WMU News

Volleyball Broncos compete in Europe

July 24, 2000

The Western Michigan University volleyball team departs today (July 24) for its summer training trip in Europe. This is the first time a WMU volleyball team has competed outside of North America.

The Broncos will visit France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. WMU will practice and compete against some of the top European teams in preparation for the 2000 season. Western Michigan returns for its traditional summer camp August 7.

"I'm excited to play," Bronco senior Jen Nowak said. "I've never been there. I think of it as a senior present. It's something that I maybe would never have been able to do if I wasn't here this year. It's kind of cool that it's my senior year."

"Relatively few universities," says head coach Cathy George, "can afford to send their teams to Europe to practice and compete. Typically only the top teams in the country have that kind of opportunity."

The trip was made possible thanks to donations from members of the Spikers Club, the Bronco volleyball booster organization.

"If there was ever a demonstration of the importance of the Spikers Club to our program, this is it!" George said. "This trip will make a huge difference for our team, and it literally could not have happened without support from our Spikers."

Western Michigan arrives in Frankfurt, Germany, July 25 and will begin training in Wiesbaden, Germany, that day. The tentative schedule for the Broncos' European trip may be found below. Updates during the trip and more information about WMU Bronco volleyball are available at the volleyball Web site <www.wmubroncos.com/vball/>.

WMU is coming off its best season in more than a decade. Western Michigan was 25-7 overall and 15-3 in the Mid-American Conference in 1999. The Broncos reached the championship match of the MAC Tournament before falling to Ball State.

The Broncos return All-MAC Honorable Mention setter Jen Nowak. Other returning seniors are Alberta Griffin (outside hitter), Monyka Paul (outside hitter) and Kelly Kuharski (defensive specialist). Paul and Kurharski have started every season since their freshman year, and both are three-time letter winners. Junior Zakiya Pope (middle blocker) is also back after hitting .318 with 244 kills during her impressive sophomore season. Sophomores Cindy Kizer (defensive specialist) and Ashley Ritter (setter) also had starting roles during the 1999 campaign.

Tentative schedule for WMU volleyball European trip

July 26 - Tourist day in Frankfurt/Match vs. Wiesbaden (German 2nd Division Team)

July 27 - Match vs. German Junior National Team, Heidelberg, Germany

July 28 - Travel to Paris

July 29 - Broncos in Paris for sightseeing

July 30 - Practice in Charleroi, Belgium; Guests of Dauphines Charleroi, Belgion Top Division

July 31 - Match vs. USC Munster (2000 German Cup Champions) in Munster, Germany

Aug. 1 - Practice in Munster

Aug. 2 - Match vs. Emmlicheim, Germany (Top Division Team)

Aug. 3 - Match vs. NL Youth/Junior Team in Zeist, Netherland/Travel to Baden Baden, Germany following match

Aug. 4 - Broncos visit hot springs in Baden Baden, Germany

Aug. 5 - Match vs. ASPTT Mulhouse, France (Pro A Team)

Aug. 6 - Match vs. ASPTT Mulhouse, France/Travel to Frankfurt following match

Aug. 7 - Depart Frankfurt for USA

Media contact: Geoff Brown; 616 387-4138; geoffrey.brown@wmich.edu

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