2017 Women's Volleyball European Blog
July 7, 2017

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LOGAN, Utah - Utah State assistant coach Sammi Stuart and senior Lauren Anderson are currently traveling with the Mountain West All-Stars in Europe. The duo will share their experiences throughout their trip with blog posts and photos that will updated during their European tour.

The MW All-Stars will take part in the 13th annual European Global Challenge, July 10-15, 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 - https://livesteam.com/accounts/9015567/events/7572607

Court 2 - https://livesteam.com/accounts/9015532/events/7572629

Opening ceremonies for the event will be streamed live on the Global Challenge Facebook page, beginning at 1 p.m. (MT), on July 10.

Day 1
Budapest is awesome and we haven't even been able to see it yet. Our first day here was waiting around (trying not to fall asleep) for all of the coaches and athletes on our Mountain West team to arrive. There is this sweet grocery store around the corner from our hotel. Had all sorts of good things to eat. We are staying at Danibus Hotel Flamenco. This evening we were able to get our first practice in. The athletes were moving kind of slow at the beginning, but once they got their legs moving we were getting after it. It was a lot of fun. Tomorrow (Friday) we are off to practice in the morning and then sightsee Budapest. Stay tuned.
- Sammi Stuart

The first day in Budapest, I realized how much of an honor it was to be here. The city is gorgeous and the team is amazing. The girls are all extremely friendly and competitive. I love my first look into this long adventure.
- Lauren Anderson

Day 2
Today we toured Budapest! What a cool city. We rode the subway, tram and bus system. It's really quite convenient.

We stopped by the Parliament building, it is huge and beautiful. After that we went to St. Stephen's Basilica. It's the second largest Basilica in Europe. The inside was beautiful. The stained glass and organ were by far my favorite. After that we went shopping and grabbed lunch. It is crazy to me how many American stores were there (H&M, Foot Locker, Claire's...etc.). After our shopping spree we headed off to Castle Hill. Here, we were able to see all of Budapest and it is gorgeous. Now we are headed to practice. We play two friendly matches tomorrow.
- Sammi Stuart

We had practice in the morning and then went out to experience all of the historic buildings. I took a lot of photos and even got myself some souvenirs. We practiced one more time before heading to bed.
- Lauren Anderson

Day 3
Today, we drove out to Tiszaujvaros to play two friendly matches against the Hungarian Junior and Senior National teams. The drive was beautiful. Sunflowers everywhere and very country...which I enjoyed.  We had some free time in between our first match and second match so our team went to a pool. It had several different pools and some pretty sweet slides. The day ended with a true Hungarian meal.
- Sammi Stuart

We woke up early to drive to our match with the Hungarian National B team. It was amazing how well the team worked together! We had a lot of success! After our win, we went to the public pool. The pool had slides and some pressure water massages. We kinda looked out of place being this large group of tall girls. Our match with the Hungarian Junior National was also a great match. The libero gave a lot of hitters a run for their money. We had a lot of great ball control and we were able to bust out another win! This team is really great. Super excited to head out tomorrow for another win!
- Lauren Anderson

Match #1 Hungarian Senior National Team - MW 3, HUN 1
Lauren Anderson leads MW All-Stars with eight kills

Match #2 Hungarian Junior National Team - MW 5, HUN 0
Lauren Anderson with nine kills.

Day 4
Today we left Budapest and took a four-hour ride to Maribor, Slovenia. The drive was cool. It's so green here. Maribor is a pretty cool place. Our hotel is at the base of a ski resort. It reminds me of Park City but not as big. We got here and it has an Alpine Slide...of course we rode it and it was awesome! After the slide we played a European team that will be in our bracket for the Global Challenge. They were pretty good. We need to upgrade our passing and our ability to better hit the ball. European players serve the ball HARD! After our scrimmage we took this gondola to the top of the mountain and ate a great dinner. And those views...wow!
- Sammi Stuart

Day 5
Today was a travel day. We left Maribor, Slovenia, this morning and took a four-hour bus drive to our Hotel in Pula, Croatia. Pula is where the European Global Challenge will be taking place. All the teams have checked into the hotel and are getting ready to start play tomorrow. We are staying at Hotel Pula and it is right on the Adriatic Sea. So pretty!

Just got back from Opening Ceremonies in Pula. It was cool. The MW plays its second match of the tournament on Tuesday at 8:00pm (12:00pm MST). The game will be live streamed if you want to check it out. (Click on the link at the top of the page)
- Sammi Stuart

Day 6
The Global Challenge has started. There are 12 teams playing in the U23 division. So they out us in three pools of four. We played two matches yesterday against an Italian team and a Slovenian team. We are 5-1 going into tomorrow. Each win is worth one point and the two USA teams that have the highest point total get a bye into the first round. We play a team from USA tomorrow morning and that will end pool play. Stay tuned to see if we get that bye!
- Sammi Stuart

Day 7
Wow! It's been a week?! That's crazy! Today was a great day. We wrapped up our pool play going 7-2 overall which gave us the USA No. 2 seed. The good thing about that is that we got a bye into the first round of the championship. We play our quarterfinal match at 12:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. MT) on Thursday morning.

Since we had a bye we ended up going to Kamenjak. It's a cool place on the Adriatic Sea where you can jump off various heights of cliffs. The funny thing about Croatia is that the Sea is beautiful but their beaches are rocks. After jumping off a few cliffs we found this cool cave that you had to swim underwater to get into. Once inside it was beautiful!
- Sammi Stuart

Day 8
Great day of volleyball today. We played our quarterfinal match this morning against Slovenia U18 team and we won 3-0. We didn't do much after the game because we had our semifinal match a couple hours later and wanted to make sure our team was rested. In our semifinal match we played NKBM (another Slovenian team) and beat them 3-0 which landed us in the championship. This is the first time the Mountain West team has made it to the championship. We play USA CNT team tomorrow at 7:00 pm local time. If you are interested in watching you can go here we play at 11:00am MT on Friday.

In the quarterfinal match Lauren Anderson had eight kills, and in the semifinal match Lauren Anderson had nine kills.
- Sammi Stuart

Day 9
Today we played in the European Global Challenge Championship against the USA CNT. We lost in three to them. They were a very good team. So we ended up taking second place, which is higher than any other Mountain West team. It was such a neat experience to compete. After our match we had closing ceremonies where each team received an award and was able to get a picture. Lauren and I were able to sneak in a picture with our medals as well.
- Sammi Stuart

Day 10
The end is near. We've spent so much time playing volleyball and enjoying the beautiful sights. I must admit Croatia may have been my favorite part of our trip! It is so pretty there.



This morning we boarded a bus and headed for Venice, Italy. We were only able to spend a couple hours in Venice...just enough for me to know that one day I will be back. It is so pretty and so neat. I was able to ride a Gondola to tour Venice and it was awesome! The main part of Venice is called St. Marks Square. The architecture was so pretty. I couldn't stop taking pictures!

Sad this trip is over but excited to get back to Utah State to start camps up. Thanks for reading along on our European journey!
- Sammi Stuart

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