The Michigan volleyball team brought its tourist books and its
A-game to Prague, Czech Republic. The only thing the Wolverines
forgot was some of their luggage.

After arriving in Prague groggier than ever after a long
trans-Atlantic flight, the team was alarmed to discover that seven
of the bags had not made the trip with the team. Two players’ bags
and the only two training bags were amongst the missing items.

“We were without tape and ice bags,” coach Mark Rosen said.
“That’s stuff you definitely can not go to the corner and buy in
Europe.”

Although shorthanded, the team made some American friends a long
way from home.

“We were lucky to borrow some medical supplies from the
Pittsburgh team who was in Prague as well,” Rosen said. “I don’t
know what we would have done if we hadn’t found them.”

Losing the bags was certainly an inconvenience, but the team
members who had their bags turned it into a positive experience by
sharing what they had brought with their teammates who had run into
the misfortune.

“Our lost bags made us reach out and help our teammates,”
sophomore Erin Cobler said. “The trip really showed us how to lift
each other up when one of us needs some help.”

The Wolverines tuned up for their impending season by competing
with a number of teams around the city of Prague.

“I thought it was a great experience,” Rosen said. “We got to
play a lot of matches and got to know each other even better than
before.”

Their opponents included the Olymph Praha Juniors and teams from
Czech leagues with experienced players as old as 35.

But their toughest match pitted the Wolverines against the
top-ranked Czech team in the country. The Wolverines put forth a
respectable effort, but lost to the Bruno team 3-2.

“I think all the matches will help the team because we were so
far out of our comfort zone,” Cobler said. “It will definitely help
us down the line when we have to play a tough match on the
road.”

Every four years the team gets an opportunity to take a trip
like this, and Coach Rosen was not going to pass it up.

“It was a quite an experience traveling with twenty people in
such a great city.”

When the Wolverines were not competing or practicing, they did
not hide in their hotel rooms. Instead they saw all Prague had to
offer. The team spent some time at the Prague Castle and the St.
Charles Bridge.

“We were watching Mission Impossible recently which was filmed
right there,” Rosen said. “I really got a kick out of that.”

The team also spent time at St. Vitus’ Cathedral, Karlstejn
Castle and ancient caves on the outskirts of Prague.

All that was nice, but the consensus favorite event of the trip
was a dinner cruise down the Vltava River. The team was able to see
Prague and all of the sites as the sun set on the ancient city. The
players danced the night away as a band played on for more than
three hours.

“We had won the game that day and were sitting on the most
beautiful riverboat,” senior captain Erin Moore said.

“You look around and are like, what am I doing here with my best
friends? It was almost too good to be true.”

Time will tell how the preseason trip will affect the team in
the long run. The excursion may have robbed the team of some
valuable practice time.

“We gave up a lot of repetition, and it might take some time to
catch up,” Rosen said. “This weekend it seemed we were a little
behind.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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