The Ole Miss Volleyball team is on a 10-day tour of Europe, playing matches against various pro and club teams while getting a cultural education in the process. The team and staff will be blogging throughout the trip. Follow us on Twitter, @OleMissVB and @CoachMcRoberts as well as on Facebook, OleMissVolleyball and Instagram, OleMissVB.
Photo Gallery | Video From Prague | Video From Slovenia
JUNE 4 – DAY 10
By Rising Senior Cara Fisher
This morning we woke up in Milan and had an awesome Italian breakfast in the hotel. We were fortunate enough to be able to walk around Milan and do some retail damage to the shopping capital of the world. Some people even broke their bank accounts (Melanie Crow).
After shopping I took a trip inside the Duomo di Milano, the gothic cathedral inside the square of Milan. This is the largest cathedral in Italy and one of the largest in the world.
After walking around the city it was time to prepare for our match. We arrived at the Italian Olympic Training Center and played four sets against the Italian junior national team. This was the best competition we have seen so far on our tour, and it was fun to play against such great athletes. After winning the match we had the privilege of eating dinner in the Olympic Training Center.
We made it back to our hotel safely, and we look forward to another great day of shopping and good competition tomorrow.
Hotty Toddy and Arrivederci!
JUNE 3 - DAY 8 AND 9
By Rising Sophomore Aubrey Edie
Day 8 of our European Tour was a relaxing one. After traveling for most of the previous day we got to sleep in before we started our adventures in Pordenone, Italy. We had free time to explore the streets of Pordenone ourselves. Unfortunately, it was a European holiday so most of the shops were closed. Peg (Margaret Eggert), Evan (St. Laurent), Fish (Cara Fisher), Kristen (Brashear), Mel (Melanie Crow), Seini (Moimoi), Laura (Beaty) and I, explored and found a beautiful park! We sat and people watched and enjoyed the scenery for a while, and then Peg, Fish, Evan, and I decided to have some fun on the swings. We were enjoying our swinging and look up to see Coach Mac (Steven McRoberts), Jared (Goldberg, GA - Video), and Julie (Owens, Assistant AD for Compliance) walking around the park as well. This park was not like any park you would see back in the States; it had a workout area! No wonder they are all so skinny over here. After watching Coach Mac attempt to do some pull-ups, us players went and enjoyed the pond in the park. We left the park, got some lunch, and went back to the hotel to rest up for the match.
After getting temporarily lost in the farmlands of Italy we made it to the gym. We started the match slow, but eventually found our rhythm and rallied for a 3-1 win. We played hard and had a very good blocking game. After the match we ate dinner with the Italian team and their families. The Italians were very friendly and asked us a lot of questions. My table made friends with Alessia who was fluent in at least three languages. She told us about Italian culture and explained how different the opportunities to play volleyball in the states are. Seini even got to practice her Spanish. We wrapped up dinner with the Hotty Toddy chant and headed back to the hotel.
On day 9 we headed to Milan. We stopped about halfway in Verona, supposedly where Romeo and Juliet was set. We went to "Juliet's house" which was not actually her house. It was just built as a tourist attraction, but it was still pretty cool. Verona is also home to a 1st-Century Coliseum, which is the 3rd largest in Italy still standing. After exploring Verona for a while we got back on the bus and traveled the rest of the way to Milan. We ate dinner at Risto once we got in and now we are settled in our hotel for the night!
JUNE 1 - DAY 7
By Rising Junior Seini Moimoi
Ciaoooo from Italy! It's almost midnight and after a long but great day the team has checked into the hotel. Right now everyone is roaming around each other's room trying to find the perfect spot for wifi while I'm sprawled out on my bed. I can hear Evan (St. Laurent) trying to kick out Peg (Margaret Eggert) from their room but Peg claims that their room has the best wifi.
