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Frantti Opens 2017 with Milestone Mark

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By Tom Shively, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the 26th time in program history, a Penn State Nittany Lions has eclipsed 1,000 career kills. Senior Ali Frantti is the newest addition to the club, reaching the landmark in the second set of last Saturday's final match of the West Virginia Tournament.

Frantti didn't become completely aware of her accomplishment until after the straight set victory was complete.

"I didn't realize I got it until my mom came up to me after the game," Frantti said. "She was like, 'Ali, that was your 1,000th kill', and I was like 'I didn't even know.' It was completely a shock. I had no idea."

Frantti needed only four kills to reach the magic number going into the West Virginia match, picking up her fourth kill on the final point of the second set.

For Penn State head coach Russ Rose, the milestone as an indication of how hard Frantti has worked in her time at Penn State to get to that point.

"What it means to us is that she's been a real steady performer," Ros said. "She was on the floor when we won a national championship when she was a freshman, she has battled some injuries throughout her career and has worked hard, and I'm happy that happened. I didn't know anything about it until I read it because we're really not about those things, but it's certainly a nice earned recognition for a real nice young person."

Rose has mentored some incredible talent in his program throughout his tenure, and he understands part of reaching such an accomplishment is being consistent every day. He even drew some similarities between Frantti's milestone and a few of his accomplishments in his own career.

"When you get certain milestones, those milestones are based on longevity," Rose said. "It's like coaching. If you coach for a long time and you have some success, you're going to win and get some plateaus that you might not get if you were doing something else."

Fellow senior Haleigh Washington knew something was up when she saw signs saying '1,000' in the stands, but she wasn't quite sure what they meant at first.

"The wRECking Crew came out to West Virginia and one of the girls had a poster that said '1,000,'" Washington said. "I was like, 'What are they talking about? Coach wins? Oh, it must be Frantti.' So I kind of got the pick up on Ali Frantti's 1,000th kill, so that was really cool to see and that's how I found out." 

Washington and Frantti were both sophomores when former Nittany Lion Megan Courtney became the 25th Penn State Nittany Lion to tally her 1,000th career kill in 2015. Washington remembers how excited she felt for Courtney and experiencing that again with Frantti.

"I remember being so proud of Megan," Washington said. "It was just awesome to see [Ali] following in that tradition of success and excellence at Penn State. It was obviously amazing."

Keeping with another Penn State tradition, the Nittany Lions stayed focused on the result of the weekend, what was most important to them of course.

"Obviously it's not all about individual awards, but it's pretty cool that I'm one of 26 people," Frantti said. "Most importantly, I'm happy that our team got a 3-0 win this weekend." 

Much like Rose said though, the level of focus during a match isn't met with any sort of thoughts about individual milestones or honors.

"We don't really focus on those kinds of things, we're not in the game thinking, 'Oh, this is what's going on, Ali's going to win this award,'" Washington said. "It's great that it happens, but when it comes down to it, it's about the win. It's about beating West Virginia because we need to beat West Virginia and get out of there. That's the mindset, and that's how you approach every game."

Penn State has already shifted its focus to this weekend, when steep challenges on the road at Texas A&M and against defending national champion Stanford await in Texas. A familiar non-conference opponent, Stanford bested the Nittany Lions last season, but this is a new year and with it, a new opportunity.

"It's always in the back of our heads, obviously, last year that wasn't the way we wanted to end it," Frantti said. "I think we came up short and we didn't perform to our standards. It's a new year, a new team, a new season and a fresh start. We're looking forward to playing them." 

In Rose's mind, Frantti and the seniors helped start the season off in the right direction, but the biggest tests are still ahead, beginning with yet another road test Friday.

"You want to see how your team responds when somebody makes a run against them," Rose said. "We didn't have a lot of that over the weekend. We saw a couple of matches on TV of some other teams that are way further along right now than we are, and it just indicates how much harder everyone has to work to get better if you want to compete at the highest level."

Women's Volleyball Fall Sports Media Day Five

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By Tom Shively, student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Russ Rose, seniors Haleigh Washington and Ali Frantti spoke at Penn State women's volleyball's Wednesday morning Fall Sports Media Day session the Bryce Jordan Center. 

