Tour Details and Roster
June 17-28 | Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria and Italy
June 28, It Isn't Goodbye, It's See You Later
Gelato and castles and mountains, oh my! That's just a small glimpse into some of the stuff that we got to experience while in Europe. But if I had to sum up this entire B1G European tour in one sentence, it'd be... all gas, no brakes!
Volleyball is something all of us B1G players love and do on the daily, but being fortunate enough to travel through Europe and experience new cultures was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it is one that I will forever be grateful for.
Some of the most memorable moments happened away from the court. Who knew you had to have your student ID thousands of miles away from your school? Danielle (Cuttino) and I sure didn't. So instead of climbing a narrow, crowded staircase up Prague's "Eiffel Tower," we opted for a nice snack instead. Overall, Prague was breathtaking and if you ever find yourself there as a college student, make sure you visit the John Lennon Wall and also bring your school ID.
Then we bused (for what seemed like 2 years but was actually about four hours) to Austria, but the buildings and statues in Vienna were so incredible that it made up for it. We were only there for a short period of time, but I loved every second of it.
Maribor was the next destination and let me tell you.... there was nothing boring about Slovenia! From the alpine slides to dinner on the mountain top and talking to Matt Anderson on the phone for a while, Maribor was a great time.
Then we were off to Venice. It was approximately 185 degrees outside, but the city was beautiful. I got to cross off two of the things on my bucket list (eating pizza and pasta in Italy). I may or may not have ordered both at the same time...
Milan was our final stop. It was everything I had hoped it would be—beautiful and WAY out of my price range (that's myy moneyyy!!).
Coming in, I wasn't sure what to expect with this group of girls that I didn't know two weeks prior. Competing against them for the past two years created a rivalry, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't have wanted to experience Europe with anybody else. New friendships were created on this trip that will continue far into the future. It's going to be fun and interesting seeing them across the net this season, but I can wait to catch up on life with each of them!
So thank you B1G, all of our respective schools, and everybody who made this trip possible. But most importantly, thank you Europe for taking us in with open arms and sharing parts of your culture with us. Until next time.. B1Gurlz out.
June 27, The Experience of a Lifetime
Big Ten fans,
My name is Cari Gold and I have had the honor of keeping you all updated as the Big Ten Foreign Tour team has traveled through Europe the past few days. As I sit here and write this, I am in my room in Milan on the last night of the 2017 Big Ten Volleyball Foreign Tour, where we spent 12 days touring the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, and Italy. What an adventure it has been! When we started the trip, none of the student-athletes knew each other, aside from having faced each other on the volleyball court. It has been so heart-warming and exciting to watch friendships grow and blossom, and I am blessed to say I have built friendships that will last as well. I am more excited than ever for Big Ten volleyball this season. First, because I truly believe our conference has elite student-athletes and teams, but also because I now see that we have some of the best people in the nation in our student-athletes, coaches, trainers, support staff, and Big Ten staff. For me, each and every match this season will be exciting because I will get to see a player on the other team whom I have gotten to know as a person, rather than just as an “opponent”. From the student-athletes to the staff to Tim Kelly and Bring It Promotions, everyone on this trip has been incredible. The team clicked immediately off the court, and although it took a few days on the court, it was exciting to watch the team become one cohesive unit, celebrating each point won whether they were on the bench or on the court. Each and every one of these girls battled and fought and clawed for each other. For the Big Ten. For the team.
We began the journey in Prague, Czech Republic, and although that was just 10 days ago, it feels like a lifetime. The flight was long, the Paris airport was hot, and the currency to buy things was different, but the adventure was just beginning and we were all excited. We had a quick training session when we first arrived and we were quickly introduced to the European way. We took a tram to practice, stopped at a grocery store for water, and walked a few blocks to the training facility. Everyone was pretty tired, but it was a good session and definitely helped the team prepare for what lay ahead.
Prague was beautiful. The first full day, we walked up the mountain to look at the castle. To give some perspective, at the end of the day my Fitbit said we had walked 76 flights of stairs and over 7.0 miles. That’s a long hike! But it was definitely worth it. The view was spectacular, and I was especially excited because I have always wanted to see a castle.
In all, we spent two full days in Prague. We wandered around the city in the morning and played matches in the evenings. The days were full of sightseeing, laughter, and bonding as we continued to build friendships. Wednesday morning, we boarded a bus and drove through Austria. We stopped for a few hours in Vienna to get lunch and walk around the city some. We saw so many beautiful buildings, and many of us plan to visit the city again to explore some more!