Anyways, our day today started right off at 6:30 in the morning with breakfast and then a bus ride to the train station to get to Venice, Italy. Venice was absolutely stunning and I can finally check it off my bucket list. The whole afternoon was dedicated to doing whatever we wanted in Venice, so of course we all wanted to eat pizza before we did anything else. My mouth is watering just thinking about the crispy crusts and tasty mushrooms on my pizza. It started to get hot so Peg and I were determined to find bro tanks, because we were both wearing long sleeves. Peg ended up just buying a normal t-shirt that she didn't even like, so now she's trying to convince everyone to take it from her.
After lunch we strolled around the narrow streets of Venice and probably entered every glass store that was there looking for gifts for our families. I passed by Keyta (Nakeyta Clair), Ty (Laporte) and Taylor (Alexander) who were all trying to bargain with a vendor. He seemed more interested in trying to figure out what sport they played and we tried not to laugh at his attempt on mimicking a pass and a kill. There was so much going on with so many tourists, stores, and pigeons that it was a pretty cool sight to see how magical Venice is. The big part of the day however, was getting to ride the gondolas and meeting the gondoliers Marco and Leo who probably thought we were annoying because we all kept taking pictures of each other and yelling ciao to anyone who listened. We rode around the waters of Italy and snapped pictures of all the beautiful buildings that are literally almost 400 years old. Marco and Leo explained the history behind the city and we asked whatever questions that popped into our heads. Venice truly is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to and I'm sure a lot of people would agree with me after viewing the sunset behind the buildings, the colorful flowers hanging from the balconies, or the bridges above the glistening blue waterways.
After we got done with our gondola ride, Peg and I enjoyed some iced coffee outside a large cafe while we people watched trying to figure out who was a tourist or a local. It was very typical of us to get lost after receiving simple directions from the waitress when it was time for us to meet with the team. After walking probably a mile we decided to ask a couple who had a map to help us but they too were lost and trying to find the same place. They were an Italian couple and spoke small English so we were able to communicate. They found an old man with his grandkids who took us to our meeting spot. It was a funny crew, here it was Peg and I tagging along with an elderly Italian couple who were following a grandfather pushing a stroller with his granddaughter in it while his grandson weaved in and out of sight causing us to stop and look for him. Finally we flung San Marco Plaza and departed from the couple and old man repeating graci over and over again.
Dinner was fantastic with pasta, pizza and topping it off were two scoops of ice cream before our train ride back to the hotel. Day 7 in Venice, Italy was another blessing and one of the best times I've experienced. If you ever find yourself in Venice, Italy, make friends with the gondoliers, take a ride on the gondola, snap artsy photos, enjoy the madness of the tourists, get lost and make friends with locals!
Hotty Toddy and Arrivederci!
MAY 31 - DAY 6
By Ty Laporte
Day 6 of 19 Rebs Abroad was probably my favorite. Our day started off around 9:30 a.m. heading towards the town or our version of the square. The difference between this day and the previous days was that today we experienced a little bit of what a typical Saturday was for a European. We were one of the few tourists so we stood out. Of course we got stared at since we were what you'd call a "rare" sighting in Europe. However, about half of us found ourselves at home modeling in front of the mirrors in the fitting rooms of H&M, which is a store popular back in the states. I ended up convincing myself that I needed a pair of boyfriend jeans that I probably could've handmade. Everyone else seemed to find something worth buying and I ended up bringing home not only two pairs but three pairs of high-wasted shorts along with it. This H&M was the nicest one I've ever been to, and I was made aware that it originated in London. This caught me by surprise but it was cool learning something new.
After we took over H&M, I walked around some more and enjoyed the scenery and natural beauty of the landscape with Mapie and the cute little cafés. I absolutely loved the fact that everyone seemed to be chilling, drinking coffee with no care in the world and going about their merry way.
Later we went and checked out the mall and found that it had free wifi haha, an awesome benefit. After our shopping spree, we had some time to rest before our match. We won our match in four sets vs. the junior national Slovenian team and then we all rushed to our rooms calling dibs on who gets first showers. Dinner required us to wear our A-1 outfits which meant looking fashionable and cute, but we only had an hour and 15 minutes to do it. I'm pretty sure our rooms went from spotless to a tornado disaster with all of our clothes covering every inch of the floor trying to put something cute together. Somehow we managed to do it. What was fun was walking from room to room and helping each other and chunking clothes left and right at each other.