With the start of the season only two days away, check out some important takeaways from the media session.

Senior Leadership
Five of Penn State's seven seniors on the roster were freshmen when the Nittany Lions last claimed their seventh NCAA Championship in 2014, and now they feel it's time to pass on the torch. A renewed sense of urgency has taken over the senior class as they recalled their championship run three years ago and how the seniors on that team helped them to grow. 

"Winning that freshman year, I think the seniors really carried us and took us under their wing," Frantti said. "For our freshmen, sophomores and juniors, we want to win for them. It's an incredible experience and one you'll never forget."

Now upperclassmen, the Nittany Lions understand that they are setting the tone for the team and have to be mature and focused at all times in order for the team to achieve the best results.

"Our freshman year we were on the floor, we were just kind of running around playing volleyball, we didn't know what was happening," Washington said. "Now we have that different responsibility and it's not just playing volleyball, getting to roll around like a carefree freshman." 

Intense Training
The Nittany Lions are consistently at the top of the conference in major offensive and defensive categories, returning most of the heavy hitters this year, accenting the offense as one of Penn State's biggest strengths. 

The mixture of veteran power and young talent is poised to contribute immediately, making for a lineup that is as dangerous as any in the country.

However, the Nittany Lions didn't get to this point without a little pushing from Rose, as he has always believed in finding just the right balance between pushing hard early in preseason training in order to maximize their production when it really matters in the postseason. 

"That's the big question," Rose said. "Do you want to push your team really hard at the risk of making them tougher, or do you just want to have a nice recreational thing and make sure that everyone's happy and healthy and ready to start the season, excited for their new uniforms and new apparel. Obviously, you know which way I lean."

Striving For Consistency
Washington and Frantti are two of the more impactful contributors, not only on the team, but nationally and even as seniors, there are always areas to work on and develop throughout the year. 

While both feel their knowledge of the game and skill set has grown a tremendous amount, there's still some fine-tuning to be done to make sure that they give Penn State the best possible chance to compete for a national championship in 2017. 

"I think your skills are always developing and there's never a thing you are 100 percent set on," Washington said. "You always have something to get better at. My hitting is something I could always get better at, my blocking I could always get better at, there's never one specific thing. So maybe at one practice I'm trying to focus on my serve, but I'm always trying to sharpen every part of my game."

"I want to concentrate on serving aggressively, it's something coach always talks about in our gym," Frantti said. "Being aggressive with our serves is crucial."

Penn State Coaching Community
Penn State Athletics programs have historically experienced tremendous success, especially within the most recent season. A perennially conference and national championship contender, Penn State women's volleyball team is often among yearly highlights both academically and athletically. 

Penn State's unique collection of coaches are largely to commend for the success, and the relationships and openness between each coach allow for an environment in which each one can learn from another.

"All of the teams, players and coaches support each other and feel good about interacting and asking questions," Rose said. "It's not a right to be a college athlete, it's a privilege and I think it's the same thing for coaches as well."

Focusing on What's Ahead
The Nittany Lions routinely preach focusing on one game at a time and not looking too much into the past. With last year in the past, Penn State isn't focusing too much on preseason polls, which slotted the Nittany Lions as the favorite to win the Big Ten. 

"The offseason didn't really change, we worked just as hard as we did after we won the championship our freshman year," Washington said. "Coach likes to say 'don't focus on the past, it's about now'. You work just as hard, win or lose."

The Nittany Lions open up the season on Friday against Tennessee-Martin at 4:30 p.m. as part of the West Virginia Tournament. Penn State closes out the weekend with a pair of Saturday matches against Delaware at 10 a.m. and the Mountaineers at 7 p.m. in Morgantown.

Checking in from Brazil: Day 12-13

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Penn State women's volleyball has officially set out on its 12-day tour of Brazil, marking the fifth Nittany Lion foreign tour in program history. From May 4-16th check in for updates, photos and videos from the team as Penn State tours São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to match up against top talent on the court, while also taking in iconic sights. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the trip.


Hi everyone, it's Kendall White!

