A two-week trip to Europe for many is the trip of a lifetime.
And the Seminole Boosters wanted to make sure that the Florida State volleyball team had the chance to not only make those memories but also prepare them for the upcoming season. A group of volleyball supporters contributed to the $80,000 cost to send players and coaches to Italy, Slovenia and Austria from June 22-July 2.
“We really appreciate all of the boosters and fans that contributed to our trip to Europe,” volleyball coach Chris Poole said. “We had an amazing experience. One of the most positive aspects of it was being able to have the additional practices and matches in the summer.
“In a year where we had so many new players trying to acclimate themselves to a new team and a new program, whether they were freshmen or transfers or ones that redshirted last year, this trip was very helpful for us and we saw the benefits of that as we headed into August for preseason.”
FSU was able to play in five exhibition matches against club and federation teams. Those matches, as well as sightseeing excursions, were part of a two-week bonding experience that has proven invaluable.
The Seminoles are again one of the top teams in the ACC, posting a 17-8 record. And the camaraderie as well as extra playing time provided this summer in Europe sparked their success this fall.
“It definitely helped with chemistry,” Caffrey said. “We formed that bond with each other. We’re like sisters.”
Among those who contributed were Kevin Pfeiffer and Dr. Mark Chin-Lenn, who have been longtime contributors to the volleyball program. Their names are on the scoreboard at Tully Gym and they have been frequent visitors at volleyball matches as well as football, soccer and softball games.
“We have always been volleyball fans,” Chin-Lenn said. “As it so happened four or five years ago we were looking for other things to do around the football games. We started going to the volleyball games because I went to them when I was in school there. We got to know the players and how good they were.
“When the opportunity came up to send the players to Europe, we saw it as a bonding experience. We wanted to make sure that we gave them the opportunity as best we could.”
That opportunity has created memories of a trip that will last a lifetime.
“We got to meet and play teams from many different places, including Switzerland and Norway and Italy and more, so it made it really nice to see the different styles of play,” Poole said. “We went out to eat with several of the teams, so we were able to visit with the coaches and players and it was a great cultural experience for everyone.
“It was an eye-opener, as many of the girls had never been out of their little shell of the United States.”