Final thoughts of our European Tour

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Alyssa B. here. I cannot believe that this trip has come to an end. We have all been looking forward to it and planning it for such a long time. Thank you to everyone who helped us along the way; we really appreciate all the donations and thanks Mom and Dad for your support. Even though the whole trip was great, I definitely enjoyed Vienna the most. The team we played there was a group of great girls and I really enjoyed talking to them. Also, in Vienna the city was beautiful and full of a lot of fun attractions. If I could do this again, I would do it in a heartbeat. It was an experience I will never forget!

WOW! I cannot believe our trip is just about over. The days that we spent together in Prague, Vienna, and Munich hold memories that I will remember for the rest of my life. I cannot thank my parents and family enough for helping me get here and I would like to thank all the people that made donations in order to make this trip possible. The team has definitely bonded and has come a lot closer over the course of the trip both on and off the court. One of my favorite parts of the trip was meeting players on the teams we played against and learning a little about them and trading t-shirts. This was such an awesome experience and I loved every minute of it!
- Danielle Brogan

I never thought this day would come. Our trip to Europe finally came to an end. Traveling from Prague to Vienna to Munich was an amazing time. First off, I want to thank my parents, family, and others who made donations who made this trip happen for us. It’s greatly appreciated. The memories we created on this trip will last a lifetime and I can’t wait to share them with everyone when we return. Our team has definitely grown a stronger bond between being together and playing. Playing against the Czech, Austrian, and German teams gave us a great outlook on the overseas competition. I definitely couldn’t pick just one favorite part about the trip overall, I had favorite parts in each country. In Prague, I really enjoyed exploring and shopping in the Old City along with the castle tours. Then in Vienna, the old Ferris wheel and the beautiful overview of the city it had a lot to offer. Ending with Munich, eating dinner at the Hofbrahaus and shopping downtown. This was an experience of a lifetime.
- Sarah LaFerrara

When I arrived at Moravian as a freshman, the upperclassmen would constantly torture us with stories from their amazing trip to Italy. Now we finally have memories to compare. After three years of anticipation, this long awaited adventure has come to an end. I am truly thankful to everyone who supported our team and made this once in a lifetime experience possible. Each country offered something different and equally memorable. I will never forget the old city in Praha, the sights from the Charles Bridge and the castle, and trying to keep from getting pickpocketed by my own teammate and sister. In Vienna, every building seemed like something from a movie. One of my favorite memories was eating outside at a small picturesque restaurant while dancing and singing wiht my team, coaches, and family all throughout dinner. I will also always rememeber spending time talking, eating, adn exchanging shirts with the Austrian team after we played. They were all very friendly and I am excited to keep in touch with some of them. Although the bus ride to Germany took a little bit longer than expected, looking out at the Alps made it well worth the trip. It is impossible to record everything that happended over the last ten days, but I can confidently say that this experience brought me closer to each of my teammates and coaches. I am also extremely thankful for all of the family members who joined us. I can't wait until our season next year!
-Ally Blair

It’s hard to believe our trip to Europe is finally over! I thought hitting three countries in ten days was going to be difficult, but everything worked out great! Starting off in what I heard was the most beautiful city, Prague, traveling to, in my opinion the most exciting city, Vienna, and getting the chance to see the Alps on the way to Munich was awesome! I am so happy I got that the chance to come overseas with my team and play the sport I love in other countries. Although, we experienced the game on different courts, with different rules and in different languages we all related and could communicate with each other through the game of basketball. I know I will have memories that will last a lifetime and I’m excited to look back and remember the amazing people I spent it with!
-Laura Casey

For the past three years I have been looking forward to this trip. Ever since I was going into my freshmen year at Moravian, I have heard all the stories from the previous trip to Italy! This got me super excited to travel to Europe as a senior with this team. I am truly fortunate to be a leader on such a young team. We became so much closer and have made memories together that will lead into my final season as a Moravian greyhound. As I sit on the plane back home, typing my final thoughts, I can’t help but think that these ten days traveling across Europe have flown by (no pun intended). From this amazing trip the team has become closer than ever and I am looking forward to building upon the communication on and off the court that we have gained. I loved experiencing the old city of Praha, the palaces and traditional Austrian dinner, and the Hofbrauhaus in Munich with my closest friends and family. I would like to thank everyone that made this trip possible and the endless support from the Moravian community over my entire career. We are expecting to have a great season and I hope that everyone will continue to come out and support us lady greyhounds!
-Hilary Murray

