The University of Minnesota volleyball team concluded its one-day stay in Vienna, Austria when it left at 9:15 a.m. (local time) to head to Maribor, Slovenia. The team will be spending the next three days in Maribor before concluding its trip in Venice, Italy.
Minnesota arrived in Maribor, Slovenia at around 1 p.m. Maribor is a beautiful city in Slovenia where our tour organizer currently lives. The place we are staying in Maribor is a ski resort in the winter. There are a couple of main hotels in the area. The one we are staying is just large enough to fit every member on the team. So currently this is an entire hotel being occupied by the Golden Gopher volleyball team traveling party.
There is a hotel that usually houses teams that go on this tour, but a local soccer team is training here and is renting it out for the entire month. The Croatian National Team is also staying in the area in a hotel that is higher on the mountain in the ski resort. That hotel will also be the same place that houses Stanford University who is also on a European Tour that will intersect with Minnesota’s for one day.
After arriving at the hotel, the team grabbed lunch down the street from the hotel. The food included some “Viener-Schnitzel”, among other things. After lunch, the Golden Gophers had about an hour to rest up before getting ready for their first of two matches against the Croatian National Team.
Minnesota and the Croatian National Team played what I believe was one of the first volleyball matches in this new gym that was just built recently here in Maribor. The gym was kind of like a recreation facility. There were two indoor soccer fields, along with several different lines on the volleyball court that would allow to play several different sports there. Probably one of the most unique features was that there is a caf attached to the sports complex. In fact, there were several spectators that watched the match from inside the caf through a glass window that gives you perfect seat for the match.
The Golden Gophers won an exciting neutral-site five-game match over the Croatian National Team by scores of 28-26, 33-31, 25-27, 22-25, 16-14 to move to 2-2 on the tour. The Croatian National team is in the process of training and will play Minnesota and Stanford at this court in Maribor over the course of the next three days.
Following the match, Minnesota returned to get ready for dinner. The dinner was at the top of the hill at the aformentioned hotel. To get up there, you had to a cable car (gondola) up about a couple thousand of feet. The team ate dinner with the Croatian Junior National Team. After finishing the meal, both teams sat down and got to know more about each other for about a half and hour. A lot of the players mentioned that the Croatian team spoke English quite well, and that several players said they had taken it for about six or seven years.
Minnesota will play a second match against the Croatian Junior National Team on Tuesday, June 20. The Golden Gophers will finish their competition on this tour against the Slovenian National Team on June 21.
The Minnesota volleyball team resumed competition on its European Tour when it defeated the Croatian Junior National Team in five games 28-26, 33 -31, 25-27, 22-25, 16-14 on Monday, June 19 in Maribor, Slovenia. Minnesota’s win moved it to 2-2 on this six-match European Tour.
Minnesota won the first two games, but the Croatian Junior National team claimed the next two to send it to a fifth game. The Golden Gophers jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but the Croatian Junior National Team scored the next two points to make it 4-3. Meghan Cumpston (Red Bluff, Calif.) delivered a kill and combined on a block with Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) to give Minnesota a 6-3 lead.
The Golden Gophers maintained the cushion at 8-5 after another Cumpston kill, but the Croatian Junior National Team scored consecutive points to make it 8-7. The Golden Gophers made it 9-7 after an overpass on a serve reception dropped in an empty spot on the Croatian National Team’s side of the court. Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Kelly Schmidt (Champaign, Ill.) combined on a block on the next point, and Minnesota scored again to make it 11-7.
At that point, the Croatian Junior National Team scored five of the next six points to tie it up at 12. Jones delivered back-to-back kills to make it 14-12 to give the Golden Gophers match point. However, the Croatian Junior National Team fought off both match points to tie it at 14. Katie Vatterrodt (Bloomington, Ill.) gave Minnesota another match point with a kill to make it 15-14, and Cumpston finished the match with a kill to give the Golden Gophers game five 16-14.
