WACO, Texas – The Baylor volleyball team is wrapping up finals this week, but the learning will continue May 18-29 as the Bears head on a foreign tour to Italy. The Bears will make stops in six cities and will play in six matches while visiting various tourist sites throughout the country.
The foreign tour, allowed for NCAA volleyball teams every four seasons, comes at a good time for Baylor who is breaking in a new coaching staff. Ryan McGuyre took over as head coach Dec. 24, 2014 for Baylor with he and his new staff recently completing the spring off-season. The foreign tour will allow for more cohesion as it allows for 10 extra practice days with the team before departure.
“The trip will strengthen our game. We have six matches that will allow us to compete but also see different styles of volleyball. It will be a great time preparing us for the upcoming 2015 season,” said McGuyre. “The extra training time and experience will add to our skill set for 2015. Overall, this is simply an incredible opportunity to share our love for the sport, each other, and love for the Lord with others in a new and exciting context.”
May 20-21, Baylor will play two matches in Rome against Volleyro, Roma B1 team, a development club that has a history of placing many of its players on youth and junior national teams. May 22 the Bears will face Nottolini Volley in Capannori Lucca before heading to Empoli May 25 to face Empoli Volley. The final two matches of the trip come May 26-27 vs. Italian Federation teams, which will include the Italian Youth and Junior National team, or a combination of the two teams in Milan.
Aside from the competition, the group's time will be filled with sightseeing, including various museums, the Roman Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, Vatican Museums, Trevi Fountain among others. Baylor will make stops in Pisa, Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan and Venice after the team's initial arrival in Rome.
“Not all programs take international tours so the experience in of itself is an opportunity many athletes are unable to partake in and I am glad this special of group of student-athletes will receive this special time together,” McGuyre said. “I am a big believer that diversity enhances excellence so whenever you can experience another culture your own life will be impacted.”
Returning lettermen Andie Malloy, Thea Munch-Soegaard, Katie Staiger, Tola Itiola, Adrien Richburg, Amy Rosenbaum, Morgan Reed, Jana Brusek and Mackenzie Mayo will all be making the trip for Baylor. In addition, newcomers Amanda Lesikar and Shelly Fanning will also travel and compete for the Bears.
Selected Baylor players will be blogging about the experience, and their stories will be shared on BayorBears.com & via social media. Be sure to follow Baylor volleyball's twitter account @BaylorVball, as well as the Instagram and Facebook accounts @baylorvolleyball.