Wow! This trip went by very fast. I survived my first plane ride ever and was very happy after the plane landed because going down was not as pleasant as going up. Touring Prague, Vienna, and Munich is something I will never forget because the Palaces were incredible. I would like to thank my parents for helping me raise money so I could go on this trip. This was a once in lifetime opportunity and I feel really grateful I could experience this with my closest friends, my team. I will never forget the swing ride in Vienna that was 107 m tall. Playing basketball in these different countries is something that I will also take with me and learn from. The players we met in each place were very kind and good competition. It feels good to win in a different country because that provides more confidence in our team that we can work together and succeed in any environment. This trip was definitely one of the best vacations I have ever been on and am very sad it had to come to an end.
-Amanda Kreuder

I really can’t believe today is the last day of our trip! Although we spent a large amount of time here in Europe I feel like it was just yesterday that we were sitting in NYC traffic on the way to the airport. We saw a lot of great places that provided memories that we will never forget (Alyssa Hann and the men’s bathroom, Coach Endler’s competitiveness in cards, Coach Sara’s American Idol auditions). The time spent together during dinners, games, and free time were just as valuable as seeing the famous attractions that we visited. We even found fun during nine-hour plane ride and standstill traffic on three different occasions. We bonded as both friends and teammates (and coaches) throughout this trip, which will benefit us very much in the future in more than just basketball. We also met some great people, including our tour guide, Robert, and our bus driver, Chris, who were very nice to get to know and spend time with (if you don’t try to bring ice cream on the coach). The families that came along made it more entertaining as well, especial Nanny. I’m sad that we have to leave already but I am looking forward to returning to the United States where there is unlimited water and free bathrooms!
-Katie O

Its amazing how fast time flies when you’re having fun! I feel like it was just yesterday that we were gathering at school to depart for JFK! Now, we’re on our way back with many new friends from teams we played and tons of great memories for the future. The competition in Europe was much different than the competition at home, but it was a great change of pace, and the players we met were very nice and helpful with the new rules. Besides the great competition, the amusement park in Austria added to the excitement and amazement of the trip. There, Sara and I went on the ejection chair, took a team ride on the world’s highest swings and also one of the worlds highest ferris wheel’s, where we had a beautiful view of the Vienna skyline. Following the amusement park we visited the beautiful castles of Austria and took a ride through the Alps on our way to Germany. While driving through the Alps, we stopped at an excellent restaurant, which looked out on the town and the Alps themselves.
These were just a few of my favorite things from this trip, since there is not enough room to state all the great memories. I will never forget our late nights staying up talking with our roommates or playing cards with the coaches. This experience is one that I’m sure we will never forget and I cannot wait to scrapbook with everyone and relive these fun memories and great competition!
-Katie Marakos

It’s disappointing knowing our trip has come to an end. This time together has really brought our team together. I know we have all grown so much closer. It started out great in the old city of Praha. We enjoyed the historic buildings and breath taking views. Even though it was a fun city we were all looking forward to moving on to Vienna. Our welcome dinner was something I will never forget. While we dined we were entertained with live, traditional Austrian music. Then we were encouraged by the coaches to sing and dance. Even though it may have been a little embarrassing to do the chicken dance in front of the whole restaurant, I had a great time. Moving onto Munich meant that the trip was coming to an end, but we all appreciated the authentic city. The competition in the three cities varied, but I feel like every game was a great experience. While leaving Europe may seem unfortunate, I know we are all anxious to see our friends and families and begin our summer long projects, scrap booking.
-Laura J.

