Rising junior setter Maggie Brindock is one of 48 athletes participating in this summer's USA Volleyball Women's National A2 Team Program. Brindock's training began June 26 at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, while the matches will be held June 30 to July 4 during the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships (GJNC) at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. During the pre-tournament training session, the 48 athletes will be divided into four teams of 12 players that will play one match per day during the GJNC. All matches will be A2 competing against each other in a round-robin format followed by a semifinal and final round. Brindock will be sharing her experiences with Irish UNDerground throughout the event ... -- July 4 Greetings Irish fans and Happy 4th! Well, my time in Columbus has now come to a close. This experience has been one that I will never forget. I will be able to take what I have learned and put it to great use for the Irish! Today finished up the tournament. Last night, we went up against the Gold team and we had a hard loss in five games. It was a great match, with high intensity volleyball, but we just did not finish on top. With that said, we played today against team Blue. We fought hard, and we played well, but we ended short losing in five. We were always right there, with the opportunity to win, but it did not work out. My time with the National A2 team has been so enjoyable! I have met many girls, and I know I will stay in touch with a couple of them. Those who were strangers to me when I started this camp are now good friends as I leave. I have said each time that this entire opportunity has made me realize how truly blessed I am. The memories that I will take away from this will stay with me always. I know I improved my game with the ten days I have spent here, but most importantly, I had fun doing it! I smiled a lot and I enjoyed myself, on and off the court, and I know if I did that, this experience was totally worth it. Now that my time playing with USA is over, for now, I am all about the Fighting Irish! Watch out, because NDVB 2012 is ready to take on anything that comes our way! We will be strong, I have no doubt. Take care my Irish fans. Come support Notre Dame volleyball this year! Always remember, JUST BELIEVE, and GO IRISH!
July 2 Howdy friends! Another day down for the 48 of us! Today played out much like yesterday and the day before. I woke up, ate a hardy breakfast, and then we practiced for about an hour to work on a few specific things. After a nice little workout, I relaxed and then it was time for lunch! We headed over to the convention center around 3 for our 4 o'clock match. Today we went up against the gold team. We worked really hard, and did well, but it just was not enough. We came up short again today, but it is okay. The past three days of competition have been a chance for us to grow as a team and fix certain things that are holding us back from being the best. Although the end result was not what we wanted, we are all learning and that is what is most important. I felt good today. I was confident... I had fun... And I learned a lot. I know if I can learn something each day from my experience here, I will not only be successful here, but I also will be able to carry that success into the future. Tomorrow starts the real competition, the tournament. My team came in 3rd, so we will play the 2nd placed team tomorrow. We will have another chance to go up against team gold, but this time we will come out on top. Also in the tournament, we will be playing a 3 out of 5 match. It will be a high level of volleyball on both sides of the net, and I cannot wait to get it started! After the match today, I had a young girl who played club for a New Mexico team come up to me. The little girl and her mom started to talk with me and explained that she was a setter and just wanted to meet me. She asked to have her picture taken with me... And it was the coolest thing. I could not stop smiling after that. It was awesome to think that a total stranger had watched me play, came up to me, and wanted a picture taken together. It was just a very cool feeling. It once again was a moment to remember how blessed I am. The rest of the night I spent with my parents. No crazy storms today... Hallelujah! Just a relaxing night with them, and a nice dinner. All for today! Enjoy the little things in life people! Always remember, JUST BELIEVE, and GO IRISH! -- July 1 Greetings my Irish fans! Another day is down here in Columbus, Ohio! My time here is flying by. The first half of my day was relaxing. I woke up, got breakfast and just laid around until it was time for lunch. Today's competition was at a very high level! My team came up just a little short, but I know we will learn from it. As a team and individuals, we all have so much room to grow, and I know by the time the semi-finals and finals come around, we will all be at our prime. Even though as a team we did not come out victorious, today was a great day for me! I know I grew as a player and a leader and that has been my goal throughout this entire experience. I have been taught a new way to look at the game, and I am really grasping it. I feel strong and confident...And let me tell you, it's the best feeling ever! I know the skills and techniques I am learning through the A2 program will help me tremendously for the Irish! It was another great day to put down in the books. I am playing the game I love, with great girls and coaches, and also have my family here cheering me on. Truly blessed! My parents and I had a great dinner tonight at this Italian restaurant! On our walk back to their hotel, another bad storm started to come through Columbus. We were running against 70 mph winds and it started to rain right as we got inside. We are all safe now inside, but definitely very scary. Another crazy experience here! Hanging out the rest of the night! Always remember, JUST BELIEVE, and GO IRISH! -- June 29 Hello my favorite Irish fans! Today was day one of competition! The 48 of us were put into four teams on Friday. The teams are red, white, blue, and gold. I was put on team