One player struggled to entrench herself into the starting lineup during her first full season of action last year.

Phil Dokas
Sophomore Mara Martin played with the USA Volleyball Senior Select team in Argentina. (Steven Tai/Daily)

The other attempted to earn more playing time for this season after an impressive spring before falling to injury during a practice.

But while the individual situation for both Michigan volleyball players Mara Martin and Sarah Draves are different, the two will have a common bond before the season begins in the fall: They will have spent part of the summer playing volleyball abroad.

Martin has already wrapped up a tour with U.S.A. Volleyball’s Senior Select team in Argentina. The group toured Buenos Ares while also visiting Mendoza, Nogoya and Villaguay.

“Mara was very excited to be a part of the Argentina tour because she wants to take her game to the next level,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said through the athletic department.

After the departure of former Wolverine setter Lisa Gamalski, Martin became the first freshman to start the season opener at setter for Michigan last season as a redshirt.

Even though she didn’t notch as many assists (1,242) and digs (224) in her freshman season as Gamalski (1,475, 288) did during hers, much is expected of the Monroe native for the upcoming year. Her trip abroad should help her grow as a player.

“Playing in a foreign environment and in a new system will force her out of her comfort zone and allow her to gain skills to adapt to new situations,” Rosen said through the athletic department. “She was chosen as one of two setters to go, which means she will be competing for playing time and working hard all summer.”

Draves is currently touring with the women’s volleyball team for Athletes in Action in Turkey. According to Rosen, the experience will be invaluable for the Ypsilanti native, who injured herself during practice after impressive individual training sessions in the spring.

“This trip will allow her to play and compete and get back to game speed,” Rosen said through the athletic department. “She will get a chance to come back from injury and gain more experience, which will help her in the fall.”

Draves appeared in just 13 games for the Wolverines last season, but Rosen told the athletic department that Draves “was playing the best volleyball of her life” before the injury, which bodes well for her heading into the fall.

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