Although the countless pictures that we took, and the souvenirs that we bought will always remind me of this once in a lifetime trip, it will be the memories that I have made that will keep the magic of our “European Tour” alive. I found enjoyment in the simple things that made each country charming in its own way. While in Prague, I enjoyed the cranberry flavored hard candies that were at the concierge desk that Alyssa H., Danielle, and I stole 3 times a day, and the shoebox-sized elevator that we had to squeeze into every time we traveled to and from each floor of the hotel. I’ll also never forget when Danielle and I wore our pajamas to breakfast and when everyone stared because we didn’t realize that “isn’t what you do in Europe.” In Vienna, I’ll never forget when we first arrived and my mom, Nanny, and I got stuck in the elevator because we didn’t know that you had to use the room key to make it go upstairs. I also won’t forget yelling “Weiner Schnitzel” on the top of the oldest Ferris wheel in the world with our coaches. While in Munich, I enjoyed all of the cultural things that we did (like the Hofbrauhaus, meandering about in the crowded town square trying different chocolates) and the bus tour. However, what I found most memorable was when we stayed up until we “have come to the end; it is time to put out the lights,” as the concierge said while simultaneously kicking us (Coach Sara, Coach Endler, some of my other teammates and I) out of the hotel lobby when it was well past its 1am closing time. Throughout our seemingly short time in Europe, it was these situations that enjoyed- getting closer to everyone while in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. While I could go on for ages about playing against European teams, trading t-shirts, and learning things I never knew before, I will end in saying that this experience has been more than I could ever have expected, and it was way more than I could ever ask for in a trip. We captured memories to last a lifetime and I am grateful for the unique and friendly people we met, and of course, for my teammates, coaches, and family members that made this trip all that it was!

Greetings folks, it has been an amazing trip to Europe these past 10 days! It’s very disappointing to see it come to an end so fast. This trip has been an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life! The trip has been fulfilled with so many long-lasting memories that I will certainly cherish forever! Between visiting the Old City and the Charles Bridge in Prague, riding on the world’s oldest Ferris Wheel and dancing to folk music in Vienna, and visiting the concentration camp in Munich, I can’t even decide which country and memory would be my favorite. Everything was so much fun and a memory that will last with me forever! We were able to experience the different cultures and traditions throughout Europe that were all very unique and interesting, such as the food and learning different languages and currency between countries. Given the opportunity to play against foreign teams was a great experience as well for our team! The teams that we played were quite comical and very friendly and it was great to talk and exchange t-shirts with them! Although I did not win in playing a competitive game of Rummy 500 in the airport, this trip has brought our team closer and gave us the opportunity of a lifetime to learn and communicate with teams and people in Europe and I am so grateful for this fantastic opportunity!
-Yours truly, Alyssa H.

Hi Everyone! Our trip to Europe has been an amazing adventure and it is hard to believe it is already over. The trip is full of memories that I will remember for a long time. We started out in Prague where we visited the old city, then headed to Vienna where we rode the oldest ferris wheel. We ended our trip in Munich and visited the Dachau concentration camp. We played teams in all the countries and we learned a lot about each other. We were able to experience different cultures throughout those three countries. This trip has brought the team closer together and has allowed us to learn about the different cultures of the people in Europe. Although the trip is over I look forward to seeing my friends and family. I want to thank everyone who made this trip possible for us!
~Caitlin Hrebik

