WRITTEN BY ALLYSON VAUGHN
Week one for Ohio volleyball is here. Typically, day one for us is in early August and at this time we would be at home, but this time it's different. In three days, all 22 players and six staff members will be leaving for our European tour. Traveling overseas is generally an exciting time for anyone, but the fact that we all get to experience this as a program makes it that much greater. Everyone on the team has different aspects of the trip they are most excited for, but honestly, if you were to ask me to name the top three things I am most excited for this trip, it would probably have to be food, food and FOOD! I have been thinking about all of gelato and pizza I will consume since this trip was announced, which was about two years ago.
For some players, this will be their first time overseas, or first time in Europe, so generally this is the experience of a lifetime to all go through this together as a team. Many people who know our team also know of our Italian setter Vera Giacomazzi. Given the fact that she is not from America, none of us really know her family and her hometown, and one of the most highly anticipated parts of this trip is being able to meet Vera's family in person. Through her two years here, she has been able to meet our families and even see some of our hometowns, and now we will finally be able to do the same. It is easy to say all of us are more excited than words can really say.
Besides the obvious perk of this trip of going to Europe, this creates a unique opportunity for us to get some extra training and bonding time as a team. Typically, the entire team is not together until preseason in August, and that is the time for new players to adjust. But with this trip, we are able to have ten days of training prior to departing for Europe. What this means is that we get to have almost a month extra of new players getting used to college volleyball and a new program overall so that when preseason rolls around later in the summer, we already have a good sense of team chemistry that we would not have had otherwise.
Going into this training time, it was a little nerve wracking because of how big our team is this year. No one (including coaches) knew how the dynamic would really be having so many new players. However, we all surprised ourselves after the first day. It was easy to get along, play with so many new people and joke around with each other (which we do best). As a senior, going into my last year of being a part of this program, I am astonished by how cohesive we already are as a team. Look out Europe, Ohio Volleyball is coming for you.