On our way to dinner we all snapped more pictures of the sunset and the beautiful Slovenian land. Our bus driver was fearless when having to take over the road, and we overcame a twisty uphill road that barely had enough room for the bus. Of course we were dramatic and thought we were going to flip the bus upside down just because of how close it was to the edge. Obviously we didn't since I'm alive to tell the story. Dinner was at a vineyard and the scene was absolutely magnificent and breathtaking. There are no words or even pictures to give it true justice. After taking five million pictures and selfies, we enjoyed another amazing Slovenian meal. Literally any meat, bread, fresh salad, flavorful sauces, potatoes and delicious desserts have been part of our meals since we've been here.
And as I lay here and reflect and reminisce on our trip thus far, I can say that I am completely and wonderfully content to be here with these girls and our new staff and appreciate the many blessings that I get to be a part of daily. Venice will be an adventure that we all look forward to. We've been entirely too blessed and are grateful for the amazing experience we've had here in Slovenia and can't wait for Italy. So for now I say goodbye, even though it's never goodbye, it's always see you later! Tootles Sloveniaaaa!
May 30 - DAY FIVE
By Rising Senior Marie Pierre-Bakima (Mapie)
Today was our fifth day in Europe and our second day in Slovenia. We are staying in a nice hotel which has a volleyball court inside the hotel. This morning we woke up at 9:30 to get breakfast and we left the hotel at 10:15 to head for our first activity of the day: ropes course! I am really scared of heights, but I finally decided to do one of the two activities. It was a lot of fun!
At 5:30 p.m., we played against the Slovenian Youth National Team. It was a difficult match, especially passing-wise, but as soon as we started to control our serve-receive, we gained control of the match and won 3-1! Go Rebels! Hotty Toddy!
Tonight, we went to a really cute restaurant which was only open for us. We ate chicken, pork, sausage, salad, potatoes, beans and crepes for dessert. It was delicious!
We learned a lot today from our team activities in the morning and later our match. It was really important for us, because we succeeded in conquering our fear as a team at the ropes course and won the match despite not playing our best.
Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other to surrender me for us.
We are really blessed to get this opportunity to be in Europe. Thanks to all the people who helped make this a successful trip.
MAY 28 - DAY THREE
By Rising Senior Rachael McLamore
Today was our third day in Prague, Czech Republic. We started the day with breakfast at the hotel, which had all sorts of yummy Czech bread, pastries, and kolaches. After breakfast the 19 of us left the hotel to explore some new parts of Prague. First, we walked to a place called the "Lennon Wall." It was a huge wall covered in layers upon layers of paint that included portraits, graffiti, poems, lyrics, and quotes. Our guide explained to us that during the communist era in Czechoslovakia, many young people would come to this wall to write or paint sayings inspired by John Lennon as an expression of their grievances. The government didn't like it at the time, but the wall still stands today as a symbol of peace and love among the citizens. We all enjoyed writing our own thoughts and sayings, as well as taking pictures next to our favorites!
Just a short walk from the wall we discovered another meaningful tradition full of love. Couples here in Prague will often times put locks on bridges near water, and then throw the key into the water, as a symbol of life-long love. There were thousands of these locks!!! Even though none of us had a lock to put on the bridge, we all enjoyed taking pictures of them, and I even got to write the name of my fiancé Scott and I in a heart near the bridge with the locks of love.
After visiting the locks, we continued to walk across the bridge that connects the new and old town. We made our way into the "new" part of town (which is still incredibly old compared to the United States) that was full of beautiful architecture, places to shop, and yummy food to eat. We made our way through the winding and busy streets just in time to watch the famous old clock as it struck noon! This clock is the 3rd oldest in the world (600 years old), and the oldest one that still works! It was truly incredible! After watching the clock, we walked a little further to town-square, where we had some free time to shop and eat. One of the most incredible things about Prague to me is that no matter what street we turned down, there was more and more beautiful architecture and historical buildings that are postcard worthy! It truly is an awe-inspiring city, and a sight that pictures just don't do justice!