Now that we are back in the states and I think about our trip to Europe, words cannot even begin to describe my experience. The group of people I traveled with made it incredibly fun. The players, coaches, and parents, were all terrific. From team dinners to hanging out in the lobby, I enjoyed everyone's company for the past ten days. What made this trip special for me was getting an early glimpse at next year's team. They really gelled on and off the court. During games against the European teams, we had a variety of people emerge and contribute to our success. Our play against the team from Munich was outstanding and we were able to hold onto a four-point lead for the victory. The team definitely has a lot of potential and will be fun to watch next season. Off the court, there was singing, dancing, chanting, and constant laughter throughout the trip. I am really excited for what is to come as this group of girls continues to grow and develop as basketball players and as people.
Another really important part of this experience was having the opportunity to interact with our opponents after the games. Although I am a little jealous that I was not able to trade a t-shirt like most of the girls did, it was still a great sight to see our girls talking to the other players. The team from the Czech Republic National team did not understand or speak English but that did not stop our girls from trying to communicate and then teaching them how to take goofy pictures. Luckily, the Austrian team all spoke English and I think some of our girls are already facebook friends with them.
At dinner last night, we were talking about our three favorite parts of the trip. I gave an answer but each time I think about that question my top three changes. The sights were all so beautiful and really allowed me to experience different cultures. The Old Town in Prague was a great place to walk around and appreciate the detail put into the ancient architecture. I did have a slight scare when I thought I got pick pocketed by a ghost but other than that, seeing the John Lennon Wall and crossing the Charles Bridge were awesome sights as well. Vienna was also a gorgeous city to walk around but I really enjoyed riding the world's oldest Ferris wheel and the swings (which are in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the tallest ride of its kind). The folk music and dancing at the Hofbrauhaus gave us a taste of traditional Bavarian entertainment, which was one of the many things I was looking forward to prior to the trip. Seeing Dachau Concentration Camp was very moving and educational.
We made it home safely after a very long day of travel. Other than I thought I lost my boarding pass and we almost had to send Ally back to Europe because she got hunted down by a beagle puppy for illegally smuggling a kiwi into the country (well actually she just totally forgot it was in the bottom of her bag) everything went smoothly. Luckily, I found my ticket hidden in a book, Ally got cleared to pass through customs, and the beagle puppy got doggy points and treats for its good work on the job. This has definitely been a trip of a lifetime and I will have memories and stories that will stay with me forever.
-Coach Sara

It is hard to believe that our ten-day European adventure has come to an end. All the planning, preparation, and anticipation, have been replaced with memories, souvenirs, and hundreds of photos! This was my third European trip with the Moravian Women’s Basketball team and I must say it did not disappoint. The entire trip pretty much went off without a hitch (not counting those massive traffic jams), but they were not our fault. The teams we played were very good and so friendly that they each hosted a post-game meal for us, which is something that did not happen on the previous trips. One of the things I liked best about the trip was we were able to experience three decidedly different cultures in such a short time. Prague had such an old world charm that has quickly become the hotbed for tourists from other parts of Europe and around the world. Vienna was very clean and had several areas of green space within the city limits. It is a city of music and art and the people are friendly. Munich is a metropolitan city with rich heritage and pride for the Bavarian way of life. Eighty percent of the city was destroyed during WWII, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the buildings. On this trip I enjoyed watching the players interact with each other and get so excited over every new sight or stop, even when they picked their new roommates while driving on the bus to our next destination. If you have been following us on our blog, (and since you are reading this, then I guess you have), you can tell how much the players enjoyed and got out of this trip. Some of the highlights from my point of view were: riding the tram in Prague for free, the city view from the castle in Prague, riding the world’s tallest swings in Vienna, playing the game outside Vienna with their fans beating a drum and blowing a horn the entire game, seeing the interaction between our team and the Austrian team after the game, the view of Munich from the bell tower of St. Peter’s, beating TS Jahn Munich in our last game, and seeing the Glockenspiel in action. One last highlight had to be when my first cousin Frank, his wife and 5 children came to see our game in Munich. Since he lives in Europe, I have never met his family. It was great to see him and see his kids get a kick out of the game. I think we gained some fans that day, or better yet future basketball players! I could go on, but I think you get the point. It was a wonderful trip that everyone who went will remember for the rest of their lives. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible and so enjoyable. I can’t wait for our next overseas excursion. Until then, Auf Wiedersehen!
-Coach Endler

It was laughter and smiles that I enjoyed the most from this trip. I heard so much laughter and saw so many smiles that it always made me smile throughout the entire trip. In fact I am still smiling thinking of the fun we all had. The players were great, on and off the court. My assistants were even better. Our fans that made the trip, family and friends, were fantastic and added so much to our experience. The tour manager and bus driver were terrific.
I cannot add much more from what all the players and coaches said. I enjoyed everyone and everything about this trip. All I know is that this team bonded and I hope what we learned and experienced in Europe will carry over into the 2011-12 season.
Thank you to all who helped made this trip possible. We are all grateful. I look forward to October 15th and the start of another adventure with this team!
-Coach Spirk

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Friday!!