It's been a long two days, with the last day in Brazil and a long day of travel home, but we're all back safe and sound.

On our last day in Brazil, we started the morning with a beach training session with a Brazilian beach coach, and of course AD helping out. It was fun to learn the different skills and strategies for beach and have some fun in the sun at the same time!


After the session and some lunch, we all wanted to make the most of the beautiful day before we left for the United States. Some of us should have probably used some sunscreen. It took it a little while to set in so we all packed up our stuff and headed to the buses all packed and ready to go. 

We made one final detour to see the Olympic Village and the area where the Olympic stadiums are in Rio. It was astounding, with magnificent facilities all lined up in a row. It was sad to learn that Brazil has yet to do anything with the beautiful village, as nothing is going on in the stadiums or in the apartments anymore.

It was amazing to see such large buildings and apartments so empty. It was also very eye-opening to know that our idols lived there, in the Olympic village. The place we all strive to be in the future, playing for our country against the best teams in the world.

After the village, we continued to the airport where we made our way onto a 10-hour flight home, getting in some duty-free shopping time before leaving. I don't know about everyone else, but that sunburn did not help me get too comfortable in flight.


It was a long flight but the movies on the mini TVs on the back of the seats helped entertain us until it was time to go to sleep. When we woke up we had arrived at JFK airport in New York. After going through customs and getting our luggage, we had a four-hour bus ride back to State College. 

We had the sweetest couple as our bus drivers, offering us snacks and drinks the whole trip. Half of us decided to sleep on the floor the whole trip and the rest of us contorted our bodies to fit each situation (it was quite entertaining to look at).

By the last hour, we were alive and talking, reminiscing about our trip to Brazil and joking around like always. We finally made it safe and sound to Penn State and although we are so grateful for the amazing trip, it is good to be back home in Happy Valley. 

I for one would have probably never left the country in my life if it hadn't been for this trip. Thank you to everyone who supports us and makes blessings like our foreign trips possible.

Kendall White, #3

Checking in from Brazil: Day 11

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Penn State women's volleyball has officially set out on its 12-day tour of Brazil, marking the fifth Nittany Lion foreign tour in program history. From May 4-16th check in for updates, photos and videos from the team as Penn State tours São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to match up against top talent on the court, while also taking in iconic sights. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the trip. 


Hey guys! It's Heidi here!

I'm sad to say it's our last full day in Brazil. It has been such an awesome experience, especially since it is my first time out of the country! Thank you all for making this trip possible we are very lucky to have all of you.

Today was a beach day. Clare [Powers] and Simone [Lee] set up a sand volleyball tournament for all of us to compete in. My partner was Allison [Farrell]! It was awesome and so much fun. We had two courts going with three four-team pools.


The games were played to 15 and then once the pools were finished, there were consolation brackets and champion brackets. These games were played to 21 to find out the overall winners. Clare and Simone won the whole tournament, winning 21-17 in the final match.

After the beach volleyball tournament, we walked to the mall around the corner from the hotel to grab some lunch. There were a variety of options. I chose to each a sandwich with an acai bowl (it was delicious). Some of the other teammates had American food and Chinese.


After lunch we were allowed to hang out on the beach and catch some sun! A lot of us went swimming in the ocean. The waves were huge, it was tiring after a while! 

Other girls decided to go with the pool on the hotel rooftop. The view is gorgeous. We can see the entire city, the Christ the Redeemer statue, and the wonderful beach.

People went swimming in the heated pool on the roof and after the ocean, the rest of us joined them. It was a long day and filled with sun and smiles. After the pool we had dinner at the hotel. It was pizza! We all enjoyed a slice of pizza while talking about our favorite times on the trip.

Thank you all again for making this foreign trip possible for us! 

- Heidi Thelen

Checking in from Brazil: Day 10

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Penn State women's volleyball has officially set out on its 12-day tour of Brazil, marking the fifth Nittany Lion foreign tour in program history. From May 4-16th check in for updates, photos and videos from the team as Penn State tours São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to match up against top talent on the court, while also taking in iconic sights. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the trip.


Hi, it's Clare Powers here!

