Rigo's Recap: Let's get it started
July 12, 2013
Sophomore outside hitter and 2012 America East Rookie of the Year Melissa Rigo is in Europe playing for the BIP U.S. team as part of the European Global Challenge. Read about how the squad got the trip started right and what she thinks of the European sights and food.
For more on Rigo's journey, follow @StonyBrookVB and @SBAthletics on Twitter or search for the hashtag #GORiGO.
Monday night I met my first teammate, Jess Schafer, a right side from East Tennessee State. We flew in from Chicago together along with my coaches, Dan and Coley Pawlikowski. Our flight was supposed to be Tuesday at 6 p.m., but we sat on the runway at JFK for almost two hours. Surprisingly, the flight was only a little over seven hours and really wasn't that bad. I watched three movies, and the food was pretty good. We had a five-hour layover in Zurich, Switzerland, where we all just found a bench to sleep on until our flight. The next flight into Venice wasn't even an hour. After getting there, we waited a couple of hours for another teammate to get on and then we were off to Maribor, Slovenia!
There basically isn't a speed limit in Europe because we were flying down the highway in what essentially turned into three-hour sightseeing trip on the way to our hotel. The Slovenian countryside is gorgeous. My hotel is definitely really different than anything in the U.S. I had to give in my passport to the check in desk, and I'm in a suite with eight twin beds. I'm rooming with five other girls, three of them happen to be from Croatia. My view from the hotel is incredible because it's right at the bottom of a ski slope.
I met my team yesterday morning at my first practice. There are three Croatians, two Slovenians and the rest are from the States. Their ages range from 15-21. It's definitely an interesting group of girls with a bunch of different personalities, but I really like my entire team. We are starting to get comfortable around each other and of course, the first thing people notice about me is my accent. My first practice went pretty well-- just getting some rust off and building chemistry with the team. The food here is really good and a lot different then what I'm used to. They serve meat and cheese for breakfast and have Nutella on toast. There is no ice in any of the drinks either. They are big on having strudel for dessert, and their coffee is ten times better then back at home.
I also had my first friendly match after lunch. We played a Slovenian club team from around Maribor. Their style of volleyball is played at a much faster pace and it's more about technique. I'm the shortest hitter on my team, but I started at outside for the first two games I played, then moved to libero for a set and ended the fifth set back at outside. My team ended up winning in five, and we were all so excited to start our trip off right! I think with time and more practice, we are going to get more comfortable with each other and put up a good fight in the Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia.
I went to dinner today up on top of a ski mountain, so of course, we took a gondola up. The view was beautiful and the entire time my teammates and I sat there taking pictures. We sat at dinner with some members of the Hungarian Youth National team. I had another friendly match this morning versus the Slovenian Youth National team. Then I went to Bled, Croatia for some sightseeing. The trip so far has been an incredible experience. Only nine days left...
Fans can also track where Melissa Rigo, Laura Hathaway and Coley and Dan Pawlikowski have been on the Where in the World is Wolfie? map. To get on the map yourself, please click the link for instructions.