Utah State senior libero Tasia Taylor and sophomore middle Bailey Downing are currently in Europe and will share their experiences while traveling with the Mountain West All-Stars. The pair will make stops in England, Croatia and Italy from July 5-15.
The MW All-Stars will take part in the 14th annual European Global Challenge, July 10-13, in Pula, Croatia, facing junior national and club teams from throughout Europe. Fans can find out more about the tournament by clicking here, or via various social media channels, including Facebook (/bringitusaglobalchallenge), Twitter (@12thgc) and Instagram (european_global_challenge).
All of the matches on Court 1 and Court 2 will be steamed live and can be seen on the following sites:
Court 1 | Court 2
The Mountain West All-Stars will open the Global Challenge with a pair of matches on Tuesday, July 10, playing both matches on Court 2 with the first serve scheduled for 2 a.m. (MT) and 8 a.m. (MT). Two more matches will follow on Wednesday, July 11, and played on Court 1 at 5 a.m. (MT) and then on Court 2 at 8 a.m. Consoloation and championship matches will be played on Thursday, July 12, and Friday, July 13.
After a seven-hour layover and a seven-hour flight we made it to England! We lucked out by finding a shower we were able to use before meeting up with the team. We then had issues with the bus driver due to the law that he can only drive a certain amount of hours before he must take a break. Instead of making our way into the city we stayed at the airport for lunch. Eventually we were able to explore London for two hours. Our time here was limited because we are staying the night in Middlesbrough, which is a six-hour bus ride away. Unfortunately, the bus had no air conditioning so it was extremely hot. Sarah, our tour guide kept reminding us that “Europe is about going with the flow because nothing ever goes as planned." That is probably the best way to sum up our day! Sweaty, uncomfortable and jet lagged but it’s all part of the experience! - Bailey Downing
Day one was quite a crazy day. We landed in London and met up with the rest of the girls while we waited for our bus. Our bus took us sightseeing in London, where we saw Big Ben, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. After sightseeing we took a six-hour hot bus ride up to Middlesbrough. Our day didn’t go as planned, but we made the best of it! - Tasia Taylor
We got to sleep in a little due to the long night of driving last night. Then had breakfast at the hotel and walked to the gym, which is about 15 min away. We practiced from 11 to 1 and then had lunch at the gym. We then scrimmaged a team from the east coast from 3 to 5. After that we showered and went to dinner! The food here is amazing! - Bailey Downing
Today we started off the day by walking to Middlesbrough College to have our first practice. It was pretty rough at first, the gym was hot, and they had different volleyballs that had a lot of movement. As the practice went on it got easier. After practice, we helped ourselves to some lunch and a nap. We scrimmaged the East Coast Conference and won both sets (25-17, 25-21). The team is still getting used to playing with each other, but I look forward to playing with them more throughout the tour! We finished our day with some delicious dinner and gelato. - Tasia Taylor
After breakfast we went walked to the gym and had practice for two hours then scrimmaged the Northumbria team and did really well! We then ate lunch and walked around town to shop! England was playing in the World Cup so the entire town was out watching the game! We watched and cheered for England, luckily England won! It was so much fun to see their love for the game. After that we got dinner and headed to bed to prepare for tomorrow’s games! - Bailey Downing
We started off the day with a short practice and scrimmage. We played against Team Northumbria and split sets with them (25-22, 16-25, 26-24, 13-15). We had the rest of the day off after our match, so we all went shopping and watched the England vs. Sweden soccer game. It was a fun experience to be surrounded by England fans. Again, we finished off the night with dinner and more gelato! - Tasia Taylor
Today was similar to yesterday. We walked over to the gym, had a short practice and a scrimmage. While eating lunch, they had the Northumbria University coaches come talk to us about playing internationally. After lunch, we played against the England national team and won all three sets. We got some dinner, then packed up our stuff to head for Pula! - Tasia Taylor
Today was so crazy! Our plan was to wake up early, catch our flight to Venice, Italy, and bus to Croatia for the opening ceremony. Although, the day did not go as planned! Something was wrong with the plane so we had to emergency land in Germany! After several hours of riding buses and waiting in the heat of the plane, we finally boarded a new plane and headed to Venice. By this time we knew that attending opening ceremonies was out of the question. Once we landed in Venice we took a bus to Croatia which is about a four-hour drive. We just arrived and it is 1:00 am! Although today was exhausting, we are lucky to be safe and in the correct destination! - Bailey Downing