My oh my, our trip in Brazil started out amazing and it keeps getting better. This morning, our first day in Rio, the sunshine woke up us early, alongside the sounds of waves crashing on the shore along Ipanema Beach. 

With bug spray and cameras (also sunscreen for us pale folks), we loaded the bus in to visit Christ the Redeemer. We were led by an amazing local Brazilian tour guide who gifted us with facts about the statue as well as the city as a whole.


The tour bus dropped us off at the bottom of the mountain where the train transportation would elevate us up the mountain. While awaiting the train, the team visited a few tourist shops and purchased souvenirs. 

The group piled into two train cars for the trip up the mountain. We went up through a forest and came out among some amazing views of the city before reaching the last train station.

Numerous staircases later, Christ the Redeemer was in our midst. The statue stands tall at 38 meters and is 709 meters above sea level, literally stunning!

Jesus' arms extend wide across the horizon, almost as if opening for a hug to the city. It was truly an amazing site and a smile rarely left our face. The site past the statue was overseeing the entire city of Rio. The coasts portrayed luxurious white sand beaches and multiple groups of boats, anchored in the water. 

Concluding the visit, most of us stopped at another souvenir shop. Decelerating down the mountain, the beautiful greenery was a perfect completion to the wonderful monument.

Thank you to everyone who has made this experience possible for me. Not only was I able to check this beautiful monument off my bucket list but I also purchased Mother's Day presents for my Mom whom shares my love for the Christ the Redeemer.

- Clare Powers


Hi, this is Simone!

Reporting from day 10 in Rio de Janero! 

20170513_153244_6.jpgToday was absolutely incredible. Not only were we able to spend a fair amount of time outside, we also went to two beautiful places, the Christ the Redeemer statue and the Sugarloaf Mountains. My favorite part of the trip was seeing the Sugarloaf Mountains! (No, there was not sugar on these mountains).


These mountains are named "Sugarloaf" because they were discovered during the peak of sugar cane trade in Brazil. We rode in glass cable cars that run along a 4,600-foot route. The views were incredible, however being afraid of heights I was glad to have my teammates there with me! Looking down from the cable cars you could see everything from the airports to beaches and even our hotel!

It was such a great experience taking pictures from the top of the mountains and pointing out even more cool places from below! I know the team had a great time taking the tour of the sugarloaf mountains and it was an experience that will last a lifetime! 

We are all so fortunate to have been able to take this trip and experience it with such great friends, coaches and boosters. We want to thank the boosters for all of their support in organizing this trip and helping make this once and a lifetime trip a reality!

Signing off from Brazil,
Simone Lee

Checking in from Brazil: Day 9

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Penn State women's volleyball has officially set out on its 12-day tour of Brazil, marking the fifth Nittany Lion foreign tour in program history. From May 4-16th check in for updates, photos and videos from the team as Penn State tours São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to match up against top talent on the court, while also taking in iconic sights. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the trip.


Hello everyone Kristin Krause here!

As you have heard from my fellow teammates, we have been having a terrific time here in Brazil! This morning we started off with some breakfast at the hotel that included fruit such as mango, watermelon and pineapple, as well as some eggs and sausage.

Some of us went to spend the morning at the beach since we were having beautiful weather in Buzios, which from my knowledge, wasn't necessarily the case back home. Others spent the morning relaxing outside at the pool at hotel, but everybody made sure they had their sunscreen and bug spray on. 


We all gathered at the hotel and sat in a game room where we were provided with our game stats from yesterday's match against the Brazilian Junior National Team. We had the opportunity to watch some game film as well on a projector.

After film, we went to eat lunch at Buzin restaurant which had a seafood buffet. The shrimp was absolutely delicious! The food has been a huge hit and this restaurant has been a crowd favorite. 

We then returned to the hotel and checked out because after tonight's match we would be heading to Rio. We had a wonderful stay at this hotel because of the change of environment and the location. The aura of the group definitely changed when we got to Buzios and had the privilege of staying near the beach!

This has been an amazing adventure and an incredible experience for all of us and we owe you all a huge thank you! We appreciate everything you all have done for us to give us this opportunity. 

Thank you,
Kristin Krause

Hello everyone! B checking in! 

