven Walker, 1970’s all-time assist leader. (It’s something like that, maybe a couple years off). I had two blockers up, and I knew I should have tipped it right behind the block the way Dave teaches us to do. Of course, I didn’t. I took a swing. They couldn’t handle the heat, so I got the kill. Game. Set. Match. I was so excited I fell to my knees. Actually, the real reason I fell to my knees was because I was exhausted. I’m almost 21. I’m not as young as I used to be. But I put everything I had into that match, and we won. I’m so proud of my kitties.


Although we won tonight, the true test is tomorrow night against Cal. The week is not over. To make this match even sweeter, we need to win tomorrow night. To start, I need some rest. All claws are out tomorrow against the Bears. It’s going to be madness! McKale Madness, that is.



Pre Match

Usually, everyone is up doing last minute things before our game, but I can tell everyone is tired. All the couches in our locker  room are filled with a slouching player. Nobody is playing baseball with a paper ball and paper bat like “Steph” [Butkus] and Amy were yesterday before our game. Too quiet. Almost no physical motion. I have a feeling this is going take every last ounce of energy and lots of mental toughness to beat Cal tonight. Whatever it takes...


Post Match

That is what I’m talking about!! Woo woo! We won in three against Cal tonight. It was some ugly volleyball, but we pulled it off. We started out the way I thought we would start out, lacking a little energy and looking like we just played an emotional five-game match the night before. I knew it was going to be a battle from the very beginning, with ourselves and obviously Cal. We fought till the bitter end.


The interesting part about our match was that I thought the crowd would have a bigger impact on our game. Although we had more people in the crowd than in our Stanford match, the crowd was more into the game on Thursday night. Even though tonight’s crowd was more interested in getting good seats for McKale Madness, they booed at the appropriate times, which showed they had to be watching something. Either way, we won.


I’m so proud of my team for battling it out tonight. Everyone struggled in some way, whether it was with their personal injury or simply being physically tired, but we put it all together and finished the week off right. Now everyone is going to be out to get us with our wins this weekend. I say, bring it!  I am soooo tired ... I’m ... so ... tired ... I ... see ... the ... light ... I’m going ... now.


Back to my roots in So Cal next weekend. We’ll see what is Bruin in LA when the Trojans try to protect themselves against the wrath of some Wild Kitties.

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