We arrived in Maribor, Slovenia, that night. We stayed in a hotel at the base of a ski mountain, and the view was simply stunning. Thursday morning, we went to two local schools, a pre-school and an elementary school, and played games with the children. For me, it was fun to watch our student-athletes interact with the kids. I was with the pre-school group, and I loved seeing how the kids became attached to some of our student-athletes, despite the fact that we didn’t speak their language and they didn’t speak ours. Around lunch time, we took a lift up the bottom ski slope to eat at a little restaurant, and then we rode the alpine slide down the hill. The alpine slide was a lot of fun, and some people loved it so much they went twice! During our match Thursday evening against the Russian Federation team, the fourth match of the tour, we started to gel more as a team and won the match. Most of the student-athletes I talked to said they felt more relaxed and were less jetlagged than they had been before. They had more energy, and it was obvious on the court. Friday morning, some of us rode bikes into downtown Maribor and did a little sightseeing and shopping, then we went back to the hotel for lunch and to rest up for the match that afternoon. We won against a very good Croatian Senior National team that night! It was so much fun see the team become one unit.
Saturday, we drove to Italy. We hit some traffic and arrived later than planned, but we were able to spend several hours wandering around Venice. Venice was beautiful! I walked around with the student-athletes and we stopped at the little pizza place about 10 minutes from the train station. The pizza and pasta were both delicious, and soon we were on our way to meet the rest of the group for a quick check in. After that, I wandered around on my own and somehow managed to get a little lost! There are so many allies and I don’t speak the language, so it was pretty easy to get turned around. I finally found a waiter and asked for directions, and he kindly showed me on my map how to get back to the train station. We stayed at a hotel about an hour outside of Venice that night.
Sunday, we got up and drove the rest of the way to Milan, Italy. We had about an hour to rest when we got to the hotel, then it was off to the arena to take on the Italian Junior National team! The travel had taken its toll, but we played hard. Monday we played two sets as a training session against the Bulgarian Junior National team in the morning, then in the afternoon we rode bikes into downtown Milan to shop and grab dinner, then we took a train back to the hotel. Tuesday, our last day of the tour, we played the Italian Junior National team again and this time we split sets, 2-2. We had a few hours off to rest and relax, then we took a train to another part of Milan where we were able to walk around and shop, eat gelato, and do some more exploring. We ate dinner as a team, and our tour guide, Tim, ordered for us again. Plate after plate of amazing meats, cheeses, and gnocchi arrived at the table and we all chowed down as we reminisced of things that had happened on the tour. It was a nice way to spend our last night together.
Tomorrow will definitely be bittersweet. These girls have become a family the way one hopes a team will. Steve Aird, Tim Kelly, and Jessica Palermo did an amazing job promoting the Big Ten and helping the girls grow together while representing their schools, the Big Ten, and America. Three months ago when I was asked to be part of this tour, I had no idea the impact it would have on me. Things like this are why the Big Ten truly is an amazing conference.
I hope many of you were able to watch the matches via live stream. For those of you who were not able to, they are still on the Big Ten Conference Facebook page.
As they say in Italy, caio!
-Cari Gold, University of Iowa, Foreign Tour Communications Contact
Hey volleyball fans! It’s Audra Appold. Today was the last full day of the tour and we spent the day in Milan. We started off with a competitive match against the Italian Junior National Team, splitting sets 2-2. It was fun getting to play them again and having a chance to compete against some very talented young players. It will be cool seeing where they go in the game of volleyball and their future success.
Then we spent the rest of the day walking the streets of Milan, eating gelato and having a great last team dinner. It was really fun walking around the city and re-telling stories from the trip. We are all extremely grateful for the memories and friendships that have formed in just a short period of time!
The Big Ten Foreign Tour team split sets with the Italian Junior National Team, going 2-2 (20-25, 25-20, 25-25, 18-25), in its final match of the tour Tuesday in Milan, Italy.
Claire Kieffer-Wright led the Foreign Tour team, amassing 16 kills and a .520 attacking percentage. Danielle Cuttino had 13 kills and Samantha Drechsel had 12. Jordyn Poulter recorded 41 assists and 10 digs, while Dalianliz Rosado racked up 22 digs. Tori Gorrell had nine blocks.
June 26, Fashion Capital of the World
Danielle Cuttino here! Today, we started the day off with a practice session against the Bulgarian JNT. We played two sets and it was nice to get in the gym and have another chance to play more competition. Later in the day we explored the city of Milan on bikes with the team. It was another scorcher but the breeze on the bikes made the ride more enjoyable. We saw another castle and then we all got the chance to explore the fashion capital of the world and see all of the different shops! It was one of the more exciting days of the tour, the city was so beautiful! It’s hard to believe tomorrow is our last full day on tour, but I’m excited play more volleyball and to explore this beautiful city some more!
