A trip of a lifetime leads to experience on the court


Prague, Czech Republic. Vienna, Austria. Venice, Italy. A tour of Eastern Europe is an item on many people’s bucket lists. The UW- Eau Claire women’s volleyball players got to check it off theirs this summer in a 10 day trip spanning across those five countries.

The 2012 roster departed on their 10 day trip overseas on May 21. In addition to Prague, Vienna and Venice, the team also visited Maribor, Slovenia and Rovinj, Croatia. The tour combined a whirlwind of sightseeing with six different volleyball matches for the team throughout the region.

“It helped us learn a lot about the different things we can work through,” said Carly Kempton, middle hitter for the team. “We got off the plane and the next day was our first match. It was, ‘Alright, we’re here to play.’”

The most challenging match of the “trip of a lifetime” was against the Olymp Praha team in Prague , Kempton said. The Olymp Praha team is a youth national team and one of the best club teams in the Czech Republic. Her teammate, outside hitter Kelly Schuh, agreed.

“It was crazy because a lot of the girls are fourteen or fifteen but they are so good because they are training to play for the national team,” Schuh said. “So it was really good competition even though they were younger.”

Between playing the six matches and travel time between cities, the team did get to do some sightseeing. Schuh said her favorite part of the trip was the beautiful nature they experienced in Slovenia on a two mile waterfall nature hike.

The trip also served as a major bonding experience for the team, both Schuh and Kempton said.

In addition to providing a necessary team bonding adventure for the team, the trip served as a learning experience similar to that of a study abroad opportunity, Wudi said.

“(The) biggest thing is just to get experience in another country or another environment where you’re a little out of your comfort zone and have to adapt to different situations,” Wudi said. “A lot of our student athletes don’t have a chance to study abroad so just being able to help provide that opportunity was good.”