September (2) and October (1) 2022 Candygrams

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Saturday, October 8, 2022---Women of Troy Beach Volleyball Championship Rings

My husband Jim and I parked our car at the Coliseum parking lot for the Washington State football game and walked all the way to the Bashor Lounge at Heritage Hall. When we arrived at 12:30 pm, the lounge was already quite full. I put my cameras and bag down. Then I started taking pictures.

4990I saw her first. Tina Graudina was talking to three parents. All four of them posed for my first picture. From left to right were Tom and Karil Scully (Shannon's parents), Tina Graudina (2/26/2022), and Cyndi Devereaux. Tina flew in for the celebration. She has already started playing professionally.

4992Next, I walked out to the patio. Trojan Candy saw two good friends there. The Beach Volleyball announcer Leland Waters and the Women’s Beach Volleyball SID Jeremy Wu posed for my picture.

4993At a nearby table, Trojan Candy saw three team members. From left to right they were sophomore Ava Kirunchyk, sophomore Savannah Davis, and senior Harper Haligren.

4995Trojan Candy walked inside to look for more team members. Then I saw the twins, seniors Audrey (2/21/2020) and Nicole Nourse (2/21/2020) talking with Heidi Kraft (teammate Megan Kraft's mother).

4998Next, Trojan Candy took this picture of Mollie Ebertin and Paige Dreeuws.

50005002Now it is time to take pictures of some of the other guests. My seat was next to my sister Patti and my brother-in-law Dudley Poon.

Right in front of us were three friends. Tim Seno and Wandy and Larry Jung. Yes, the food they were holding was that delicious! YUM!

5004Now, it was time for the Ring Ceremony to begin. Some of our players were out of town playing beach volleyball professionally. The other team members sat in four rows. Trojan Candy took a picture of each row. Sitting in the back row were junior Olivia Bakos, sophomore Colby Bennett, ?, and sophomore Ava Gallien (2/26/2022).

Sitting in the third row were freshman Sterling Fischer, senior Audrey Nourse, Nicole Nourse, and graduate Shannon Scully.
In the second row, there were junior Delaynie Maple (2/26/2022), sophomore Eden McCoy (2/26/2022), junior Caitlin Cummings, and junior Megan Kraft (2/26/2022).
Sitting in the front row were senior Harper Hallgren, sophomore Savannah Davis, sophomore Ava Kirunchyk, and ?.
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To start the program, Leland Waters introduced Athletic Director Mike Bohn. Mike said that every other USC athletic program was trying to emulate the Women’s Beach Volleyball program, especially in academics. Here is my video of his speech.
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Next, Head Coach Dain Blanton spoke about our 2022 winning season.
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Then President Carol Folt complimented the team.
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Now it was time for the team to get their 2022 Championship Rings. Jim took this video as Coach Dain gave a Championship Ring to each player.
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Coach Dain spoke about Tina Graudina as he gave Tina her ring.
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Tina spoke fondly of her coach.
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The entire team opened up their ring boxes.
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The 2022 Season review was shown.
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Coach ended the Ring Ceremony telling the audience what the absent players were involved in.
Trojan Candy took this picture of the Nourse twins showing me their rings.

5067Here is a close-up of their rings.

5053Congratulations 2022 Women of Troy Beach Volleyball NCAA Champions!

FIGHT ON, FOREVER, Women of Troy Beach Volleyball!

Friday, October 7, 2022---Women of Troy Tennis Invitational

My husband Jim and I were able to see several Women of Troy tennis players compete against Gonzaga and Arizona in the Women of Troy Tennis Invitational at Marks Stadium. The Doubles were played first.

Redshirt Sophomores McKenna Koenig (1/21/2022) and Isabelle Lee (1/21/2022) won the first match of the day when they beat Gonzaga’s Aiken/Wernl 7-6 (6).
Sophomore Grace Piper and Graduate transfer Nathalie Rodilosso defeated Arizona’s Carter/Wilkins 6-4.