We made it to Pula! We started off our day with a bus ride from Middlesbrough to the airport in Leeds. The bus was starting to have issues about 45 minutes in, so we had to pull over multiple times. We eventually made it to the airport. While on the flight to Venice, an announcement came over the intercom saying that we needed to take an emergency landing for an electrical problem. There was a lot of turbulence, and it was a little terrifying, but we landed in Munich. We sat in the airport for about five hours waiting for another plane to show up and take us to Venice. We made it to Venice and started our four-hour journey to Pula. We missed the opening ceremonies, but at least we can say we’ve been to Germany now! - Tasia Taylor
Today was our first day of tournament play, and it didn’t go as good as we were hoping. First, we played PVK Olymp. We lost the first two sets and won the third (21-25, 18-25, 25-19). After our match, we went back to the hotel and cooled off in the pool for a bit. We headed back to the gym and played Croatia. We started off winning the first set, then losing the last two (25-19, 16-25, 17-25). After our second match, we headed down to the beach and did a little bit of cliff jumping and swimming to finish off the day! - Tasia Taylor
We ate breakfast at the hotel then headed to our first match. We did not play like we hoped to but there is still a good chance we can make it to the finals! We then took a break and went to the pool and had lunch. After that we had a second game against Croatia! It was a good game and we competed well! After that we headed to the beach to relax! The water is crystal clear and it is absolutely beautiful here! The hotel we are staying at is filled with all the teams we are competing against in the tournament. We just had dinner and now we are headed to bed! It’s been a great day! - Bailey Downing
First we had breakfast and then a few of us went to the beach for a quick dip before our matches. I’ve never seen water so blue, especially compared to Texas lakes! After that we had two games back to back! We did so much better than we did yesterday so it was a success. Win or lose, the only thing that matters is that we are improving each day, which we are. I love the girls so much! They are so fun on and off the court. After we were done playing we went cliff jumping! Which was so much fun but I don’t think I would do it again! After that we all went back to the hotel to shower and eat dinner. The World Cup is happening right now and we are lucky enough to be in Croatia as they play England! Therefore we spent the rest of the evening watching the game and cheering on Croatia! Football (soccer) is so big here, it’s fun to be with the locals and experience their love for it! - Bailey Downing
We got to sleep in a little bit today before our matches. We played Northumbria and Hungary, and it was overall a pretty good day of playing. After our matches, we went to the a large cliff to do some cliff jumping. It was high and scary, but a lot of fun! We got back to the hotel and watched the Croatia vs. England soccer game before heading off to bed. Hours after the game had ended you could still hear people cheering and honking their horns for Croatia’s win. - Tasia Taylor
After breakfast we headed to the gym to play our first match of the day! We did really well and beat them. After that we took a dip in the pool and ate lunch. We had a few hours to spare because our game wasn’t till 6! At 5 we made our way to the gym to play the Croatia team. They are so good! We played them earlier in the tournament an could only take one set off them! But we ended up wining the game in 5! It was such a fun and exciting game. After our match we headed into the city for dinner and shopping, then we went to bed. - Bailey Downing
We had our last pool play match today against Falconara which placed us second in our pool. After our match, we had some time to hang out and do what we wanted. We made it to the semi-final match and played Croatia, and we beat them in five sets! We are all looking forward to the finals tomorrow! We finished off the night going downtown for some dinner and shopping since we were not able to go the day of opening ceremonies. Today was a good day! Finals, here we come! - Tasia Taylor
We had all day to do what we wanted, so some people went shopping, some went to the pool, and some went to the beach. Then we headed to the gym to play in the finals. We ended up taking second place overall! After our game they gave out medals and we traded shirts with the other teams. We finished off the night with a pool party for all of the teams. - Tasia Taylor
Today was our last day here in Europe. We started off our day with a bus ride to Italy. Once we got to the hotel, we headed straight for Venice. We had to take a bus and a train to get there, and our bus driver went the wrong way, so our 10-minute drive turned into an hour and 45-minute drive, but we eventually got to Venice. The city was beautiful! I’m sad we didn’t get much time here in Italy, but I am ready to come home. This has been an amazing experience, and I feel so lucky for this opportunity. - Tasia Taylor
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