O'Donnell and Oliver's European Blog
Maddy O'Donnell and Kaitlyn Oiver in Graz, Austria.

The blog is listed in reverse chronological order with newest post on top. 

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Final Installment
By Maddy O'Donnell
Jr. | OPP/MB | Irvine, Calif.
Monday, July 20

We took third place in the Global Challenge. On the last day of the playoffs Thursday (July 16), we played the USA Junior National Team. We played them tough but lost in three sets. BIP Midwest, another USA team, had the same record as us at that point so we played a best out of three match with them for third and fourth place. We beat them in two sets and took the Bronze medal! We played really hard all four days of the tournament and I'm very proud of where we finished in playoffs.

The final was at 7p.m. and ended with the USA junior national team beating Italy in five sets. It was a really fun game to watch. Following the championship game were closing ceremonies. Every team that participated was announced and the top three of each age group was recognized and given their medals.

Early Friday (July 17) morning we left for Italy. The drive was about four hours. Once we got there we checked into the hotel and quickly freshened up for the day. We spent the afternoon and evening in Venice. We took a water taxi into San Marco, where we toured the square and did some shopping and sightseeing. We had dinner at a fun Italian restaurant and got Gelato on our way back to the buses. Venice was beautiful and a great end to the trip!

Oliver and I had a blast on this trip. The team was awesome and both coaches, Jeff and Marc, made it really fun. I enjoyed competing against the best junior national teams in the world and all the fun activities we did in our free time. This is an experience that I'll remember forever! I am so grateful for the opportunity to represent Boise State Volleyball as well as the Mountain West.

Installment No. 8
By Maddy O'Donnell
Jr. | OPP/MB | Irvine, Calif.
Wednesday, July 15

This morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then walked down the street to the gym. We played Hungary again and beat them in three.

We had lunch and relaxed back at the hotel until our game at 5 p.m. against a Slovenian team. We won in three again. This advances us to the semifinals.

We will compete against the USA Junior National Team tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. If we win, we will be in the finals at 7 p.m. It's such a cool opportunity to play our own junior national team and we are hoping to come together and beat them. Tune in and watch the game live streamed at 12:30 a.m. Mountain time!

Installment No. 7
By Kaitlyn Oliver
R-So. | MB | Helena, Mont.
Tuesday, July 14

Today we had breakfast at the hotel and then walked to the gym for our first match at 11:30 a.m. We played Israel and won 2-1 (who we lost to earlier in the trip), advancing our overall record to 3-0.

Afterwards, we stopped by the market and grabbed snacks, then came back to the hotel and relaxed during our downtime. Our next game was at 7 p.m. and we played Italy's junior national team (also for the second time). We lost 0-3 in close sets, but weren't able to pull off a win.

This was the end of the pool play portion of the tournament. We ended up seated third and we will play Hungary at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow.

After the game, we walked to a pizza place nearby and had dinner. It was delicious and a nice change from the hotel food. Then we walked back and jumped in the pool to cool off and relax our muscles, so we're ready to go in the morning!

Installment No. 6
By Boise State Sports Information Office
Monday, July 13

Day One at European Global Challenge Recap (PULA, Croatia): Maddy O’Donnell and Kaitlyn Oliver helped the Mountain West All-Stars open the European Global Challenge in solid fashion Monday completing a 2-0 sweep. The MW All-Stars opened with a 3-0 sweep over the Hungarian Junior National Team in the morning, then followed that with their second 3-0 win of the day defeating Club Falconara from Italy in the evening.

Oliver tied for the team-high in points in the victory against Hungary recording eight points on five kills, two aces and one block. O’Donnell added six points, third most on team, on three kills, one service ace and two blocks.

In the second match against Falconara O’Donnell scored five points on three kills and two blocks, while Oliver saw limited action in one set recording one kill.

The MW All-Stars will be back in action Tuesday, July 14, when they face the Israel Senior National Team and the Italian Junior National Team, both teams defeated the MW in exhibitions last week. The All-Stars will look to see how far they have come since their previous meetings against Tuesday’s opponents.

Installment No. 5
By Maddy O'Donnell
Jr. | OPP/MB | Irvine, Calif.
Monday, July 13

Today we woke up and had breakfast and then headed for the gym. We played Hungary at 11:30 a.m. and won all three games. After the game we went to a local market and got sandwiches and snacks.

