Stanford Embarks On European Trip To Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia

June 12, 2006

Stanford, Ca - It was back in 1999 that Stanford head women's volleyball coach John Dunning, then the head coach at Pacific, took his Tiger team on a summer tour of Europe.

The trip turned out to be one of the best things he has ever done during his coaching career.

'It was a great educational experience,' said Dunning, who will be entering his sixth season at Stanford in the fall of 2006. 'We saw a terrific part of of the world, played several excellent teams and met some great people. It was a great experience to watch these young student-athletes enjoy the trip.'

Every four years, the NCAA allows a collegiate team to tour foreign countries during the summer, and on Wednesday night (June 14), the Cardinal women's volleyball team, the coaching staff, and support staff, will board a Lufthansa jetliner to fly from San Francisco to Rome, Italy to begin a 14-day trip that will include tours of several European cities including Rome, Italy; Maribor, Slovenia; Vienna, Austria; and Prague, the Czech Republic.

The team will play seven matches including matches against the Italian Junior National team in Nocera Umbra, the Croatian Junior National team in Slovenia, the Slovenian National team, and the Czech Junior National team in Prague. It is the first time in school history that the Cardinal women's volleyball team will be traveling to Europe for a summer tour.

'The excitement has grown since we started this project ten months ago,' said Dunning. 'At that time there were people who really thought they didn't want to go. Now everyone is talking about how excited they are. We will sight see, go to many great places, and meet great people. We will be together a lot, and play some really good teams.'

The first three days of the trip will include sightseeing in Rome along with playing two matches against Italian club teams. The team will then depart for Nocera Umbra, Italy, and Ravenna for two more matches.

After a day of sightseeing in Venice, the Cardinal team will travel to Maribor, Slovenia, and stay three days to tour the area and play two matches.

The next destination will be Vienna, Austria, and then to Prague, the Czech Republic. where the team will finish its seven match schedule against the Czech Junior National team.

The two-week trip will end on June 27 when the team flies home to the United States from Prague.

'Where else can you just go, and win or lose, just learn so much,' said Dunning. 'We have some players who will benefit by the competition. We have grown tremendously this past winter and spring (off-season workouts). Now we can put our efforts on the court (during the European trip) before we actually do it in the fall. This is a great educational experience and we will try to go on a foreign tour every four years.'

Stanford returns ten letter winners from a nationally-ranked team that chalked up a 26-6 record and a 25th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The list of returning players includes All-Americans Kristin Richards, Bryn Kehoe and Foluke Akinradewo.

'To be given the experience to travel abroad to Europe to both play and sight see with the people I love most is something that, I am sure, will be unforgettable,' said Richards.

Stanford will chronicle its trip each day with reports from several players including photos on www.gostanford.com

Stanford's Women's Volleyball Trip to Europe
June 14 - Depart the United States for Rome, Italy
June 15 - Arrive in Rome, Italy from Munich, Germany
June 16 - Sighseeing in Rome; Match vs Lido di Ostia
June 17 - Sightseeing in Rome; Match vs AS Fidia Roma
June 18 - Depart for Nocera Umbra, Italy; Match vs Italian Junior National Team
June 19 - Leave for Ravenna; Match vs Teodora Ravenna
June 20 - Depart for Maribor, Slovenia; Lunch and sightseeing in Venice, Italy; arrive that evening in Maribor
June 21 - Sightseeing in Maribor, Slovenia; Match vs the Croatian Junior National Team
June 22 - Match vs Slovenian National Team in Maribor, Slovenia
June 23 - Leave for Vienna, Austria; Sighseeing in Vienna that afternoon and evening
June 24 - Leave for Prague, the Czech Republic; sightseeing in Prague
June 25 - All day sightseeing in Prague
June 26 - Match vs Czech Junior National Team
June 27 - Depart Prague for the United States

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