TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Making its first international trip since 2002, the Florida State Volleyball team will be heading to Europe from June 22-July 2, in what will be a unique combination of competition, travel and cultural experiences for the 2019 Seminoles.
The Noles will travel between Italy, Slovenia and Austria over the 11-day trip, and will compete in five different exhibition matches among local federation and club teams.
The entire 2019 roster, including five incoming freshmen and three transfers, has been in Tallahassee since June 9 and will be training together until their departure on June 22.
“With eight new players coming in to the team this season, that is a lot to try and add to the mix,” said FSU head coach Chris Poole. “I think the trip will be good for us, not just the volleyball part, but the opportunity to go around and see these different countries and experience them together. We will play very competitive teams on this trip as they are playing year round, and there is a lot of experience there. It is going to be great for our girls to go against a really skilled group of players, with some that are at a National Team level.
“Even in the few days of training that we’ve had, we’ve been able to get a few things in place without the pressure of knowing that we have to play in two weeks for a real match. So this is almost like a bonus preseason for us and will not only benefit us for this fall, but for the next couple of years.”
The trip will begin in Milan, Italy and then the Noles will head through Verona and Venice, before traveling to Maribor, Slovenia. The next stop will be in Graz, Austria, along with a stop in Lake Bled, Slovenia, before returning to Venice to fly home to the United States.
“This will be a great opportunity for our freshmen, as it is very rare that you can bring incoming freshmen on a trip like this,” said senior Payton Caffrey. “We are really excited that they are able to start training early with us. It will be a lot of fun to experience new cultures, learn some new languages and compete against teams that play a different style of volleyball.”
“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us,” said senior Madison Sullivan. “It is huge for the FSU as a whole and will give us a head start to build the program back to where we want it. Since we have about half the team returning and half are new players, this trip will be a huge benefit for us in building team chemistry and working out the kinks way before August. Also, these are all places in Europe that I’ve never been to before, so I’m really excited.”
The trip was financed through generous donations to the FSU Volleyball Coaches Club, along with assistance from the Seminole Boosters.