After lunch and a 15-minute walk back to the hotel, we had about an hour to rest and prepare for our match against the Czech team. We left the hotel this afternoon and took a 20-minute train ride to the gym where we immediately started warming up. We were all really excited about today's match, and playing against a very talented Czech team. There are a few differences in volleyball here. They play with a different style ball, are only allowed to use six substitutions during the game, have shared-court warm up time, and also don't have line judges (so balls that are close calls are up to the honesty of the players and coaches to call it how it is). We played five sets against the Czech team, and came out on top in set three. The match was definitely a much higher level of competition than we have faced recently, and we saw a lot of things today that we can work on as a team to help us learn and grow and prepare to win during SEC play this fall.
After our match, we rode the train back to the hotel, had a little bit of rest time, and then walked to a nearby local Czech restaurant. The food was awesome! We had chicken and potatoes, and a banana split for dessert. Our team has had a good time experiencing the Czech food and culture, and trying things we never have before!
We have an early morning tomorrow, as we will be riding in a bus to go sightseeing in Vienna early in the morning. I have had a wonderful time here in Prague, and have really enjoyed getting to experience this beautiful city with all of its rich history, local food, competitive volleyball, and unique culture. I truly feel blessed to have this opportunity to play volleyball and travel the world and be a part of this team. This trip has already been flying by, so I am trying to soak in every minute of it! From international volleyball, to beautiful cities, I am excited to see what's next, to experience some more incredible cities, play more volleyball, and learn and grow as a person, as well as grow closer and stronger as a team! Well, I better get to packing, it's getting later here and we have an early morning tomorrow!
Thanks for all of your support of the Ole Miss Volleyball Team!
MAY 27 - DAY ONE AND TWO
By Head Coach Steven McRoberts
Day 1: After a prayer for safe travels we all gathered on the bus outside of the Gillom Sports Center. Amazingly, we flew to Atlanta, Amsterdam and lastly Prague with no flight delays whatsoever. We spent a total of around 12 hours on planes (and close to 17 hours total) as we made our way to our first stop.
We ate a pasta/pizza dinner and did some sightseeing at night. It is fun to get a different perspective of a city as you view its buildings and works of art under the lights. After trying to sleep on a plane, we all slept well when we arrived at the hotel.
Day 2: A lot of sightseeing in the morning. We walked up to Petrin Hill to start the day, so that we could see the entire city from high up. There were beautiful views as we walked to the top of the hill. There was a slight cloud cover, but we were happy to be out looking around considering it was raining heavy up until the time we left the hotel. We then walked up a 300-step tower at the top of Petrin Hill that gave us an even more expansive view of our surroundings. Up there we could see the world's largest stadium, Strahov Stadium. It seats 220,000! They use to hold the Communist Games there every five years. We also could see the Prague Castle. There was a ceremony going on for an arriving diplomat. Lots of men in uniform and I'm guessing the Czech version of the secret service. There were lots of black suits and sunglasses. We then proceeded back down the hill to go look at the Prague Castle. It had a beautiful cathedral inside. We then walked to the front of the castle to watch the changing of the guards. To give you a reference: The ceremony was a lot like the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Washington, D.C.
The team split up for lunch, and the coaches/staff headed to a local restaurant to eat a typical Czech meal. I had roasted duck, cabbage and dumplings. There is always a lot of fresh bread served at every meal. After a short rest at the hotel, we left to go play our first match vs. Olymp Praha (a local club team in Prague). We won all four sets and will play another team from the same club tomorrow night. We finished the night with another great Czech Meal (Beef and gravy with Dumplings). Tomorrow morning we will go downtown to do some more sightseeing and shopping.
I want you to know how thankful and blessed we are to have this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you Ole Miss!