41314124Unfortunately, Sophomore Sloane Morra and Freshman Emma Charney lost to Gonzaga’s Broerman/Sloan 6-4.

In singles, the Women of Troy won all three matches. McKenna Koenig beat Gonzaga’s Jenna Sloan 6-2, 3-6, 10 (3). Nathalie Rodilosso defeated Gonzaga’s Tiegan Aitken 7-6 (11), 6-1. Grace Piper beat Arizona’s Kayla Wilkins 6-2, 6-4.

FIGHT ON, Women of Troy Tennis!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022---Women of Troy Basketball Practice

My husband Jim and I were invited to a Women of Troy basketball practice in Galen Center. Basketball season is starting soon!

When we entered the gym upstairs, the action had already started. There were a few players standing by the wall watching the action.
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Coach Beth Burns instructed the team before the action started in this video.
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Our women practiced with guys and the action was fast.

4798Trojan Candy saw a familiar face walking around in the gym. It was Kurt Karis, who is now the Director of Scouting for our Men’s Basketball Team. Since I hadn’t interviewed Kurt when he played on our men’s team in 2013-2017, I had to interview him now. I saw Kurt step outside, so I rushed out to interview him. Kurt, with a smile, let me interview him. He told me that he attended USC graduate school for two years, and then he became the Director of Scouting for Coach Enfield. Then, he told me that he has proposed to his girlfriend Jillian, and they are getting married in September 2023. CONGRATULATIONS, Kurt and Jillian! More personally, Kurt told me that he and Jillian take walks in the neighborhood. They like to cook together and try out new restaurants. Kurt’s favorite food is pepperoni pizza. For hobbies he plays Pickleball and Ping Pong. He likes to watch movies, and his favorite music is Hip Hop and Electric Dance Music. Kurt’s favorite artist is Elvis! Thanks for letting me finally interview you, Kurt, and FIGHT ON!

video 3894After Kurt's interview, I returned to the practice. Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb gathered the team together in a huddle. I took a video. Coach Gottlieb introduced a Woman of Troy Alumna Kristen Simon, who played at SC in 2014-2018. Read Kristen’s INTERVIEW HERE (12/30/2018). Finally, the team sang “Happy Birthday” to Director of Player Development Courtney Jaco.

After the huddle broke, the team shook hands with all of the spectators and thanked each one for attending the practice.

Trojan Candy was able to take this picture of Coach Gottlieb first. Then I rushed over to take pictures of each player.
#34 Clarice Akunwafo
#25 Alyson Miura, #52 Rokia Doumbia, and #4 Kayla Williams
#30 Kadi Sissoko
#13 Rayah Marshall and John Skinner
#11 Destiny Littleton, #1 Taylor Bigby, Coach Lindsay Gottlieb, #2 India Otto, and #52 Rokia Doumbia
#24 Okako Aduka and #12 Bella Perkins
Rokia Doumbia and Kadi Sissoko
Student manager Cameron, Athletic trainer Erin Tillman, and Kayla Williams
Clarice Akunwafo, Aaliyah Gayles, and Kayla Williams
#0 Koi Love
Coach Beth Burns

4819All the invitees posed together for this picture.

4825Next, we went downstairs for a reception with refreshments. Trojan Candy had time to visit with Kristen Simon. She has been playing year round overseas. Currently, Kristen has been in Israel for 6-8 months. She has kept in contact with her teammates. Kristen mentioned Amy Okonkwo, who is playing overseas, and Cheyanne Wallace, 4826who is coaching. So nice to see you again, Kristen! KEEP FIGHTING ON!

Kristen's teammate Courtney Jaco joined her for this picture. Trojan Candy interviewed Courtney on March 24, 2017. KEEP FIGHTING ON, Courtney!

4828Danielle Duran, Rashaad Moore, and Jennifer Noriega posed for this picture.

After the refreshments, we moved into another larger room where Coach Gottlieb usually has team meetings. video 3897She then showed us a team workout video.

Thank you so much, Coach Gottlieb! What an exciting practice!