May 28, 2007
by Talisa Kellogg – During our second day, we jumped right into some good competition by going up against the German Junior National Team. The first game was close, we stuck with them point by point, but in the three games to follow we had a hard time scoring due to their strong jump servers. We never gave up as a team, but it was just hard to get anything going without the key element, passing. Although we lost the match, it was definitely a great environment to play in, from the music between every point to the clapping and enthusiasm from the German girls on the other side of the net. The difference in ball size, playing to 25 as opposed to 30, and the substitution policies have made us have to adjust and change how we typically run things, but that’s what we are here for, the experience.
After we played the German Junior National Team we were invited to a cookout which was held in one of the lower levels of the training facility. Both the German team and French Junior National team were there and it gave us an opportunity to mix and mingle with the girls. It was interesting to learn that many of the girls spoke at least three languages. They were all very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in learning small facts about us. One of the girls from the French team is actually a freshman who is currently playing for Ohio State. It was so great to have a conversation with a girl who had been playing in the United States and knew English very well, but still was preparing to compete and represent her country. As far as the food goes I think we are all doing a good job adapting. They offered a variety of meats at the cookout along with bread and a few side items that were similar to our potato salad. It was a great experience for us and I feel like everyone enjoyed it.
On Sunday we started our day by playing the French Junior National team. They were a very skilled and talented team as well. We were able to find a passing rhythm early which allowed us to win the first two games. They beat us in the third game, but then we turned around and won the fourth game, winning the match. After the match we gathered our things and hopped on the bus for a three and a half hour bus ride to our next destination, Munich. As a group we have struggled with the lack of air conditioning, especially on a three and a half hour bus ride. Aside from the lack of air conditioning, paying to use the bathroom, and having to drink all beverages at a luke warm temperature, we are making it and accepting the challenges and taking it day by day by day!!!!
When we arrived in Munich we did a quick shower and clothes change and ventured off to the English Garten, which is one of the largest parks. Filled with tons of people, music, great scenery, and bicyclists, we ate dinner there, cafeteria style and were left to explore a little on our own for the remainder of the evening. Not a bad two days and there’s still tons more to come.