West Virginian Mountaineers Finish International Tour With 5-1 Record

  0 Nathan Davis | May 24th, 2017 | Big 12, College - Women's Indoor

The West Virginia Mountaineers women’s volleyball team has been competing in Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia this May as part of their International Tour. The team competed against national teams along with professional teams, with the most noticeable team being the Slovenian U18 National Team; this same U18 team just recently qualified for the World Championships in Argentina.

Head Coach Reed Sunahara showed much excitement about this international exposure for his team, “This is a great opportunity for our program and we are incredibly thankful for the school and our supporters for making this a possibility. This will be a great learning experience for our players. We’re looking forward to playing, taking in the sights and learning about these cultures. This is a great way to showcase our program on the international level and will only help us grow.”

Unet Yamamay Busto Arsizio – Busto Arisizio, Italy

The WVU Mountaineers took on Unet Yamamay Busto Arsizio and were able to pull out a 3-2 victory; 16-25, 25-21, 25-23, 20-25, 17-15.

The Mountaineers were led by freshman outside hitter Payton Caffrey with 20 kills, followed by junior middle blocker Mia Swanegan who hit a team-best .540% and also led the team in blocking. Freshman defensive specialist Gabrielle Cuckovich tallied five service aces for the Mountaineers.

Head Coach Reed Sunahara was proud of the way his team competed, “This was a great opportunity for our program, playing a team of this caliber and getting international experience is something that will only help our program get better.”

Croatian U18 National Team – Maribor, Slovenia

The Mountaineers took on the Croatian U18 National Team and played to a 1-3 loss; 14-25, 20-25, 25-11, 21-25. “I think we can take away a lot from tonight’s match. This is an incredibly experienced team. We can only get better by playing teams of this caliber, and I’m glad it’s something we got a change to experience.” said head coach Sunahara.

Freshman opposite hitter/middle blocker Natania Levak, who previously competed for the Croatian national team, led the Mountaineers with nine kills and five blocks. Junior libero Gianna Gotterba led the defensive effort with a team-high 20 digs, while junior defensive specialist Taylor Cross tallied four aces.

Austrian National Team – Maribor, Slovenia

The Mountaineers were able to bounce back from their previous loss to claim a 3-1 victory over the Austrian National Team; 25-18, 27-25, 32-34, 25-20.

Peyton Caffrey once again led the Mountaineers with 17 kills and 14 digs, both were team-highs. Gianna Gotterba and Taylor Cross controlled the back-court for WVU as they would finish with 14 and 13 digs, respectively. Natania Levak contributed five blocks. The Mountaineers served tough and accumulated five service aces as a team.

Head coach Sunhara was proud of his team’s ability to rebound quickly, “This tour is all about gaining experience. I think we rebounded well from yesterday and did some nice things today. Austria is another team with great-international experience. Playing these games has certainly helped us learn some valuable lessons.”

Slovenian Junior National Team – Skofja Loka, Slovenia

The Mountaineers continued their winning ways with a 3-0 sweep over the Slovenian Junior National Team; 25-14, 25-21, 25-16.

Head coach Sunhara had high praise for his team’s opponent, “Slovenia may be young, but it’s an incredibly talented team. They qualified for the World Championships in Argentine in September, so we can learn a lot from this experience.”

Peyton Caffrey led the Mountaineers with 12 kills, a team-best, and five digs. Mia Swanegan had a team-high five blocks, while freshman setter Erin Slinde finished with two service aces. Taylor Cross and Gianna Gotterba each finished with six digs to lead the defense for WVU.

OK Pore – Porec, Croatia

The WVU Mountaineers took on OK Porec and were able to come back and win 3-1; 26-28, 25-10, 25-20, 25-19. “I think that it’s great that we got the chance to play in front of Natania’s friends and family. We’ll play in her hometown tomorrow, which is exciting for all of us. I know our team has enjoyed watching her experience what many of them take for granted – seeing their families at matches.” remarked head coach Sunhara.

Payton Caffrey had a team-high 12 kills while Natania Levak followed closely with 10 kills. Levak also led the team in blocks, finishing with three. The defensive effort was led by Taylor Cross with 11 digs, and Erin Slinde contributed a team-high six service aces.

ZOK Pazin – Pazin, Croatia

The WVU Mountaineers ended their international tour with a three set sweep over ZOK Pazin; 25-14, 25-22, 25-14. Head coach Sunhara was thoroughly pleased with the teams international debut, “I’m glad we got the chance to meet Natania’s family and play in her hometown. This was a great experience for all of us and a great way to finish off our trip. We’re incredibly thankful for everyone who made this possibility into a reality. This was a great opportunity for our program, and a learning experience for our players. They took advantage of the change to learn new cultures and try new things. I’m proud of them for that.”

Freshman outside hitter Katelyn Evans led the Mountaineers with 10 kills. Peyton Caffrey and Mia Swanegan each contributed seven kills, while Taylor Cross added two service aces. The defensive effort was led by Gianna Gotterba with 10 digs. Swanegan had a team-high five blocks.



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About Nathan Davis

Nathan Davis

Nathan Davis has been around volleyball his whole life. His senior year of high school he coached his own girl's high school volleyball team to a 27-6-1 record and a fourth place finish at the state tournament. He then went on to compete at the collegiate level for two years …

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