Our last day in Europe is going by all too fast. We started the day at Dachau Concentration Camp, which is located north of Munich. With two hours to spend walking around the grounds of the first concentration camp ever built, everything I learned in history class about the holocaust came to life. Although it was extremely sad to see the barracks, the crematorium, gas chambers, and tons of memorials for fallen prisoners it was such an eye opening experience. I found the visit to the camp not only educational but very moving as well. Then we headed into the city center of Munich where we had the entire afternoon to eat, shop, and enjoy the sights. The streets were packed with pedestrians and it took us about an hour to find a restaurant with an open table. We finally settled down for an authentic German meal. Unfortunately, we could not understand the menu and our waitress did not speak English. We took a guess, with some guidance from our neighbors (who also spoke very limited English), and luckily we were all satisfied with our meals. I was able to have bratwurst, which was a goal of mine, along with trying weiner schnitzel in Vienna. Besides for trying the local cuisine of each city, I really wanted to find a nice lederhosen to bring back to the states. I definitely found plenty but it would’ve cost me 200 euro (which is equivalent to about $300). Instead, I settled on a t-shirt and then picked up a few last minute souvenirs for friends and family. A majority of the girls found their way to a local bakery to pick up some German chocolate. After watching the glockenspiel at 5pm we headed to the bus and departed back to our hotel. We are going to a restaurant down the street to have one final group meal before our trip ends. I am looking forward to our final evening in Europe and hoping I can add a few more memories.

I just wanted to thank everyone that helped make this trip possible, not only for me, but for our entire team. The girls seem to be having the times of their lives and will definitely have plenty of stories to share.

-Coach Sara

Game 3 from Munich

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We had a pretty good day leading up to our 3rd and final game on our European tour! We toured the city , by bus and foot and then headed for our game in the late afternoon.
My goal for this trip, besides having the opportunity to visit Europe and have fun, was to get a little bit better every game and prepare for the 2011-12 season. Our effort tonight proved we reached our goal.
Our contact was Bill Bessoir, whose father coached at Scranton for many years. Bill played at Scranton, as well as in Europe. Bill currently works and coaches in Munich and was a great well as his 2 children.
The gym was only a few minutes away and for the first time on the trip we did not have to drive far to the game and/or sit in traffic!! Pre-game was fantastic as the players from both teams exchanged gifts and we took many pictures with the team as well.
We played four 12 minute quarters, which worked to our advantage, as they started with only 8, one got hurt, so our 13 wore their 7 out!! They were very skilled and athletic, but our depth wore them down. We played a lot of different combinations and ran many players in and out throughout the game.
We started slow, as they took the lead, probably never more than 6 to 8 points, but we kept with them, not allowing them to pull away. Once we settled in a bit, we took the lead in the 2nd half, and were up big ( 10 or 12 at one point). The Munich team came back strong as well to cut it to 2, but we stay focused and won by 5...I think it was 93-87. (It has been a long trip and getting the exact score is not a top priority!! Getting the time of departure for our sightseeing day tomorrrow, making sure everyone is on time and securing a team dinner for tomorrow, keeps me occupied!)
I saw a lot of good things again. Ally and Hilary played well again, showing me they have matured on and off the court. Katie O. and M. made key plays down the stretch. Our running game was strong, we finished most fast break opportunities and we saw some good things as we played better defense on and off the ball.
Everyone stepped up and made some great contributions throughout the game. Once October rolls around, I suspect this trip will pay off quite nicely in terms of team bonding and team chemistry.
The team from Munich was better than the Austrian team, but not quite as good as the Czech team. The Czech's are tier 1, Munich's team is a tier 2 and Austria is tier 3. It was an evenly matched game and we were fortunate to hang on and pull out a W!!
We went 2-1 on the trip. I would consider it a success form a basketball point of reference and I think it is obvious from the other reports, that it was a success from a non-basketball prespective!!
I look forward to our last day in Munich tomorrow and will be anxious to all my friends and family back home.
Guten Tag. Coach Spirk


