FAYETTEVILLE – In preparation of its upcoming season, the University of Arkansas volleyball team has paired with Bring It Promotions and will embark on a four-country European tour from May 20-June 1. Each stop during the trip will include competition dates and sightseeing. The trip is the first of its kind for the program under head coach Robert Pulliza with previous exposure overseas limited to individuals competing in international events.
"First, I would like to thank our administration for giving us this opportunity," Pulliza said. "This trip will help our student-athletes evolve as a team but more importantly, evolve as people. We’re looking forward to an exciting 2014 and this trip will certainly help us prepare for it."
Over the course of the Razorbacks’ 13-day trip, the team will experience five cities in four countries beginning with the team’s first stop in Italy. Following three days between Milan and Venice, the Razorbacks will travel to Maribor, Slovenia for three more days of competition and sightseeing. Arkansas will then visit Split, Croatia, which is the hometown of soon-to-be-sophomore Barbara Dapic. The final leg of the trip will find the Razorbacks in Prague, Czech Republic.
In addition to Dapic’s familiarity with Europe, a handful of Razorbacks have previous experience with different stops along the team’s itinerary. Last summer, Liz Fortado spent a week in Maribor, Slovenia, with the USA Junior A1 National Team while Ana Sofia Jusino played in the Czech Republic with the Puerto Rico Junior National Team at the FIVB U-20 World Championships.
"I’m most looking forward to experiencing the different styles of volleyball from the other teams," junior Meredith Hays said. "I believe we will be confident coming home from the trip knowing we just got a lot better and are even more prepared for the season ahead. Of course, I’m also excited to tour the cities we’ll see. We are so blessed to have this opportunity."
Prior to its departure date, Arkansas will have a 10-day training schedule to prepare for competition in Europe that will consist of matches against national, professional and local club teams. The Razorbacks just completed their spring schedule which included matches against Tulsa and Missouri State and the team’s annual Red-White Match.
Arkansas’ travel roster will feature 11 players from last year’s team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a second-consecutive season. The Razorbacks return Dapic, Fortado, Hays, Jusino, Monica, Bollinger, Blakelee Dunagin, Danielle Harbin, Breana Jones, Summer Morgan, Savannah Voelzke and Adrien Wohlschlaeger. Newcomers Sophie Bethke and Shelby Harper joined the program in January for the spring season.
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