As school lets out many USciences student-athletes set out on different endeavors throughout the summer months. For Devils Volleyball standout Rhiannon Comia, a trip abroad to the Netherlands as part of the USA Athletes International program allowed her a once in a lifetime experience.
Throughout the trip, students are asked to keep a journal and reflect on the things that stand out to them or will help them remember this experience in the future.
Here are a few excerpts from the student journals:
This summer I was able to have the opportunity with USA Athletes International in the Netherlands. This was a 9-day trip where I had the chance to explore the amazing country and play international volleyball team. The team that I was a part of consisted of 7 girls from all over the country in different divisions and universities, such as Fordham University and Clarion University of Pennsylvania. The coach was Christopher Feliciano from Rider University. We traveled with another women's team and a men's team. The trip started and ended in the city of Amsterdam. The city itself is beautiful with canals, bridges, brick buildings, and a lot of bicycles.
Throughout the trip, we were able to explore Amsterdam, Utrecht, Bentheim in Germany, and Groningen. Some of my favorite places were the cheese and wooden shoe making shop, the Bentheim castle, and Kamp Amersfoort. I got to taste traditional Dutch food, such as bitterballen (aka Thanksgiving in a fried ball shape) and stroopwafels.
As for volleyball, competition in the Netherlands is tough. We played 3 practice games and the DKV tournament on the weekend. For one of the three practice games, we versed the #2 team in the Netherlands and it was the best game we played as a team. One of the differences in playing overseas is the weight of the ball. Every time we played a different team the ball would be lighter and lighter. This made it difficult because it was sensitive to the touch, so we had to have perfect technique to make the ball go where we wanted it to. The team had a great time playing with each other and the coach provided us with helpful tips to keep us in the game and win points.
Overall, this was an incredible experience that I am so thankful that I could be a part of. The skills that I have developed will be used in my last two years as a USciences athlete. The bonds that were made and the memories that I shared with all the athletes will never be lost. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and helped me get to this position.