Munich day 2

Gutentag Blog Followers,
Our second day in Munich began rather early after a long night of playing cards. We enjoyed breakfast as a group in the hotel lobby restaurant. Our agenda today began with a tour, amidst the light drizzle of rain. The majority of the group was under-dressed, wearing shorts while everyone else in Munich was wearing pants and winter jackets (The high temperature was forecasted to be in the 70s). We began our tour, with Alex the tour guide, at the Schloss Nymphenburg palace; while some shopped in the gift store, a few players made a quick stop at the bathroom. Alyssa H. confused "damen" with "herren" and found herself wandering into the men's bathroom; Katie O. saved her from complete embarrassment by pulling her out of that situation. From the palace, we boarded the bus and traveled to Olympia Park and to the BMW Welt (World). Coach Spirk and some players enjoyed sitting in the BMW cars in the showroom. From that quick stop, we once again boarded the bus en route to Max-Joseph Platz. We then walked to the town square where the new town hall building is located, with the Glockenspiel. We enjoyed the band that was playing music in the square, in honor of Ascension Thursday. From here, some decided to take a trek up the St. Peter's church bell tower. There was a total of 350 steps, but the view from the top was worth the pain that we felt. After climbing back down the narrow staircase, some went into the church to see the beautiful gold altar and the statues surrounding it. From there our tour with Alex came to an end. Groups parted ways to enjoy lunch at the local restaurants. Both groups enjoyed frankfurters, veal sausages, and traditional Bavarian food. After lunch, the groups met back in front of the Max-Joseph Platz Opera House. The players, coaches, and families are now all resting up for our game tonight. We are very excited to meet this team and enjoy dinner with them after the game. Well, we better go get ready for the game and someone will let you know how the game went later! Til next time greyhound fans....

Alyssa B. and Hilary


Vienna to Munich

Day seven began on time as the Lady Greyhound contingent loaded the bus at the hotel in Vienna for our 5 hour trip to Munich. While the thought of spending 5 hours on the bus was not something we wanted to do, the anticipation of seeing the Alps and arriving at Munich helped us along the way. As we made our way southwest through Austria we enjoyed the scenery and spent the time talking, reading and the occasional nap. We stopped at at great roadside "Rastation" that overlooked the "moon lake" at the foothills of the Alps. It certainly was not your typical reststop you would see on the turnpike, no fast food here. Some of us enjoyed Belgium waffles with fresh strawberries and ice cream, while others had salads, pizza, and goulash. We took some photos by the picturesque lake and hopped on the bus ready for the final 2 hours of the drive to Munich. We crossed the boarder into Germany and was now on the Autobahn, where there is no speed limit. Unfortunately, the bus has a limit and can only go 100 kilometers an hour. We were sailing along and as luck would have it we found ourselves in our third traffic jam in three countries. The Autobahn was like a parking lot. Our driver Chris tried to take back roads to bypass the accident but it seemed as if every German had the same idea. The back roads were even worse. We made our way back to the Autobahn and the traffic was moving. We had a reservation to keep at the Hofbrauhaus. Eight and a half hours later we pulled into our hotel with 45 minutes to spare. We hustled to our rooms and changed quickly to head to the Hofbrauhaus. The place was huge and pretty crowded. The restaurant has four floors and can hold 4000 people. A quartet entertained us throughout dinner with several dancers coming onto the stage at different times. We all had a great time, especially at the end of the evening when the team was able to get up on stage and get a photo with the band members. Coach Sara even did a little jig on stage. Even though we spent most of the day sitting on the bus, it was great spending time with everyone and experiencing the countryside of Austria and Germany. Tomorrow we will tour Munich and play our final game against a 2 tier German team. I am off to play card games with the girls. Auf Wiedersehen!
Coach Endler


Basketball in Austria

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


It is 2am here in Vienna and I am packing as we leave for Munich tomorrow morning. We had 2 great days in Vienna and we move on to our next venture!

I wanted to update everyone on the games, since we have not told you all exactly what happened in them!