After packing up the bus, we took the same two hour drive as yesterday back to the Brazilian Olympic training site. The team spent most of the bus ride snoozing and getting ready to face off against the Brazilian Junior National Team for the second day in a row. The scenery leading up to the training site never gets old and is beyond beautiful.


Once we arrived, we played five sets. Winning the second, third, and fourth set securing the "win," but the volleyball competition was much improved from the day before. It is interesting to see the different dynamics international teams compete with and its always fun to play athletes we don't see every season, especially in a gym where so many successful Brazilian volleyball players have trained. 

Overall, the experience was very humbling. (Side note: shoutout to Emily Sciorra for playing outstanding today, and Simone Lee's block that landed straight down before she did - incredible). As always, playing with the girls beside me is a great time and so much fun. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

After playing, we were invited to a barbecue type cookout in a little tent with the Brazilian coaches. The meal included rice, cheese bread balls, steak, sausage, chicken wings, and some delicious cheese garlic bread. It was a little different than our American barbecue, but was definitely tasty.

Stuffed full, we hopped back onto the bus for the two hour drive (filled with lots of chatting, mostly about books, and apparently, "Lost in Alaska" is highly recommended) to our new destination: Rio de Janeiro!


The scenery on the way back to Rio was the complete opposite of what we saw around Buzios. As we crossed over the long bridge into Rio, the lights of the city really showed how populous the area was. 

While there weren't a ton of tall buildings like in Chicago or New York City, there were buildings and houses covering all of the land-even up the hills and mountains. There were also little outdoor soccer areas each direction you looked with people playing even at 11 p.m. at night. Similar to what we saw in Sao Paulo, the graffiti and art covered walls, buildings, bridges, you name it - was quite impressive.

We arrived at our hotel at Ipanema Beach late at night, which was right across the street from the beach. Don't worry, that will be utilized later on! The hotel was absolutely incredible and I cannot wait to see what all Rio has to offer! 


This trip has been an experience of a lifetime and I don't think we could possibly put into words how grateful we are for this opportunity.  

Obrigada (thank you) and can't wait to see you all again soon!

#21 Bryanna Weiskircher

Checking in from Brazil: Day 8

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Penn State women's volleyball has officially set out on its 12-day tour of Brazil, marking the fifth Nittany Lion foreign tour in program history. From May 4-16th check in for updates, photos and videos from the team as Penn State tours São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to match up against top talent on the court, while also taking in iconic sights. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the trip.


Hello Penn Staters!!

I'm Haleigh Washington, a senior middle blocker from Colorado Springs, Colorado and I'll be writing the blog for today! Let's get started, shall we!

Thursday was our first official full day in Buzios and this town is gorgeous! Our hotel is a two-minute walk from the downtown area which is right along the beach.

This morning we started our day bright and early in order to get in as much beach time as possible before we played the Brazilian Junior National Team. We hiked about 20 minutes through the town of Buzios along the beach and went to this beautiful cove called Sao Fernandez beach. It was early when we got there so we had our pick of where we wanted to sit. 


Once we got everything situated we naturally had to do our tourist trap shopping, so as venders would approach our beach blankets some of the girls, including myself, purchased sun dresses, bracelets, and head scarfs. Just your average day as a tourist. For the rest of the morning we enjoyed the Brazilian sun, the Brazilian surf, and some Brazilian wildlife! We got to see a crab or two! 

After the beach, it was time to get down to business. Following a gorgeous two hour bus ride from Buzios to Rio we arrived at the Brazilian National Team Training center where we would play the junior national team.


Tourist time was over as we entered the facility where the two-time Olympic gold medalist volleyball team trained. We were excited and ready to play.

During warmups, the team was very strong, a lot of the girls had GREAT arms and were hitting shots we weren't always used to seeing. That got us excited! We were looking forward to good competitive volleyball. Come game time we were ready to play and this team competed. 

Anytime we made too many errors in a row our thought we could fall asleep on this team, they would take two or three points off of us. We didn't stay down for long, we'd bounce right back and get a run of our own.

