MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia volleyball team took a team training trip to southern West Virginia this past weekend.
The West Virginia volleyball team took its preseason training on the road this past weekend. The Mountaineers traveled to the southern part of West Virginia for a trip that included community service, team training and even some white water rafting.
Coach Jill Kramer, staff and players traveled first to Minden, W.Va., on Sunday morning following practice.
“Our team benefited greatly from our team training trip to southern West Virginia,” said Jill Kramer. “Since we have players on our squad from all over the world I think it's really important for them to learn about our heritage in West Virginia.”
The squad enjoyed a white water rafting trip along the third-oldest river in the world – the New River. The recent amount of rainfall caused high water and multiple class-five rapids. It was an experience the Mountaineers embraced. Senior Elizabeth Gulick admits some of their actions on the New River can be translated onto the court.
“When we went rafting, we learned a lot about how certain people work and how we work as a team,” Gulick said. “We could relate a lot of the lessons we learned when we were out rafting to volleyball.”
After the team finished its rafting trip, nearly one thousand feet beneath the infamous New River Gorge Bridge, the Mountaineers stayed in bunkhouses for the night. They discussed lessons learned from the time spent on the water, while also experiencing the wilderness of West Virginia.
“We're really fortunate that (coach) Jill (Kramer) is into doing things like this for the team. The rapids were a lot more difficult than last year (when we went). It was about overcoming some fears. It was really awesome,” said sophomore Nikki Attea
. “It was a great team-building exercise. A lot of people stepped into leadership roles on each of their rafts.”
An early awakening on Monday morning led Kramer and the team to Oak Hill High School for a few hours of training in the gymnasium. Following a stop in historic Lewisburg, W.Va. for lunch, the state fair was next on the itinerary, where they signed autographs and talked with the general public at the 89th annual West Virginia State Fair.
"The most important parts of this trip were that we got to practice on the road and also had the opportunity to spend some with one another off the court,” Kramer said. “We also stayed in a bunk house deep in the wilderness the night before we practiced, and worked on being our best in the gym the next day when the elements weren't perfect. The team handled it great.
Everybody talks about ‘getting comfortable, being uncomfortable' and we definitely gave the girls the opportunity to do that on this trip.”
The Mountaineers are thankful opportunities like this past weekend have become a common occurrence for the team.
“We are very grateful to the Match Point Club donors,” Kramer said. “They make these special trips possible for our team to go on and provide yet another unforgettable experience to our girls every year.”
West Virginia will kickoff its 40th season of volleyball with its annual Gold-Blue Scrimmage Aug. 24 inside the WVU Coliseum.