The Big Ten Foreign Tour team defeated the Bulgarian Junior National Team, 2-0 (25-19, 25-22), on Monday morning in a training session in Milan, Italy.
Brooke Kranda led the Foreign Tour team with five kills, while Tori Gorrell and Tionna Williams both added four kills. Gorrell amassed a .571 attacking percentage and Williams hit at a .500 clip. Jordyn Poulter racked up seven assists.
The Foreign Tour team takes on the Italian Junior National Team on Tuesday morning at a time TBA. The match will be live streamed on the Big Ten Conference Facebook page.
June 25, First Impressions of Milan
Hi everyone, Tori here from Penn State!! Today we travelled from Venice to Milan to play the Italian Junior National Team! We had a long three hour bus ride, but we got to enjoy a nice buffet meal at a rest stop which was really hilarious because there isn't really anything like that in America! Once we arrived in Milan, I could already tell the girls and I were going to love it. It is such a beautiful city and we haven't even explored yet. Once we all got settled into our rooms we got our volleyball stuff together and walked over to the Italian National Team’s training center! When we arrived, there were a bunch of different facilities for different sports. The volleyball facility was very different than the other ones we have been playing in. There were fans and photographers watching! We played a good match against a tough team, and unfortunately didn’t get the result we wanted. That being said, it was a great experience and we all got some really good touches on the ball and great reps! I can feel us all getting more used to each other and getting more comfortable with one another. It’s going to be sad to leave these girls in a few days but I can't wait to go back and see them across the net during Big Ten season! So many great memories and we are all beyond grateful for everyone who made this trip possible for us all. It’s been such an amazing experience!
The Big Ten European Foreign Tour team fell 4-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-15, 25-16) to the Italian Junior National Team on Sunday afternoon in Milan, Italy.
Samantha Drechsel led the Foreign Tour team with 11 kills and a .600 attacking percentage, while Brooke Kranda chipped in eight kills. Jordyn Poulter had 30 assists and Dalianliz Rosado racked up 11 digs.
The Foreign Tour team will train with the Bulgarian National Team on Monday morning. The session will be live streamed on the Big Ten Conference Facebook page.
June 25, Loving Venice
Hey it's me! Jasmine Stackhouse coming to you straight from Venice! Exciting right!? First, the girls and I started off our day with a 3 hour bus ride from Slovenia followed by a remaining 30 minute train ride to Venice. Once we arrived, we tried out a nice public restaurant where they served pasta and pizza. We followed the European way and sat down to rest for a long time, and the food was bravo! Worth the wait! After eating we explored the city a little and split into groups to site see different areas. Walking around kind of made me feel like I was in a movie 🎥 with all the allies everywhere. You know, like in one of those epic movies such as Sherlock Holmes where you are a secret spy agent being followed around and you have to cut through different allies to get away? Yeah, that’s how I felt! I thought that was pretty cool. There were open places to shop in every corner and my favorite part was they used water as the streets. It was a pretty cool day to visit and explore Venice with such amazing girls. More exciting to say I can check Venice off my list of places to visit!
June 24, Additional Thoughts on Slovenia
Hey fans! It’s Hunter. Today we went into town in Slovenia. Some girls rode bikes to town and others took a cab. While in town, we went to a few stores and looked at the beautiful buildings. We stopped at a cafe for a smoothie and sat under the umbrella outside. While sitting there, a couple of men started playing music across from the restaurant and it made the whole event very authentic. After we finished our smoothies, we continued shopping until it was time to either ride the bikes or take the cab back to the hotel for lunch and to get ready for the serve and pass before our game. I have loved my time in both the Czech Republic and Slovenia, and I can’t wait to visit Italy next.
June 23, Adventures in Slovenia
Hey! It’s Allie. Today in Maribor we were able to have some free time and explore Kojack Downtown. Some girls rode bikes into town, some took a cab, and we all got to enjoy some quality time by some cute cafes and visiting the shops! It's been so fun getting to know each of the girls and touring Slovenia with everyone has been wonderful. We also had our match this evening with the Croatian Senior National Team! It was a great victory and we found a rhythm early. The team has been improving since day one of being together and we are all creating better connections. This experience is growing us all as individuals and as a group and we truly benefit from competing with the best of the best here. The team chemistry is awesome and you can see how it helps us on the court -- today's match was a battle; the Croatians were scrappy and offensive, but the team fought back to pull out a win. We only have two more matches together so we want to finish strong and make the most of our time traveling and training together!
