Quite a 1st Full Day for the Eph Volleyball Team in Newport News

Quite a 1st Full Day for the Eph Volleyball Team in Newport News

W A T C H - Practice at The Freeman Center

W A T C H - A Visit to Deer Park Elementary School

W A T C H - A Magic Trick and a Banquet

The Ephs started their day with a 9:00 AM breakfast call, where they availed of a breakfast buffet along with some of the other competing teams.

At 10:00 AM the Ephs piled into two vans to head over to The Freeman Center at Christopher Newport University, the site of the Elite Eight games.

Each of the participating teams was allowed a one-hour closed practice at The Freeman Center.

The Freeman Center at Christopher Newport University is one of the oldest buildings on campus and it was built in 2001. Christopher Newport University is a state school that is liberal arts-oriented and has 5,000 students.

The area in The Freeman Center where the matches will be played is encircled by a running track that has a carpet like surface, but the actual volleyball court surface was brought in by the NCAA and is a rubberized mat of interlocking four-foot sections known as Sport Court.

The Eph practice at 11 AM was on the game court, but prior to that they were able to stretch and do a little hitting 40 yards away on a court shielded by curtains.

Upon entering their locker room at the Freeman Center the Ephs received a backpack with goodies in it and then later after practice they tried on NCAA jackets to make sure the jacket they would receive later would be the correct fit.

For lunch the Ephs walked across the highway in front of The Freeman Center to Panera Bread for a takeout lunch so they could return to the hotel and shower before heading over to Deer Park Elementary School for the community service component of the Elite Eight experience.

An enthusiastic crowd of Deer Park students greeted the Ephs upon their entrance to the school. It was a loud and enthusiastic greeting with some of the students waving green and white pompoms.

Head coach Christi Kelsey divided the Ephs into two groups and one group went with her into the gym and the other followed assistant coach Mike Bynon to another area.

In the gym Eph players were presented with a list of questions to answer and later on some students were able to ask the Ephs questions of their own. First, however, everyone watched the highlight video compiled by Rachel Nguyen '16 of the NCAA New England Regional championship match.

After the Ephs answered the questions about how they came to love their sport, who influenced them the most growing up, and what their favorite win was it was time for the students in attendance who made the honor roll to be recognized.

As each student received his/her certificate for making the honor roll he/she would proceed down a line of Ephs and coach Kelsey exchanging high fives.

At the end of the assembly coach Kelsey decided to gather everyone in the center of the gym to do a volleyball cheer and the Ephs were engulfed by their eager hosts who gave it their all on the cheer.

At the conclusion of the cheer it was time for the students to move on, but not before several dozen took the opportunity to greet the Ephs players with hugs and more high fives.

Back at the hotel the Ephs had a little break, where they could relax or catch-up on their studies before heading down to the Elite Eight Banquet and a team photo.

Outside the banquet room the Eph players ran into "Treybo", a magician who looked a lot like the gym teacher at Deer Park School, who amazed the team with a card trick where he not only guessed the card that Ryan Farley had pulled from a deck of cards, but had the answer tattooed on his right arm!

Funmi Adejobi was treated to a trick that involved a special magic stick, that resembled a wider swizzle stick. Treybo wrote Funmi's first name on the stick with a black sharpie. Then he changed the name on the stick to his name by tapping it on Funmi's hand. Funmi later was given the stick with her name on one side and Treybo's name in red on the other.

The banquet not only honored the eight participating teams, but all of the seniors on each team, the AVCA All-Americans, and included a session where two players from each team gave a short talk about their school and their team. Seniors Claire Miller and Emily O'Day represented the Ephs.

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