The University of Minnesota volleyball team spent its final day in Maribor, Slovenia on Wednesday, June 21. After a packed trip, players, coaches and family were free until the match, which started at 6 p.m.
Some of the options including going into downtown Maribor, going to sauna and spa at the adjoining hotel, going on the alpine sled again or walking around the area among other things. The players, coaches and staff all spent their time in different ways leading up to the final match of the six-match European Tour.
A lot of the players and staff went to the gym early to watch Stanford, who is also on a European Tour, play the Croatian Junior National Team. The Croatian Junior National Team , who won its pool in the preliminaries of the European Junior National Championships earlier this year, had lost to Minnesota in five games on Monday and in three games on Tuesday.
The Golden Gophers watched that match, and then began preparation for their match against the Slovenian National Team. Minnesota defeated the Slovenian National Team in four games by scores of 25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23 to go 4-2 on its six-match European Trip.
Minnesota started out 1-2, after losing to Olymp Praha in five games in its first match, winning in four games against Slavia Praha and losing in four games to Czech League Champion OK Brno. However, the Golden Gophers bounced back with consecutive wins over the Croatian Junior National Team and a win in the finale over the Slovenian National Team.
Following the match, the team took its final trip on the gondola at about 9 p.m. (local time) to go up to join Stanford and the Croatian Junior National Team for dinner. The teams had dinner together, talked and danced to the music being played in the restaurant. For the second straight night, the team ate at a restaurant that had a deck overlooking the city skyline at night. Because of the extra team, the restaurant added several tables on the hill. Those tables had an even better view then the night before.
After the meal, Minnesota players exchanged email addresses with the Croatian Junior National Team to stay in touch with their new friends from Croatia.
The team will finish the 12-day tour when it heads to the final city of five in Venice, Italy. The Golden Gophers will leave Maribor, Slovenia at about 9:00 a.m. and arrive in Venice for sightseeing and shopping in the afternoon. Minnesota has a flight back to Minneapolis on Friday, June 23 at 6 a.m. (local time). The Golden Gophers will return to the Twin Cities at around noon on Friday.
The Minnesota volleyball team defeated the Slovenian National Team in four games by scores of 25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23 on Wednesday, June 22 in Maribor, Slovenia. With the win, the Golden Gophers wrapped up their European Tour with a 4-2 record.
Minnesota won the final three matches in the tour, claiming all three matches in Maribor.
The match was tied at 1-1 going into the third game, before Minnesota won the final two games to win its third straight match.
In the third game, Minnesota jumped out to a 14-5 lead, before the Slovenian National Team scored seven of the next nine points to cut it to 16-12. The Golden Gophers scored the next three points paced by Jessy Jones (Naperville, Minn.), who had a kill and combined on a block with Katie Vatterrodt (Bloomington, Ill.), to give Minnesota a 19-12 lead. The Slovenian National Team cut it to 22-18, but the Golden Gophers scored the next two points to make it game point at 24-18. That lead got cut to 24-22 by the Slovenian National Team, before Jones put a way a kill to give the Golden Gophers a 25-22 game-three victory.
The Slovenian National Team jumped out to a 14-12 lead in the fourth game. However, Minnesota scored nine of the next 11 points to take a 21-16 lead. The Slovenian National Team ripped off thee consecutive points to make it 21-19, before Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) stopped the run with a kill to make it 22-19. The Slovenian National Team responded with consecutive points to make it 22-21, but Roehrig delivered a kill out of a timeout to give Minnesota 23-21 lead. Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) delivered a service ace to make it match point at 24-21. The Slovenian National Team fought off two match points to make it 24-23, before Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) got a kill to give Minnesota the four-game victory. The Slovenian National Team jumped out to a 10-8 lead in the first game. Minnesota tied it at 10, but the Slovenian National Team pushed back head by two points at 17-15. The Golden Gophers scored three of the next four points to tie it at 18. The Slovenian National Team took a 22-21 lead, but Minnesota responded with the last four points of the game to win game three 25-22 to take a 2-1 lead in the match. With the scored tied at 22, Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis..) combined on a block to give the Golden Gophers a 23-22 lead. Michele Wilber (Anoka, Minn.) followed by rifling a pair of service aces to close out the game for Minnesota.
In the second game, the Slovenian National Team jumped out to a 10-7 lead. Minnesota tied it at 11, before the Slovenian National Team scored consecutive points to take a 13-11 lead. The Golden Gophers came right back with four straight points to claim a 15-13 lead. The Slovenian National Team scored four of the next six points to tie it at 17. Bowman gave Minnesota a lead at 18-17 with a kill, but it was short-lived as the Slovenian National Team scored four straight points to go up 21-18. Minnesota cut the lead to 24-22, but the Slovenian National Team closed it out at 25-22 to claim the second game.
Meredith Nelson Diary:
Our last day in Maribor, Slovenia started out beautiful and sunny. Today the weather was warm. Overall, we have had nice weather throughout our whole trip to Europe. Though it has been quite hot at times.
We spent our day relaxing and experiencing life around our hotel at the base of the mountain. Most the team headed up to another hotel, which is the home of the spa and wellness center. We spent our time there at the indoor and outdoor pools or relaxing on the pool decks. Many of us even cracked open a book and read in the sunlight (reading a book outside of school on vacation - pretty impressive?).
After relaxing by the pool, people came back to the hotel. We watched a little television (they have a few English channels here), did laundry and hung out. Some of us went to the Slovenian grocery store to get sodas and snacks in order to spend the rest of our tolars (Slovenian money). Many of us headed to the gym early today because Stanford is here playing. They played the Croatian Junior National Team prior to our match.
We played the Slovenian National Team and won in four games. The match was the final one of the tour for us. After the match, we went back up the mountain to eat dinner with the Croatian Junior National Team and Stanford. Dinner was delicious - stew, sausage, salad, bread and apple cobbler.
We spent a little time socializing and then headed back down the mountain to our hotel. Meghan and Kyla are glad to know that tonight was their final gondola ride up and down the mountain. They won't have to worry about the heights going up the gondola to the mountain anymore. We had a wonderfully relaxing day with a successful match. We are preparing for another great day in Venice tomorrow.