Overall we played five sets that night and it was the most competitive volleyball we've seen in Brazil, which is what we expected and wouldn't have been able to find anywhere else. At the end of the match we got some ice, got to watch the men's junior national team play a little and then we were off to dinner and headed home.

The facility we played in was fantastic, but what stood out to me the most was in a gym of all volleyball, all business, there was a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote posted on the wall before the entrance to one of the gyms. I'm afraid I don't know the quote by heart, but it was the line where he says we are not defined by the positive moments in our lives, but by the way we respond to the negative moments. It's not every day you see something like that posted in a gym, so it was pretty powerful to see that there. 


Overall, today was a great day full of beautiful beaches and good volleyball. We're excited for more adventures to come and beyond blessed and thankful for the opportunity to represent Penn State on this incredible trip.

We Are!
#15 Haleigh Washington

Checking in from Brazil: Day 7

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Penn State women's volleyball has officially set out on its 12-day tour of Brazil, marking the fifth Nittany Lion foreign tour in program history. From May 4-16th check in for updates, photos and videos from the team as Penn State tours São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to match up against top talent on the court, while also taking in iconic sights. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the trip.


Hi, it's Keeton!

We started off the morning super early with a 6 a.m. departure from our hotel in Sau Paulo where we bused to the airport to catch our flight to Rio De Janiero. The bus ride to the airport was completely silent as everyone was so exhausted that they were asleep within seconds of sitting down in their seats.

We finally we got to board our plane where after we took a short 45 minute ride to Rio. It was so cool because on the descent we could see Christ the Redeemer (statue) on his mountain making us even more excited for our upcoming tour day where we will get to see him up close.

After we got our bags, we made our way to yet another bus, where we had to say some teary goodbyes to Laura as she would be leaving to go home from here. 

The first 30 minutes of the bus ride to Buzios was full of chatter as everyone was fighting to get closest to the window so that they could get the best possible picture.


Soon after that, everyone was back to sleeping since we had such an early morning. The bus ride was fairly long but everyone on our team can pretty much sleep anywhere so it wasn't a problem. 

-  #12 Keeton Holcomb

Hello, it's Cami!


When we finally got settled in Buzios after a long day of traveling, everyone immediately changed into their bathing suits and cover ups.

We were all super excited to finally get to the beach and soak up some of Brazil's finest rays of sunshine, so we decided to head to the closest beach to the hotel which was only a three-minute walk. We almost had to stop a couple times during our sprint to the shore since the shops we were passing were so adorable.


We finally set camp on the beach as quickly as we could to catch the last bit of sun the day had to offer. Our view included numerous fishing and sail boats, along with many curious, passing stray dogs. As everyone heated up outside, the cold crystal clear water helped us cool off. 

The sun slowly started to lower to the horizon and made one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. We made a refreshing stop in the hot tub to rinse off before our dinner in town.

The restaurant we ate at was different than the others in the way that there were more fish options, including a buffet section with fresh sushi. To finish the night off, we shopped and then found some hammocks and relaxed until curfew called.

- Cami May

Checking in from Brazil: Day 6

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Penn State women's volleyball has officially set out on its 12-day tour of Brazil, marking the fifth Nittany Lion foreign tour in program history. From May 4-16th check in for updates, photos and videos from the team as Penn State tours São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to match up against top talent on the court, while also taking in iconic sights. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the trip.


Hello all, Laura (Bro) here!

I hope you are all as happy to hear from your favorite alum as I am happy to be writing all of you wonderful people who have made this trip possible and my last four years incredible. 

Day six, I swear the earth must turn faster down here because it feels like we just got here yesterday!

Today started with breakfast at our hotel which, as always, includes the very delicious and strong Brazilian espresso, along with a variety of fruits, pastries and Brazilian breakfast items. 

After breakfast, we went to a mall. It was a very high-end mall, which all of hearts loved but wallets despised. Many of us were in awe of the Calvin Klein underwear vending machine! 

The highlight of the mall was a skin care store. They showed us a hand salt that makes your hands feel softer than a baby's bottom. Taylor claimed to have bought the hand salt for her mom, but we all know Taylor will be hoarding it for herself.

We then ate at the food court, and while there were many different food options, most of us opted for American fast food and acai bowls.