The Big Ten Foreign Tour team topped the Croatian Senior National Team, 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20), on Friday in Maribor, Slovenia.
Danielle Cuttino racked up 17 kills, while Brooke Kranda amassed 10 and Tori Gorrell chipped in eight. Claire Kieffer-Wright amassed a .833 attacking percentage, while Jordyn Poulter registered 45 assists. Dalianliz Rosado had nine digs and Kranda recorded seven digs. Gorell also added five blocks.
The Foreign Tour team travels to Italy on Saturday.
June 22, First Day in Slovenia
Hey volleyball fans! Dalianliz here. Today, we had a great time visiting local schools and were able to play with the kids while teaching them how to play volleyball. It was so fun! Then we took a lift up the mountain for lunch and took an alpine slide down. After our match (which we won against the Russian Federation team!), we went to dinner at the top of the mountain. The alpine slide was really fun and dinner at the top of the mountain was amazing. It was a great first experience in Slovenia!
The Big Ten Foreign Tour team topped the Russian Federation team, 4-1 (25-12, 25-16, 25-23, 25-21, 24-26), Thursday in Maribor, Slovenia.
Danielle Cuttino and Samantha Drechsel led the Foreign Tour team with nine kills each. Cuttino hit at a .692 clip and chipped in four blocks, while Drechsel added five blocks. Brooke Kranda racked up six consecutive aces, Hunter Atherton amassed 22 assists and six digs, and Jasmine Stackhouse led the team with 10 blocks.
The Foreign Tour team takes on the Croatian Senior National Team tomorrow in Maribor, Slovenia.
June 21, Quick Trip to Vienna
Hey big ten fans! Brooke Kranda here!
Today we stopped in Vienna, Austria, on our way to Maribor, Slovenia. We walked to MuseumsQuartier (Museums Quarter) and over to St. Steven's church, and then we had some free time to explore the city! We found a great restaurant to get some lunch and then looked around the stores in the city center. Vienna was a beautiful city and I hope I get a chance to go back and explore more!
Our Czech Republic leg of the trip is over and Prague was an absolutely gorgeous city! Going up to the highest point on the mountain and looking over the city was such a great view. Can't wait to play some more tomorrow as we face the Russian Junior National Team! Go B1G!
June 21, Favorites of Prague
Hey volleyball fans, Claire Keiffer-Wright here! So far I have loved exploring Prague with my Big Ten teammates. We have been on a hike to a castle, we have seen the town square, and we have tried the local cuisine. There are so many stories behind every building and structure in Prague. The history is so rich! My favorite thing so far has been learning about all of the different stories behind some of the bigger monuments. We learned about one of the world’s biggest sport stadium (seats 220,000) located in Prague and how it has only sold out one time for The Rolling Stones. Our guide told us about the Charles Bridge and how Saint John of Nepomuk was thrown into the river because he would not tell the King the Queen’s confessions. The legend is that if you place your left hand on the cross, located where he was cast into the river, and make a wish, it will come true. Stories like these are hidden gems within every corner of Prague and it makes seeing the city even more interesting than it already is!
Volleyball wise, it has been interesting getting to know everyone as players on the same side of the net. I spend so much time learning about them during the regular season as opponents, and now it is a lot of fun getting to know them as teammates. I can already genuinely say I really like every girl here. I just wish I had known them all earlier! Everyone brings their own strength to the team and it really shows on the court. Although we have not had the outcomes we might have thought we would on this tour, we have had fun playing together and we are looking forward to continuing to figure out our system in Slovenia and beyond. I also really admire Coach Steve Aird for taking on this team. He is a great coach and understands that we have not been playing together long, so his motto is for us to just compete. He has been on the other side of the net from us for three years and he knows how each of us can play and that is all he expects from us. His family traveled out here with us and it has been really special getting to know his wife, kids, and parents.
I am excited to be traveling to Slovenia and being able to see a new place and learn more about it!
June 20, Exploring Old Prague
Hey fans, Sam Dreschel here! Today we went sightseeing in the old town part of Prague. It was really cool to see all the buildings and the detail put into each one. All of the buildings are really old and really beautiful. My favorite parts of sightseeing today were going to a small farmers market, buying souvenirs for my family in cute little shops and eating lunch on a restaurant patio while people watching. We also went to the John Lennon Wall, which has messages of peace and love spray painted all over it. One of our tour guides said that the wall is alive in a way because it is always changing and in a week it will not look the same. I thought that was a nice way to look at it.
After sightseeing, we got to play against the Czech Republic's national team. It was a really valuable experience and we learned a lot. We are beginning to gel a lot better as a team, which is really exciting! After the game, we had a really nice dinner with the other team. I’m excited to see what tomorrow holds!
