February 2018 (3) Candygrams

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Thursday, February 22, 2018---Women of Troy Beach Volleyball Kick-Off

Dudley and Patti PoonTrojan Candy arrived at the Lab Gastropub Restaurant right at 4:00 pm for the Beach Volleyball Kickoff. Every guest was given a lei to wear. I put my stuff down near where brother-in-law Dudley Poon and sister Patti were sitting.

Alexandra PolettoImmediately, I met a new Beach Volleyball (BVB) player. She was selling raffle tickets. Her name is Alexandra Poletto. She is a graduate student who matriculated from Colorado State where she majored in Sports Medicine. She is working on her USC Master's degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovations. More personally, Alexandra started playing volleyball when she was fourteen. Her hobbies are hiking, skiing, baking and cooking. Alexandra told me that she doesn't have a favorite food....she likes to eat everything. Her favorite television programs are "How to Get Away with Murder," "Scandal" and "Now You See It." As for music, Alexandra likes electronic and R and B music. FIGHT ON, Alexandra! Yes, Trojan Candy did buy raffle tickets from her.

Cake and trophy
I walked by the BVB cake and 2017 NCAA Beach Volleyball National Championship trophy.
Kelly Dormandy and Terese Cannon
Nearby were BVB Strength and Conditioning Coach Kelly Dormandy (2/15/2015) and Senior Terese Cannon (3/3/2016).
Nicolette Martin
BVB Alumna Nicolette Martin (3/5/2015) posed by her painting that she donated for a door prize.
Paige Hines and Jenna Belton
Then I saw two friends, BVB Alumna Paige Hines (1/31/2014) and Senior Jenna Belton (5/10/2017).
Joy Dennis
Sophomore Joy Dennis (3/2/2017) and I talked for a while.
Alexa Strange, ? and Falyn Fonoimoana
Then Trojan Candy saw friend and Alumna Alexa Strange (3/3/2016). She told me that she is now playing on the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour with a fellow Trojan, Falyn Fonoimoana (7/22/2010). Falyn played indoor volleyball at USC as a sophomore in 2010. Alexa, another USC Volleyball alumna and Falyn posed for me.
Emily Young and Sara Hughes
Trojan Candy finally saw good friend Sara Hughes (1/31/2014). BVB Alumna Emily Young (5/11/2016) posed with her.
Anna Collier and Sara Hughes
Head Coach Anna Collier happily joined Sara.
Abril Bustamante, Haley Hallgren, Joy Dennis, Katrina Kernochan and Lainy Thomas
Five players smiled for me. Abril Bustamante, Haley Hallgren, Joy Dennis, Katrina Kernochan and Lainy Thomas (3/2/2017).

Now it was time to interview any more new BVB players.

Haley HallgrenNext, I interviewed Freshman Haley Hallgren. Haley is from South Lake, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Haley started playing Beach Volleyball in the 6th grade. She is majoring in Business Administration and said that she chose USC because it "felt like home." More personally, Haley likes Italian food. Her favorite music is by Matchbook 20 and Train. Haley's favorite movie is "The Shawshank Redemption," and her favorite television shows are "This is It" and "Feels Like Home." FIGHT ON, Haley!

Lynn SwannNearby, Athletic Director Lynn Swann posed, without protest, for a picture for me. Maybe, because his wife Charena and I were talking.

Alexandra Poletto, Bill Bau and Tina GraudinaFriend Bill Bau gladly posed with Alexandra Poletto and Tina Graudina.

Luckily, I was able to interview Freshman Tina Graudina next. Tina is from Jurmala, Latvia. She is majoring in Political Science. Her favorite food is all kinds of fruit. She didn't mention any favorite movies or television shows, but her favorite book is the "Harry Potter" Series.Tina Graudina She told me that she has been reading Harry Potter books since she was five years old. Trojan Candy is not sure if Tina understood my question about her hobby. Tina told me that her hobby is volleyball. I am sure glad that she chose to be a Trojan! FIGHT ON, Tina!

Katie Fuller, Alexis Olgard and Louis WongTrojan Candy walked around looking for more BVB players. I found two USC Volleyball Alumnae talking with friend Louis Wong. Katie Fuller and Alexis Olgard posed with Louis.

Joy Dennis, Sammy Slater and Maja KaiserI found two more Freshmen players standing with Joy Dennis. Sammy Slater and Maja Kaiser are both incoming Freshmen.

Trojan Candy did something she has never done before. I interviewed Sammy and Maja at the same time!

Sammy SlaterI'll write about Sammy Slater first. Sammy is from Ventura, California. She started playing indoor volleyball when she was eight and switched to BVB when she was twelve. Sammy's favorite food is sushi. Her favorite movie is "Shutter Island." For her hobby, she plays the ukulele. Sammy's favorite musicians are "Beach House." FIGHT ON, Sammy!

Maja KaiserMaja Kaiser is from the tiny city of Bulverde, Texas. She told me that Bulverde is right outside San Antonio. That makes three Texans on the roster! Sophomore Lainy Thomas is from Frisco, Texas. Trojan Candy is a Texan also...born and raised in Houston, Texas! Now, more about Maja. She started playing indoor volleyball when she was nine years old and switched to BVB when she was thirteen years old. Maja's favorite food is pizza. Her favorite movie is "Napoleon Dynamite." Maja's hobby is taking care of her four dogs. Her favorite music is alternative and "dream pop" Beach House music. FIGHT ON, Maja!

Team and CoachesI finished my double interview just in the nick of time. Head Coach Anna Collier gathered her team for the introductions. Meet the 2018 Women of Troy Beach Volleyball Team and Coaches.

TeamHere is an almost too close-up picture of our 2018 Beach Volleyball Team. I couldn't move back to take the picture because there were lots of people standing behind me.

By now, the USC Pep Band had arrived. I walked to the south gate exit to walk around to take a picture.Tara and Alexa Strange

That is where Trojan Candy saw a very dear friend. Tara Strange was sitting next to her daughter Alexa. Tara told me that she is writing a children's book now on her computer. That is quite an accomplishment....since Tara is totally blind. I wanted to talk more, but I had to get the picture.

Team and Band
I just made it in time to take this picture of the team and the band.
Now, it was time to walk across the street to the Merle Norman Stadium for the Alumnae Challenge Match.
Emily Young
Before I left the Gastropub, I took this picture of Emily Young carrying her door prize painting by Nicolette Martin.
Paige Hines and Sara Hughes
Then, I was lucky to catch friends Paige Hines and Sara Hughes together.
Trojan Candy finally crossed the street. Here is our National Championship Banner.
Team warming up
I took one last picture of our team warming up.

Trojan Candy was too cold, and I wanted to go into the warm Galen Center to see the Women of Troy Basketball game against Utah.

FIGHT ON, USC Women of Troy Beach Volleyball Team!