Oct. 10, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - With the Western Carolina campus on fall break, the Catamount volleyball team held a cook-off as WCU returns to the Ramsey Center with matches against Wofford on Friday, October 11 and Furman on Sunday, October 13.
With the break head coach Karen Glover gave her team two days of rest on Sunday and Monday before returning practice on Tuesday morning. It wasn't the only competitive thing the team did Tuesday as Glover decided to split the team into two groups and hold a Catamount Cook-Off.
"We wanted to do something fun over fall break, a little team bonding, so we split the team into two groups and had a cooking competition," Glover said of the Catamount Cook-Off. "We gave them three required ingredients they to had include, and gave them a spending limit. We had three guest judges ready to determine the winner."
"We were told at practice before we went shopping that we had to have spinach, chicken and some type of pasta," said junior Jordan Timmermann. "We met like an hour and a half later to go to Wal-Mart where we were told we had so-and-so amount of money to spend and have 15-minutes to shop. We were running around the store everywhere."
Despite having completely different ideas and concepts, the two teams came within a $1.50 of each at the end of the shopping spree.
Group one, led by senior Leah Butler and sophomore Cristina Nazario shopped for their team's ingredients. Their plan was to make a pecan crusted chicken, a mushroom and spinach risotto, asparagus, white chocolate strawberries for dessert that were decorated to say WCU volleyball and fresh squeezed limeade.
"Our hardest part was the risotto that took a long time, and we were stirring and stirring for an hour," Butler said. "The risotto takes a while to cook so we were rushing after shopping. All the stuff we made on our team was the first time making it."
Group two, led by Timmermann and sophomore Nicole Ford went shopping for the group and set out to make a chicken breast with mozzarella, spinach and sundried tomatos, pasta salad, stuffed portabella mushrooms and a homemade apple caramel cheesecake for dessert.
"The hardest part for us was everyone being in the kitchen at the same time," said junior Paige McConlogue. "All of us were trying to do something and everyone had a job, but the kitchen was not big enough."
"I felt like we didn't have enough things to cook with," Timmermann added. "We had to go ask the soccer girls for things. We had people in the living room doing stuff because we didn't have room in the kitchen."
After preparing the meals, the team got to eat first then had to await the results from the judges.
"I was really impressed with the quality of cooking. We might have some future chefs on our team and was impressed with all of it. I was just so amazed with what they could pull off in that short of a time frame; the creativity and quality of what they made," Glover added.
"Coach said she was impressed with how well we cooked the food and how good it was," Timmermann said. "I texted her afterwards said `when it comes to food, we don't mess around'."
The difficult task of awarding a winner was left up to three members of the WCU athletic staff: Kassandra Molsey, Brigham Waginger and Chad Gerrety. Mosley is the team's athletic trainer, Waginger is a men's basketball assistant coach and Gerrety, who has been with the WCU athletic staff since October 1, is the Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs. Gerrety was elected by the three person panel as the spokesperson.
"I was surprised at how good everything tasted and by the level of creativity and presentation," Gerrety said. "It was fun, and I really thought it was a great idea. They took it seriously and were so competitive, but there were a lot of laughs too; it was fun. I think it was great team bonding event."
One of the funnier parts of the evening was freshman Courtney Ireland showing off her fresh-made and hand-squeezed limeade.
"Courtney kept walking around to everyone saying `here try my limeade' and `try the limeade, I made it'" said Butler. "When the judges started eating, we could see inside at first and saw one of the judges try the limeade. He pointed and mouthed `that's good'. We cheered then they closed the blinds on us."
"The team had to go outside and eventually we had to close the blinds because they were looking in on us eating and judging," Gerrety said of the judging process. "They were so competitive and you could tell each team really wanted to win."
The three-person panel critiqued the meal based on overall presentation, creativity, taste of the food and overall experience and enjoyment, and awarded group two's meal, highlighted by the stuffed chicken breast, the winner for the evening.
"The winning meal had fantastic chicken," Gerrety said. "Both desserts were solid, but the stuffed chicken is what won it."
When asked what they took away from the experience other than team bonding, Butler chimed in with I should have gone to culinary school, while Timmermann added we love food.
"That is two things we love, volleyball and food, we can all agree on that," concluded Butler.
So the evening wound down and the team returned to their somewhat normal routine while on fall break preparing for its upcoming weekend matches against Wofford and Furman in the Ramsey Center.
Weekend Match Notes
Western Carolina vs. Wofford (6-12, 1-3 SoCon) Match Notes
The Catamounts and Terriers have met 29 times with WCU owning the series history 21-8 and 16-8 in conference matches ... WCU's .724 overall winning percentage is the highest winning percentage against a SoCon opponent ... The Terriers have won four of the last five meetings including a 3-1 win in 2012 on October 13 ... In Cullowhee, the Catamounts are 11-1 in the series ... Wofford enters the match after losses in six of its last seven matches ... In its last match, Wofford defeated The Citadel 3-0 in Charleston ... The Terriers are 4-4 in road matches this season ... Amanda Liguori leads the team with 3.19 kills per set, while Jessica Graham averages a team-high 4.36 digs per set ... Wofford leads the league -- 17th in the NCAA -- with 1.71 aces per set ... Ron Sweet is in his first season of the head coach of the Terriers.
Western Carolina vs. Furman (8-7, 4-0 SoCon) Match Notes
The Catamounts and Paladins have met 65 times with Furman holding a 36-29 advantage in the series including a 21-26 margin in conference matches ... WCU has lost nine of the last ten matches including the last six meetings between the two schools ... WCU does hold a 16-12 advantage over Furman in Cullowhee ... Furman won the last meeting 3-0 on October 12, 2012 ... The Paladins enter the week after reeling off seven wins in its last eight matches including six straight ... The Paladins, who are the only other team in the SoCon 4-0 coming into the weekend, play at App State on Friday prior to the showdown with WCU ... Christina Dorismond leads the team with a 2.92 kills per set average, while Elle Ross averages 4.73 digs per set ... Dorismond is hitting at a team-high .347 clip ... Michelle Young is longest tenured coach in the league with 14 seasons as the Paladins head coach.