The Big Ten European Foreign Tour team fell, 5-0 (19-25, 12-25, 17-25, 20-25, 11-25), to the Czech Republic National team on Tuesday in Jablonec Nad Nisou.
Brooke Kranda led the team with nine kills and hit at a .417 clip. Jordyn Poulter amassed 26 assists, while Dalianliz Rosado and Annika Olsen each tallied eight digs.
The Foreign Tour team takes the court again Thursday against the Russian Junior National team.
June 19, Castles and Matches
Hi y'all! My name is Annika, and I am blogging about our first full day in Prague. I play for the University of Iowa (can I get a go Hawks?), and I am having a great time on the Big Ten European Foreign Tour so far. This morning, we hiked up to the top of this hill where we got an incredible view of the whole city. We almost had to question if we were really D1 student-athletes because the hike wasn't easy, but it was worth it when we made it to the top. Once we were there, we had the opportunity to climb to the top of Prague's "mini Eiffel tower" which was the highest point in the whole city. The breathtaking views at the top were definitely worth the hundreds of stairs we climbed to get there! Next, we toured the Castle in Prague which was absolutely stunning inside and out. The stained glass inside the castle Cathedral was beautiful to look at. We also witnessed the changing of the guard and then proceeded to try to get the guards to smile... which they didn't. After our morning of sightseeing, we grabbed a quick lunch and then went back to our hotel to prepare for our afternoon matches.
We played two matches this afternoon, and they were both exciting and good learning experiences for all of us. We were split into two teams, so each team got to play one match. It definitely took us some time to get used to the international volleyball and European style of play, but it was obvious that we still belonged there. Because we've never played with each other before and haven't had a lot of time to practice with one another, we struggled with consistency some, but there was still some incredible volleyball played today (on both sides of the net for sure). There were definite some long rallies and amazing plays made. We ended up winning one of the matches and losing another, and we are excited to get to play more volleyball tomorrow so we can continue to grow together as a team!
- Box Score Match 1 | Box Score Match 2
The Big Ten Foreign Tour volleyball team split a pair of decisions, topping the U18 Czech Republic team (2-1) and falling to the Czech Republic Junior National team (3-0) on Monday in Prague.
Kendall Beerman and Tori Gorrell were dominant offensively in game one against the U18 Czech Republic team, racking up eight and six kills, respectively, to lead the Foreign Tour team to a 12-25, 26-24, 25-16 victory. Beerman led the team with a .385 attacking percentage, while Gorrell had a .364 attacking percentage. Gorrell also racked up four blocks. Hunter Atherton amassed 19 assists and Annika Olsen chipped in eight digs.
Brooke Kranda tallied seven kills as the Foreign Tour team fell to the Czech Republic Junior National team (22-25, 19-25, 20-25). Claire Kieffer-Wright led the team with an impressive .625 attacking percentage, while Jordyn Poulter registered 19 assists.
The Big Ten Foreign Tour team takes on the Czech Republic National team at 10 p.m. CT on June 20.
June 18, First Impressions
Hey volleyball fans, Kendall Beerman here! Today we arrived in Prague after a long day of traveling. The buildings are beautiful and old and the culture is like nothing I've ever seen before. We also had our first practice, and it was really awesome to see us be able to come together for a great practice after being so tired from traveling. It's been fun getting closer with the staff and players so far. I think we can all tell this is going to be a great trip!
June 17, Excited to Embark!
Hello everyone, Jordyn Poulter here from the University of Illinois! After a long morning of travel, all of us met in College Park, Maryland, to kick off the first practice of the tour. After practice we showered, ate a delicious dinner filled with shrimp and grilled veggies and are currently off the Dulles Airport where we will embark on our first flight.
I am so excited to get the opportunity to play high level volleyball with skilled players from the conference. It's always fun to play against these women during the season, but I think being on the same side of the net will be even better! I'm also looking forward to traveling to two countries I've never been to before: the Czech Republic and Austria. Until next time!
The Big Ten Foreign Tour team met on Saturday for the first time at the XFINITY Center on the campus of Maryland. Head coach Steve Aird addressed the team prior to the trip's first practice. The squad departs the United States for its first stop in Prague, Czech Republic, on Saturday night.
Over the course of nearly two weeks, the Big Ten Foreign Tour Team will compete in seven matches and host a volleyball clinic, in addition to community outreach activities. Follow @B1GVolleyball using the hash tag #B1GEuroVB on Twitter for live updates on the tour. Access this site for further details, including daily updates and photos.