The Illinois volleyball team left Friday on a 10-day trip to Italy. Along the way, the Illini will play five matches against various Italian teams. Freshman Kathryn Polkoff gives us the scoop:
The anticipation for our arrival in Italy is going up with every moment! We are currently sitting at the gate and looking out the window, simultaneously admiring our huge airplane but dreading the minimal space for our long legs and an even longer flight. But there is already strategizing for how to get gelato when we arrive.
After packing up the bus and getting through security, I am proud to say we haven’t lost anyone yet. Although, Jocelyn did drop her Pillow Pet, but a nice gentleman handed it back to her — with a weird look. Pillow Pets may seem childish, but they are constant travel companions for our team.
We started a training period for this trip 10 days ago and have been working hard with two practices per day ever since. Huff Gym was as hot as it’s ever been, and we had to be careful to avoid the puddles of Morganne’s sweat on the floor during our practices. Off the court, we have spent the week trying to figure out what we are going to bring and how to fit all of our outfits into our suitcases. We all scrambled to get power adapters, which will work with small electronics, but there was much disappointment when we found out that hair dryers and straightening irons will blow the circuit so they must not be brought. Looks like we might be having some frizzy hair!
Some of us have never been out of the country, so we are hoping to pack in maximum sightseeing throughout the trip. Our first stop is Venice, and from everything we’ve heard, we’re hoping for a gondola ride through the canals. Earlier this week we split into groups and researched the must-sees and local cuisine of each destination. Apparently we are supposed to be trying a shrimp risotto with black squid ink — it’s supposed to be delicious!
One of the things we are most looking forward to is the Italian volleyball competition. We are excited to get the experience with international teams and even better to get the chance to learn from their style. It’s going to be really awesome to compare our style with theirs and see how good we can be, and how we can improve. Also, we are hopefully going to be going out to dinner with some of the teams after we play the match, so it will be very cool to learn about their culture and, more important, eat their food!
Ciao for now!