red! Before I get to the details of the match, yesterday, here in Columbus, there was a pretty rough storm that hit! I am sure you all have heard that on the news. The winds were crazy and the entire university lost power, and they are still recovering. Some of the roofs were blown off and there were parts of trees all over different areas of campus. Everyone here is safe, but this city got hit hard! Now for today... The competition was excellent! My team went up against the white team! We played three games to 25 and we came out victorious with a 2-1 win against them. It was a great way to start out the tournament. Today brought back so many memories! Being in that convention center with hundreds of teams brought me back to all the tournaments I had in club. Those were some great times. My parents came up to watch me and it felt just like the old days with them right on court side cheering me on. It is weird to me that this time two years ago I was representing my club in Dallas, but now I have USA across my chest. I am so blessed, and it is these times that I need to slow everything down and remember how far I have come and be proud of that. Today was a good day... And I know tomorrow can be better. Confidence is key my friends. Never stop believing in yourself... I have to always remind myself of that. That is all for now. We take on team blue tomorrow... It is so on! Always remember, JUST BELIEVE, and GO IRISH! -- June 28 Hello Irish fans! I have now completed three full days at the A2 National camp and the experience so far has been unforgettable. I am having a blast playing volleyball, and also meeting so many cool girls from colleges all over the country. The talent here is unreal, and it is crazy to me that I am a part of it! This morning I was up at 7:15 a.m, and ready to get to breakfast by 7:30. Everything at this campus is a short walk away, so it is easy to get to and from the dorms, dining hall, and the gym. For the first session of the day, the setters and liberos had to be dressed and ready for an 8:30 start time. We needed those extra reps! The middles, outsides, and right sides joined in at 9! Most of the morning was filled of drills, mainly passing a defense! I have to say, not my favorite part of the game, but I know I learned a lot and got better! After practice, the usual schedule continued ... lunch and then time off until 3! I was really looking forward to the next session because I knew we were mainly going to scrimmage! For the full two and a half hours, we scrimmaged ... and it was great! The 48 of us truly began to feel comfortable with each other and our true personalities started to show as the competition got higher and higher. Once it was over, it was once again time to eat ... volleyball players never stop eating! Tonight around 7, we all met in the lobby to watch tape on the USA National Team when they played in the qualifying tournament to get to London. The match was against Brazil. The talent, leadership, and determination that I saw watching those girls were unreal! It is amazing to think that most of them were in the shoes I am in now only a couple of years ago. Here I am now, hanging out in my room, and reminiscing about the great couple of days that I have had here in Columbus. Tomorrow morning we find out our teams for the tournament! I am anxious to see who will be on my team, but I know either way playing at the convention center, starting Saturday, it will definitely be the high point of this entire experience! That is all for now. Off to relax and watch a show or two on my computer! Always remember, JUST BELIEVE, and GO IRISH! -- June 26-27 My first day began yesterday with an 8:30 a.m. flight to the city that I have been thinking about since the day I found out that I made the A2 National Team. Going into the trip I was a little nervous, not so much about volleyball but more so because I did not know anyone and some things were just unknown. Once I landed in Columbus, I was greeting by one of the coaches for the camp. I met a few other girls at the airport and we were driven to Ohio Dominican University. As I walked into the dorm doors, I was greeted by other coaches and was given my gear and linens. My room situation is great! I am in a suite with three other girls, but we each have our own room! As I unpacked and got settled, I began to look through the gear that I was given. As I pulled out the jerseys, and warm-ups, it all started to sink in. The jerseys read 'USA' ... enough said right there. I could not believe that I was here, with this opportunity to play with some of the top collegiate players, it actually gave me chills. The camp started with everyone going to dinner at the dining hall, and then we headed to the gym for our first practice. The practice last night was mainly playing, and it was so fun to just play and have fun. It lasted for about two and a half hours and then I headed back to the dorms. It was time for bed shortly after that. This morning, it was rise and shine around 7:15. My suite mates and I headed to breakfast, got in that protein, and then walked over to the gym. In the morning session, we were split up into our positions for a good portion of the practice, and we worked on drills and technical things. Later on, we got into some playing situations. After a great workout, it was time for lunch. The food here is not too shabby, and today for lunch they had cannolis for dessert. I was a happy camper. After lunch, I headed back to my room to lie down until our next practice, which started at 3:00. We were told that the second session was going to be more playing, and oh boy was it! We played for the entire two and a half hour practice, and it was phenomenal! We did different kinds of six on six, and it was great to play with different girls throughout the practice. After practice, it was once again time to eat, my favorite part of the day. The food of course was great. Now, I am in my room, writing this blog, and thinking about how blessed I am so be a part of this! It truly is starting to sink in! But that is all for tonight folks. I am off to relax and watch some "One Tree Hill" on ITunes! Always remember, JUST BELIEVE, and GO IRISH!