The Minnesota volleyball team awoke a refreshed group. After traveling and being on their feet for a good portion of June 12-13, the team finally got a good night's sleep. The team had breakfast at about 9 a.m. (local time) and readied itself to do some more exploring in downtown Prague.
After a brief explanation of the day's schedule from the tour organizer, the team got to execute it's newly learned expertise of the Metro system. The players and
coaches split up into a few different groups and went shopping around different places in dowtown Prague.
The assorted groups walked around the downtown area for different lengths of time, and everyone met up again with the tour organizer at 2 p.m. to get ready to head to Olymp Praha's Sports Hall for the first match of the tour.
Minnesota arrived about an hour and a half early and began preparation for the match. The preparation of the match was a little different then most of the
Golden Gophers' contests. Minnesota shared the court with Olymp Praha for most of warmup session.
As was mentioned in the previous day's description, Olymp Praha is perennially the top team in the Czech League. They are coming off a year in which injuries hurt the success of the team and they finished third, which was a little lower then their usual lofty expectations. A few years back, Olymp Praha had a successful tour to the United States where it played some of the top college teams in the nation.
The match was a very competitive one that Minnesota narrowly lost 3-2 by scores of 20-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-17, 16-14. In the fifth game, the Golden Gophers
showed their trademark resiliency by battling back from a 13-9 deficit to tie the game at 14. However, Olymp Praha scored the next two points to pull out a highly competitive match.
Following the match, Minnesota took some team pictures with Olymp Praha. The Golden Gophers had also exchanged gifts with Olymp Praha prior to the match.
After that, the team headed to local Czech restaurant to have dinner. The team was treated to several local cuisines as the tour organizers set up and authentic Czech meal that everyone seemed to enjoy.
Following the meal, the team took the Metro back into downtown Prague to do some more sightseeing and shopping.
On Thursday the team will get an official tour of some of the landmarks of Prague, which has a rich history. Minnesota will also play its second match of the tour
against Slava Praha. Slava Praha finished second in the Czech league this past year. Match Recap:
The University of Minnesota volleyball team opened its European Tour by dropping a five-game match to Olymp Praha by scores of 20-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-17, 16-14 at its Sports Hall in Prague, Czech Republic on Wednesday, June 14.
Minnesota fell behind 2-1, but won game four 25-17 to force the match to a fifth game. In the fifth game, the Golden Gophers fell behind 13-9, before Jessy
Jones (Naperville, Ill.) delivered three straight kills to cut the lead to 13-12.
Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) followed with another kill to tie the game at 13. Olymp Praha got the next point to force it to match point at 14-13. However, Meghan Cumpson (Red Bluff, Calif.) delivered a kill to tie it at 14. Olymp Praha scored the next two points to claim the game 16-14 to give them the match.
Olymp Praha started strong in the first game. After, Minnesota jumped out to a 4-1 lead, Olymp Praha took control turning the tables to move to a 16-7 lead. The
Golden Gophers scored seven of the next nine points to cut the lead down to 18-14. However, Olymp Praha kept them at bay moving to a 23-19 lead. Olymp Praha scored two of the final three points to take game one 25-20.
Minnesota started out the second game strong jumping out to a 14-6 lead. Olymp Praha cut the Golden Gopher lead to 16-13. Minnesota pushed it back out to 19-14,
but Olymp Praha cut it to down to 20-17. Minnesota finished game with five of the last six points to win 25-18 to tie the match at 1-1.
Olymp Praha got off to a good start in the third game jumping out to an 11-6 lead. Minnesota cut the lead down to two at 16-14. However, Olymp Praha pushed it
back out to 20-16. The Golden Gophers brought the lead all the way down to 22-21 following a Bowman kill.
However, Olymp Praha scored the next two points to move it to game point at 24-21. Minnesota fought off three game points to tie it at 24, but Olymp Praha
scored the final two points of the game to win 26-24 to move to a 2-1 advantage in the match.
Minnesota got off to strong start in game four, as it moved out to a 16-10 lead. The Golden Gophers expanded it to 24-14 with eight of the next 12 points. Olymp
Praha fought off three straight game points, but Jones delivered a kill to give Minnesota the 25-17 win to tie it at 2 -2.
The Golden Gophers will play their second match of the tour on Thursday, June 15 against Slava Praha. Minnesota's first three opponents are all from the Czech League. Olymp Praha finished third in the Czech League this past year, while Slava Praha was second. Minnesota's opponent on June 16, OK Borno, won the
league this year. Kelly Schmidt & Kyla Roehrig Diary:
Dobry Den (Hello),
This morning we woke up at 8:30 a.m. to our first Czech breakfast. We went in with an open mind, but we came out with empty stomachs. Wow, do we take our Lucky Charms for granted. It was a beautiful meal, but it will take some getting used to the European style food.
After that we headed to Old Town Square, via the Metro, to spend the morning shopping, sightseeing, photographing the amazing architecture and spending time with each other. Although we were advised to use our lunch money towards Czech-style food, there might have been a few girls that made their way to McDonalds.
At 2 p.m. in the afternoon, we met at the hotel and prepared for our first taste of international competition. We learned several rules, including the very minimal substitutions they use compared NCAA substitution rules. They only play to 25, while we usually play to 30 in NCAA matches. There are also more strict rules regarding play at the net and they use a lot less time to warm up then we do.
There was excitement on the trolley on the way to the gym as we prepared to play a completely different style of team. We were not sure what to expect, but we were looking forward to learning from this match. The match was very close and went to five games. Unfortunately we lost by two points in the fifth game, but we learned from our experience and are eagerly anticipating tomorrow night’s match.
After our match, we went to a local pub since Prague is very well know for their pubs. We ate family style in which we were served several different dishes with an array of Czech-style foods and flavors. Some of the team favorites were potato pancakes, fried brie, dumplings, sausage, spinach potatoes and peach ice cream.
Clearly dinner had the opposite effect that breakfast did this morning. By the end of the day, we could say we knew how to use the Metro system, learned to love Czech food and experienced great international competition.
We can’t wait for tomorrow.
Kyla Roehrig & Kelly Schmidt