Thank you all for becoming my family away from home and thank you to my parents for giving me the opportunity and resources to attend the best university in the world! We Are!!!!!

Signing out,
Laura Broerman (Bro) 

It's Tori! 

Today we played our third and final match here in San Paulo against Sao Cristovao. We gave Penn State flashlights as our gift to them as a joke because of yesterday's game in the dark. We played four sets and won all four, but they really made us hustle and compete hard!


After the match, they started playing their Brazilian music, which is very lively, upbeat and makes you want to dance! They waved us over and then started to teach us some of their dance moves. They have a couple songs that have fully choreographed dances to them, so they taught us those. We were all definitely not coordinated enough for that kind of dancing!

After we had a good laugh watching each other learn their moves, we showed them our THON dance and a couple other popular moves that we do. They caught on much quicker and easier to our moves than we did to theirs.


What I took away most from this match was not the experience of playing against them (even though that was very beneficial and what we came here to do), but the cultural experience of hanging out with the girls, exchanging words, dances, and laughs. 

Thank you everyone who made this trip possible, we would not have gotten to experience any of these beautiful moments without you!

Love always,
#11 Tori Gorrell

Checking in from Brazil: Day 5

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Penn State women's volleyball has officially set out on its 12-day tour of Brazil, marking the fifth Nittany Lion foreign tour in program history. From May 4-16th check in for updates, photos and videos from the team as Penn State tours São Paulo and Rio De Janiero to match up against top talent on the court, while also taking in iconic sights. Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the trip.


Today in Brazil we got to truly experience the Brazilian culture by going to a fresh food market. My original thought when I heard that we were visiting a Brazilian food market was that it was going to be outside and almost take shape of our modern-day grocery store back in the United States.

Well I was wrong. The food market was held inside a stately building with window murals and it was quite beautiful. The market was filled with food such as fish, nuts, chocolate, meat and fruits. The team was particularly intrigued by just how generous each salesman was, especially at the fruit stations. 


The language barrier wasn't easy, but with just a point, the salesman would begin to cut his delicious fruit and let us try them. Most of us came home with what fruits we liked the most, but some others came home with things like nuts or chocolates.

Not only did we enjoy their service but they enjoyed ours as well - literally, they were clapping at the fact that a large group of American girls were strolling through the aisles.

After the market, we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed a delicious lunch. Things such as salmon, soups and an array of fruits were so kindly offered. Although this could be a normal morning routine for a local citizen of Sao Paulo, the Penn State women's volleyball team got a delicious taste of the Brazilian culture today.

Thank you so much to those who made this trip possible!

#18 Allison Farrell

¡Boa Noite!

After a FULL-filling day of trying chocolates and tropical fruit, the team packed up and headed to the gym. 


Getting lost in the culture of Brazil, we made our way through the decorative small streets in our tour bus.

Upon arrival at the gym, instantaneous smiles spread throughout the team at the noise of excitement through the youthful group in the gym. About 60 middle school and high school aged kids were gathered, and after a quick demo of skills, smaller groups were formed.

A fun-filled hour of volleyball rallying and an attempt at conversation with the Portuguese-speaking students soon unfolded. It was hard not to smile when your group was so excited to play volleyball with you.

Once the hour was up, we quickly put our gear on and began warming up for our match against Sesi Sao Paulo. The lights in the gym were not working so, we were challenged with getting three sets in before the sun went down.


They were a competitive three sets, with Penn State winning the first and last set. The multicolored ball was in our favor in both the daylight of the gym and after sundown!

After shaking hands, almost completely dark in the gym now, we exchanged shirts with the other team in return for their authentic Brazilian jerseys. We took pictures with the girls and all the kids from the clinic who filled the stands to watch the game.

Concluding the night, we shared a meal amongst conversation (and again nearly in the dark).


The girls from the opposing team were genuinely kind and it was amazing to share experiences of our journeys through the game of volleyball. 

Thank you to all those who have helped the team get to Brazil, whether in funding or support, because tonight was a match I will hold fondly in my memories of this beautiful country and amazing sport. 

#7 Abby Detering


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