Keri Coats Journal No. 1

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
OCTOBER 01, 2003
OU outside hitter Keri Coats will take Sooner fans behind the scenes as Oklahoma plays its 2003 volleyball schedule. This is the first installment of her weekly journal. We've also added a link so you can submit your own questions for Keri to respond to in her next entry.
Keri Coats
Journal Entry No. 1 (Oct. 1, 2003)
With the volleyball season nearly half done, I've started on my journal a bit late. I apologize to all the Sooner fans out there but I promise to make up for it in the future. Before I go into the team and our successes this season, let me fill everyone in about myself.

I am a junior outside hitter for OU's volleyball team and I have only been in Norman since July. I transferred to OU from the College of Southern Idaho, which is one of the best junior college volleyball programs in the country. If there is one thing that stands out about me it would have to be my height. I am 6-4 and I love being tall.

When I was in sixth grade I was nearly six feet tall and by the end of eighth grade I was already 6-2. Of course I was picked on some as a kid because of my height but I've always enjoyed the attention I get because of it. I stand out from a crowd and I like that.

I grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho, with my parents and brother (Andy, 18) and sister (Erica, 12). Southern Idaho is located in Twin Falls, so I didn't travel far for the first two years of college. Now that I am in Norman, the only things I miss about Twin Falls are my family and home cooking. Norman and Twin Falls really aren't that different, both are fairly small towns but Norman is much busier. I remember days at CSI when I would walk to class and not see anyone. Norman has a great college town atmosphere and its something that I enjoy.

I haven't had any problems fitting in with the volleyball team here. We are a close knit group. Of course the team has its own cliques but that is going to happen on every team. The freshmen gravitate to each other because they are going through the same adjustments, as do the upperclassmen, for the same reasons.

I live with senior setter Kelly McCarter and we've quickly become close friends. Everyone comments about how quickly Kelly and I have bonded. It's a bit corny, but in many ways it feels like we have known each other forever. We finish each other's sentences and can read each other better than ourselves.

Kelly and I are two of the eight newcomers on our team this season. We are both looked upon as leaders of the team. Kelly is a team-captain with senior Yvette Villanueva and sophomore Sheena Werling. My role on the team is more understated. I don't show very many emotions on the court and I think that I bring a calming influence to our young team. I think the younger players call on me with questions because they know my answers won't be jaded by my temperament.

I am excited about this team and think that we have a chance to win every time we step on the floor. We are 8-7 right now and have unfortunately lost our first three Big 12 matches. In some ways that is good though. We have a lot of freshman who have never seen competition like this. It opens there eyes and forces them to turn it up to another level. They're also learning that they can't take any nights off.

The coaching staff has been working hard with the team on our ball control all season, but especially since the start of conference. The more we improve our passing the better this team will get in every aspect. As a hitter I get tired of the ball control work because I want to swing. I am a right side hitter, all I want to do is hit and really, besides blocking, that is my only responsibility. In the same light, I understand that the more our ball control improves the more I will see the ball.

Today we head off to Baylor for a night match in Waco. This will be my first chartered flight with OU. It's going to be a completely new experience because in J.C. ball you don't charter flights. Our flight leaves at 12:30 and it should take around an hour or so to get there, then right after the match we get on the plane and head back. It's a luxury that we don't have to spend any time in airports. We have been on the road for 15 of our 16 games (including tonight) this season, so I am in favor of any time that we can cut on the road.

Once we get to Waco we'll pile into a few rental cars and head to a restaurant. Coach will give us plenty of time to relax at our pre-game meal. Last weekend, Coach Mahi gave us an hour to walk around the mall in Mahhattan (Kansas) after our pre-game meal but we probably won't have time for it today.

After we eat it will be close to 4 p.m. and we'll head over to the Ferrell Center (Baylor's arena) and begin preparing for the match. In the locker room, it is generally just the team getting taped up and mentally preparing. Sometimes we'll watch a movie but in instances like today, all the time will be spent preparing. At 5 p.m., we hit the court for an hour and begin our regular warm up drills. The court is shared during the final hour prior to the match, with both teams running numerous drills on the court. Warm ups usually fly by and then the real fun begins.

I am off to catch that chartered flight I talked about. Hope you enjoyed my first journal entry. Go Sooners!

- #13 Keri Coats
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