Our first game in Prague was against the Under 18 Junior National Team. We scrimmaged them first on Saturday, and then played a “regular” game on Sunday. I knew they were going to be pretty good, but was not quite prepared for the level of play. They beat us soundly; lets just say it was over 20 points! They were all business. A squad of 10 and all 10 able to handle the ball, shoot and most of all run the court. They were better than any team we will see in our conference, on our schedule for next year and probably in all of Division III. They actually had a practice after our game! They were good! Physical and fast, no smiling and all loose balls were scrums that were played out till someone ripped the ball out of the tangle. (No worries, Dan, no technical, but the refs never called a jump ball and there were about 15 to 20 tie-ups!)

We played hard, but were over matched. We saw some good things from a lot of players. A few of the young players did some good things: Laura Casey, Caitlin Hrebik, Ericka Blair and Danielle Brogan all performed at a high level at different times in the game. I think it was a tough way to open up here in Europe, but we fought and can only help us for the future.

Our second game against the club team outside of Vienna was much different than the Czech team. Their coach was from Chicago and all the players could speak English. They were friendly from the start and it was obvious their skill was not nearly as good as the Czech team. We came out aggressive from the start (we obviously felt more comfortable after getting our feet wet with the European style of play). We won handily, by 40 points or so.

Ally Blair and Hilary Murray really stepped up their game and showed off their senior leadership. Ally’s size and strength dominated inside and Hilary made some spectacular passes all night. Amanda Kreuder made some nice plays going to the basket, while Alyssa B. and H. both got into the scoring column and were hustling all over the court. Laura Jordan bounced back from a tough game against the Czech’s and got some nice scores inside off some great looks from the guards. Katie O. was all over the court and made her lay-ups going hard to the basket, which will mean trouble for our opponent’s back in the States!!

Our fast break was in full gear (one of the highlights was a steal and a break with Danielle going behind her back to beat the defender and laying in up for a great score!) and our defense caused a lot of turnovers. We shot the ball well and in general played more aggressive. Katie M. played well in both games as she played with no fear, and our newest addition, Sarah L. has gotten her feet wet quickly being thrown into the fire immediately! This will only help in Sarah’s improvement and adjustment to the team.

Coach Sara and Coach Endler have been outstanding all trip…except for a few cases of forgetfulness. They are invaluable to our success here! And of course, Christa D. has embraced her new position as manager like she has been doing it for years!!

I am looking forward to the Munich game and hopefully improving our play even

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Vienna Day 2

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guten tag from Vienna! It was heartbreaking to leave Prague behind but Vienna has not disappointed us. We began the day with a filling breakfast and then hopped on the bus towards the breathtaking city of Vienna. Our friendly tour guide, Bettina, kept everyone engaged and informed about some of Vienna’s history and culture. We learned that Hitler applied to a school in the city but was declined twice because he lacked talent. Others like Sigmund Freud were forced to leave the city because their views were considered controversial. On our tour, we saw monuments dedicated to Mozart and the apartment Beethoven lived in for the majority of the 19th century. Our first stop was the Belvidere Palace. Even though we couldn’t go inside, the views from outside made for great pictures. We finally arrived at Schonbrunn Palace where Maria Therese, mother of Marie Antoinette, lived. Here, we were fortunate enough to take a walking tour through the inside of the palace filled with elegant and ornate décor and tradition. We spent some time in the palace gardens and enjoyed the beautiful flowers and scenery. After we left the palace grounds, we headed into the inner city of Vienna and strolled through the town. The streets were lined with cafes and shops, so it was nice to do some walking, shopping, and eating. After spending a few hours downtown, we took the metro back to our hotel to get ready for the game and spend some time in the amusement park across the street from the hotel. Most of us rode rides, including the swings that are considered the tallest ride of it’s kind in the world, and is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records. After some traffic, we finally got to the sports complex and won our game 86-44. Afterwards, we traded t-shirts with the other team, exchanged names and email addresses, and joined them for dinner nearby. They were very welcoming and spoke terrific English. On the way home tonight the coaches and parents challenged the team to a sing-off. Some of the highlights included “Lean on Me,” “Build me up Buttercup,” and of course a few songs by Taylor Swift. Needless to say, the players won the battle. Tomorrow we say auf wiedersehen to the exquisite city of Vienna and head to Munich for the remainder of our trip!

Ally Blair and Laura Jordan