September 4, 2012

Inside SU volleyball: Sea Gulls invade New York City

Senior Jenna Shay is in her fourth year on the Salisbury University volleyball team. She graduated from Northern High School in Owings, Md., and is a native of Dunkirk. As an opposite hitter, she has been a mainstay on the Sea Gulls' front line throughout her career. This season, she will bring a behind-the-scenes look at Salisbury volleyball with blogs that take us into the lockerroom, the huddle and on the road with the team.

My name is Jenna Shay and I am one of the five seniors on the volleyball team at Salisbury University. I have played with the team all four years of my college career and have had the best time playing the sport that I love and becoming such great friends with all of my teammates.

This past weekend we started off the season by traveling to New York City for the NYU Invitational. The tournament began on Friday, but since the trip was so long we left on Thursday evening. The four-hour bus trip was filled with movies, eating, napping and of course lots of girl talk. We stayed at a Hilton Hotel in New Jersey only a few minutes away from the gym.

Our first game was at 3:30 p.m. on Friday so the team was able to explore the "city that never sleeps" a little bit first. Our first stop was to the 9/11 Memorial. We were able to get group tickets and we the first ones inside at 10 a.m. Visiting the memorial was an amazing and moving experience. Inside there are two 30-foot waterfalls that pour into a pool, which then descends into a center void placed at the exact locations where the twin towers stood. On the outside of the pools all of the victims' names are inscribed in bronze. Also at the memorial was the only tree found in the rubble from 9/11 that lived. It is a Callery pear tree and is known as the "Survivor Tree." This tree embodies the story of survival and resilience that is so important to the history of 9/11. All of the girls and I were so thankful that we were able to go to the memorial and pay our respects to all of the victims of 9/11.

After the memorial we got to experience the famous New York deli for lunch. We went to George's Deli where there was every type of sandwich you could imagine available. There were also breakfast choices, pasta, salads and so many different desserts. While eating our many choices from the deli, the team also got to see some of New York City while driving to the gym. We went through Times Square and got to see where the ball drops, the red stairs, theaters where many of the Broadway plays are shown and the studio where TRL on MTV used to tape.

Once at the gym, we all knew it was time to focus. On both Friday and Saturday we played back-to-back matches. The gym didn't have any air conditioning so it was extremely hot just sitting on the bleachers, so playing volleyball in a sauna was definitely a challenge. But the team pushed passed the heat and played our game. We came out of the tournament undefeated and tournament champions.

We couldn't have asked for a better start to our season. Getting the chance to see New York City and winning all of our matches in three games was amazing. I really believe that our team could go far this year and I can't wait to experience it with these girls.

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