A new addition to the New York Legion roster for next weekend's VLA Kickoff Classic, outside hitter Cody Kessel (@codykessel) joins the show in anticipation of returning to volleyball in a week. He talks about growing up in Colorado where there's barely any boys' volleyball, having USAV legend John Kessel as a father, taking a gap year between high school and starting at Princeton, switching from opposite to outside hitter as a pro, and playing abroad with a record setting number of Americans on a team. We also get into his long standing connections with Team LVC and what a great opportunity being able to play next weekend is. Great chat with a big name in the USA Volleyball world.
Phoenix Ascension setter Zach Melcher (@zach_em_smack_em) joins the show to talk about his quarterback-like approach to the setter position, his transferring from Cal Baptist to Grand Canyon JUST before Cal Baptist's program was cut, his first professional season overseas in the Czech Republic, and much more. An impressive rapid fire question performance is followed by some Ascension talk - what it's like to have Joe Kauliakamoa as a teammate, what it's like to keep playing with/for Vince Zanzucchi, and how quickly the Ascension are going to be able to shake off the rust before flying east to play in a couple weeks. Great show with a stud setter with a ton of personality.
VOLLEYBALL IS BACK! That's right, real, live, professional sports are back on the schedule! VLA Director of Player Relations Tim Falknor rejoins the show to talk a few quick details about the event now on the calendar: July 3-5 at the Ball Sports Academy in Angola, IN. Stay tuned to the VLA social media platforms for many more details!
Rob (@rstclaire1) goes solo again this episode to break down the play and commentary of a match from last year's FIVB World Cup between the US and Brazil. You'll definitely want to watch the video for this one on the VLA YouTube channel!
Chicago Icemen outside hitter Mark Jones (@mjoneo11) joins the show to break down his volleyball career in detail, from hilariously humble beginnings to a stellar college career at George Mason where he shared EIVA co-player of the year honors with some guy named Aaron Russell. He breaks down the differences between outside hitter and opposite in detail, plus the mindset shifts from beach to indoor at a very high level. We also get into several aspects of how awesome the volleyball community is, from Chicago to nationwide and how all the VLA players are coming together to grow the game. Be sure to check out the episode on the VLA YouTube channel to catch a cameo appearance by Mark's dog, Oakley!
Team Pineapple outside hitter Tomás Goldsmith (@tomas.goldsmith) joins the show to talk about his unique volleyball career. He gets into the transition from playing division 1 libero to absolute all star college club outside hitter, how he's continued to level up his game since college, how his jump serve is so crazy good, and how his indoor game translates onto the grass. After the extremely intense quick fire questions Tomás compares playing volleyball to being a professional musician (which he went to school for) and goes through his history with Team Pineapple. Great episode with a star of the league.
Your familiar host and VLA play by play guy Rob St. Claire (@rstclaire1) goes solo for this show to talk about volleyball broadcasting. Just about everyone in the volleyball community knows what it's like to be frustrated by bad uneducated commentators while watching a match...Rob gets into why it's such a common problem, what it takes to be a better volleyball broadcaster, who are the best in the world, and more. He also breaks down an old USA men's national team match highlight video, looking at the play and Paul Sunderland's commentary. Highly recommend checking out the video version on the VLA YouTube channel, at least for the match analysis portion.
Hope you enjoy the slightly different format! Normal episode with a guest coming Friday.
SoCal Rising Tide head coach and occasional libero Ryan Windisch (@tropicalwindy) joins the show to talk about playing, coaching, and everything in between. He has a unique perspective on collegiate volleyball having played at the junior college level, the NCAA division 1 level, and now as the head coach for the Irvine Valley College men's program. We get into how playing libero influences coaching ability, how the Rising Tide roster is shaping up for this season, and what it takes to build team chemistry quickly at the highest level. Check out Ryan's coaching blog at https://acoachspursuit.com/ for more high level volleyball thoughts.
Ukrainian volleyball rock star Andrey Diachkov (@volleyball.advice) joins the show to talk in depth about his stellar international volleyball career that spans 15 years and several countries. He tells a few incredible stories about 5 set wins, crazy home-and-home CEV matches, playing so well against teams that they have no choice but to sign him to contracts, and what it was like to be the veteran after all his years. After surviving the gauntlet of quick fire questions unscathed, Andrey talks about his move to Houston and transition to coaching and playing in the VLA, including how he first got connected with his squad, the Chicago Icemen. If you don't already know the name Andrey Diachkov, look him up and follow him on instagram!
Also quick programming note that the show's release days are changing to Tuesday and Friday, not Monday and Friday anymore!
The legendary Eric Martin (@mremartin5) of Team LVC joins the show to somehow attempt to condense his 30-ish years of volleyball down to one single podcast. We cover all the changes in how the game is played that E has played through, the journey to the VLA level for a 5'6" utility guy, and the similarities between being a musician and a volleyball player. E also designed the VLA logo and several of our new uniforms, so we get into what makes a great sports logo and try to pick some of our favorite branded sports teams of all time. Don't miss this one.