We relaxed in between games and then went back to the gym for our 7 p.m. match against an Italian team (Falconara). We beat them in three as well. We have been playing great. After the evening match, we headed back to the hotel for dinner and a night swim in the ocean at sunset. It was beautiful!

Installment No. 4
By Maddy O'Donnell
Jr. | OPP/MB | Irvine, Calif.
Saturday, July 11

Today we woke up early, had breakfast at the hotel and then took a day trip to Bled, Slovenia which was about a 2 hour drive. Bled is a cute little lake town with lots of fun restaurants, shops and lake activities. We took a nice walk around part of the lake and rented row boats for an hour and rowed around the lake and saw a beautiful old church and castle.

At 7pm, we played the Italian National Team to conclude our scrimmages in Maribor. They were an older, more experienced team but we played really well and scored at least 20 points in three of the four games we played. Italy is the No. 1 ranked team in the European Global Challenge, so we are hoping to improve a few things and beat them in the finals on Thursday.

After the game, we had dinner at the hotel and hung out as a team in our rooms. We are all packed up and ready to leave Maribor tomorrow morning. All of the American teams will be on one big bus tomorrow on our road trip to Pula, Croatia. The drive will be about five or six hours depending on traffic. Tomorrow night we will participate in opening ceremonies along with all the other teams competing.

Installment No. 3
By Kaitlyn Oliver
R-So. | MB | Helena, Mont.
Friday, July 10

Day two in Europe was a success. We started the day with breakfast at 7 a.m. and another early practice to follow. We were able to work on specific things that needed improvement from the scrimmage the previous day.

After practice we quickly showered and headed to the mountain outside of our hotel. We all took a ski lift to the top of the mountain where we had lunch waiting for us, and a gorgeous view of Maribor to go along with it. After lunch, our ride down the steep mountain side was by a alpine sled through the thick green forest. We all got strapped onto the plastic sleds, which were connected to a metal railing that zig zagged down the mountain side. One at a time we went down, watching each other whip around the corners and scream down every drop. It was such a thrill and everyone had so much fun, that we decided to do it again. It was just as fun the second time.

After that we headed back to the hotel and got ready for our scrimmage against the Slovenian youth national team. We won the match 3-0 but played the full five-sets for extra practice, we won every game. Afterwards, we had dinner at the hotel and then ended the day with some delicious European gelato! 

Installment No. 2
By Boise State Sports Information Office
Friday, July 10

Slovenia Match Recap (Dras, Austria): The Mountain West All-Stars improved to 1-1 on their trip to Europe winning an exhibition match 5-0 over the Slovenia Junior National Team Friday evening in Dras, Austria. Boise State's Kaitlyn Oliver and Maddy O'Donnell both started the match and played a major role in the victory. Oliver led the team in scoring with 15 points on five kills, five aces and five blocks, while O'Donnell was third on the team in scoring with 12 points on six kills, four aces and two blocks.

Installment No. 1
By Maddy O'Donnell
Jr. | OPP/MB | Irvine, Calif.
Thursday, July 9

The set up for the first segment of our trip is pretty neat. We are staying at the Dras Cenger in Maribor, Slovenia, which is a hotel/fitness center. We have been practicing in the morning and today we had our first scrimmage against the Israel National Team.

We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then headed to the courts and practiced for two hours. Kaitlyn (Oliver) and I are two of four middles on our team. Coaches Jeff (Nelson) and Marc (Swindle) had me playing some right side in practice as well.

Right after our morning training session, we showered up and hopped into two vans with our tour guides and drove to Graz, Austria, which was about 45 minutes away. We were given lunch money and about three hours to wander around, shop, eat and enjoy the city. It was very historic looking with beautiful old buildings and lots of locals. We had lunch at an Italian restaurant where our waitress didn't speak any English so we had to just wing it and go with the flow.

Then we drove back to Maribor and had a short amount of down time until our match at 6 p.m. The Israel National Team was very experienced (most of them in their late 20s). They were big blockers and aggressive attackers. They went up banging balls and passed really well. We lost but learned a lot about what we need to fix for our matches to come.

We have practice tomorrow morning (July 10) and a match against the Slovenian National Team in the evening. We are having a blast and our team is really cool :)

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