Wittenberg’s volleyball team, which has dominated the NCAC and most of the teams in the Great Lakes Region of NCAA Division III for years, sought out new competition in May.
Eight current Tiger players, five alumni and Head Coach Paco Labrador flew to Barcelona, Spain, May 24, and played a total of five matches against provincial semi-professional and pro club teams in Barcelona, Madrid and surrounding communities through June 4.
The team won three of the five matches, led by senior All-Americans Sarah Yuskewich, Monica McDonald, Emilie Schmid and Kristin Fox.
Between matches, they visited several famed Spanish sites, including Toledo and Segovia, and attended Olympic qualifying men’s volleyball matches among national teams from Cuba, Spain and The Netherlands.
“We have shared a great deal on the volleyball court, and this was an opportunity to share my heritage with them,” said Labrador, whose parents hail from Cifuentes, Spain.
“They didn’t just go there seeking out a volleyball court and a McDonald’s. They took advantage of the opportunity by trying new foods, learning about a new culture and even attempting to communicate in the native language,” he added.
“They also showed great enthusiasm and maturity.”
Labrador said he plans to make summer trips abroad a “tradition” for the program.
“I plan to make it a regular practice that anyone who plays four years in our program gets the opportunity to go overseas to experience another culture and play competitively.”