Back in our comfort zone, at last

Maury Neipris

With the support of the home crowd at Tully Gym, Florida State beat Maryland, Pittsburgh and Miami.

Finally, we were back in our gym, with our fans and our band. Being home this past weekend was exactly what we needed -- a weekend without plane rides and hotels, a week where we could sleep in our own beds and get some much-needed rest. Traveling every weekend for a month can be hard on your body, and we felt the effects.

We started off our home conference play with Maryland on Oct. 11 and ACC newcomer Pittsburgh the following Sunday. We have never been more excited to play at home.

We were back in our comfort zone, and it showed in the way we performed. With the support of our home crowd, we finished the weekend with two sweeps, and it felt so good. But we had a quick turnaround and had to refocus our attention to the next match.

Next on our schedule was in-state rival Miami. Last year our last match against Miami was for the conference title, and this one was just as important. Miami was the only undefeated team left in conference, and we knew how important it was to win. While we were getting ready for the big match, ESPNU cameras were in our locker room, and they sure got some great footage.

The cameras got footage of us doing our hair, putting our shoes on and, of course, dancing. Anyone watching our match across the nation got to witness what we get to see every day -- the Walch sisters’ obsession with boy band One Direction. They danced to the song “Best Song Ever,” and Nicole even got to show off her Harry Styles cutout, which stays in our locker room.

It was a very fun day, but we still had one goal in mind, and that was beating Miami.

We ran out to the court to a packed Tully Gym. Like always, I got chills when the fight song came on. We were ready to play. It was a very close match with a lot of long rallies, but with our fans behind us we pulled out the 3-1 win! We found ourselves back at the top with no more undefeated teams in the conference.

I believe being at home for three matches was exactly what we needed. It is almost like a reset button, and we got much needed rest and three solid wins.

The rest was crucial because we got back to traveling for a one-day trip to South Bend, Ind., where we faced ACC newcomer Notre Dame. In front of a good crowd in their Block Out Cancer match, we were able to defeat the Irish in three sets.

We will be playing Duke and Wake Forest this weekend. I’m very excited to see what this team can do for the remainder of the season, but we are taking it one match at a time in order to keep our eye on the target.

As many people know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We have had our Paint It Pink match already but will continue to wear pink socks to show our support for the remainder of the month. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer, and that is true for myself as well.

My grandmother, Idella Tyson, was a breast cancer survivor. After fighting breast cancer at a young age, and winning, she passed away the summer before my junior year in high school because of other health problems. She was one of my biggest fans and attended every sporting event she could.

I know if she were with us today she would be very proud of everything my brother and I have accomplished, and I know she is looking down on us with a huge smile on her face. I can feel her with me through every win and loss, cheering me on every step of the way.