In game one, the Croatian Junior National Team jumped out to a 7-4 lead, but Minnesota responded with seven straight points to take an 11-7 lead. The Golden Gophers pushed it to 15-10, and eventually led by the same margin at 22-17. From that point, the Croatian Junior National Team rattled off six of the next seven points to tie the game at 23. Minnesota scored the next point to get game point at 24-23, but the Croatian Junior National Team fought it off to tie the game at 24. The Croatian Junior National team got game point at 25-24, but Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) tied the game up at 25 when she got a kill off a dump.
Hartmann and Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) combined on a block to make it game point at 26-25, the Croatian Junior National Team fought off another game point to tie it at 26. Nelson delivered a kill to make it game point again at 27-26, and the Golden Gophers finally closed out the game by scoring the next point to win game one 28-26.
In game two, Minnesota jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, but the Croatian Junior National Team answered in a big way with 17 of the next 22 points to take a 19-14 lead. The Golden Gophers rattled off the next four points to cut the lead to 19-18, but the Croatian Junior National Team answered in a big way with five of the next six points to move it to game point at 24-19. The Golden Gophers put together an amazing run by scoring the next six points to give them game point at 25-24.
The run started on when Minnesota cut the lead to 24-20, and Michele Wilber (Anoka, Minn.) followed with a service ace to bring it to 24-21. Nelson followed with a block solo to make it 24-22, and after a Minnesota point combined on a block with Hartmann to tie the game at 24. After the Golden Gophers had fought off five game points, Nelson gave Minnesota one of its own with a kill to make it 25-24. The Croatian Junior National Team fought it off, but Nelson delivered another kill to make it 26-25.
Things were turned around by the Croatian Junior National Team when it came back with consecutive points to take a lead at 27-26, and had another game point. Cumpston fought off the game point, and after the Croatians scored to make it game point again, Bowman had a kill to tie it at 28. Minnesota had another game point at 29-28, but it was fought off tie the game again. Bowman made it 30-29 with a kill, but the Croatian Junior National Team scored consecutive points to make it game point at 31-30. Jones and Hartmann combined on a block to tie it at 31. Bowman and Cumpston delivered back-to-back kills to finally give Minnesota the game at 33-31. In the game, Minnesota fought off eight game points.
The Croatian Junior National Team jumped out to a 6-3 lead in game three and moved that to 9-6. However, Minnesota answered with eight of the next 10 points to take a 14-11 lead. The Croatian Junior National quickly responded with three straight points to tie it at 14. The two teams exchanged the next 10 points to move to a tie at 19. Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) and Vatterrodt delivered consecutive kills to take a 21-19 lead, but the Croatian Junior National Team tied it at 21. Vatterrodt put the Golden Gophers ahead 22-21 with a kill, but the Croatians scored consecutive points to take a 23 -22 lead. Vatterrodt tied it at 23 with kills, but the Croatians got the next point to move it to game point at 24-23.
Minnesota again got a kill from Vatterrodt to fight off game point to tie it at 24. The Golden Gophers did it again, fighting off its 11th game point of the match on a kill by Vatterrodt to tie it at 25. The Croatian Junior National Team finally closed out the game 27-25 to make it 2-1 in the match.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to a 10-7 lead in game four, but the Croatians nine of the next 11 points to take a 16-12 lead. The Croatians expanded the lead to five at 20-15, before Minnesota scored four of the next five points to make it 21-19. Following that run, the Croatians scored the next two points to make it 23-19. They moved it to game point at 24-21, and closed out the game at 25-22 to tie it the match at two games apiece.
Minnesota will play the Croatian Junior National Team for the second time on Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m.
Kelly Bowman Diary
Today we left Vienna for Slovenia. We arrived around 12:30 p.m., and checked in at our hotel. It’s beautiful, it looks like a huge house right at the base of the mountain. We have every room in the hotel for our team, coaches and parents. We ate lunch at a restaurant near the base and afterward got ready for our game.
We walked to the facility today where we played, it’s about two or three minutes from our hotel. We played the Junior National Team from Croatia and won in five games. After the match, we rode the gondola to the top of the mountain to eat dinner. Some of the girls on our team are extremely afraid of heights, but they survived.
We ate dinner at a ski lodge with the Croatian girls. We were able to get to know them a little bit better. Most of the girls spoke English. After dinner we road the gondola back down to our hotel and called it a night. Tomorrow we are looking forward to doing a high ropes course and team bonding.