West Virginia University sophomore Anna Panagiotakopoulos is in Pula, Croatia this week taking part in the 2013 European Global Challenge. The Phoenix, Ariz., resident is a member of this year’s USA Junior National Team competing in the ninth annual event.
Greetings from Pula, Croatia.
After arriving in Pula, we bad a few hours to go to the beach before the opening ceremonies. Right outside our hotel is a magnificent white rock beach. It was surrounded by small cliffs and pine trees and the water was so clear you could see 20 feet down! We had our fun then got ready for the opening ceremonies! We had team dinner then drove to Pula's City Square.
Hundreds of players from different countries proudly sporting their team colors and holding their flags. We wore our red, white and blue proud to represent our country. Each team was introduced one by one, warmly welcomed by all the Croatians in their town square.
After two days of playing in the European Global Challenge, pool play ended with us at the top of our pool (9,3). The highlight of the day was winning a thriller against Vasas, a Hungarian team! We also beat the Croatian team, the Czech Republic and our only loss was against Slovenia.
It's fun learning about the culture here, everyday I learn a few words! So far, I can say hello, please, and thank you in Croatian. I've also learned how to say good luck against every one of our match ups in their language. It's really great to see the different volleyball styles from all over Europe. The serve and pass game is insane.
The experience keeps getting better and I'm having a blast. In such a short amount of time it's amazing to see my teammates jell together. They are all very talented players and I'm proud to be a part of this team.
Tomorrow begins the playoffs. Lets go USA. Missing my Mountaineers!