Elon volleyball touches down in Italy for global experience

The Elon volleyball team set off to Italy to learn more about modern Italian culture and the differences among major volleyball-playing nations around the world. The Phoenix will also take on club teams Liberte Forti Firenze and ASD Castelfranco de Sotto during their visit.

As part of Elon University’s continued commitment to its students achieving a global education, the Elon volleyball team will travel to Italy from March 12 through March 20 to explore and learn about the modern Italian culture and examine differences among U.S., Italian and other major volleyball-playing nations around the world.

“This trip comes at the perfect time,” said head coach Mary Tendler. “It will allow us to be together outside of the gym. We haven’t been able to do that as much due to the pandemic guidelines the last couple of years. It will also allow our two new assistants, Tim Ebbecke and Willie Whealan, to get acclimated to the team quicker. Our team chemistry will be strengthened, which we will benefit from for many years to come.”

The Elon volleyball team together in Italy.

Throughout the week, the team will make visits to Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. Along the way, the team will tour Venice and Florence, learn how to make pasta in Lucca, explore the tiny villages that form the Five Lands “Cinque Terre,” tour the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and take a guided tour of Rome.

Elon will also play matches against club teams Liberte Forti Firenze and ASD Castelfranco de Sotto and put on a youth clinic in Ladispoli.

“The pre-departure classes have been awesome,” said Tendler. “Dr. Chris Leupold has been helping the players understand the culture in Italy and, at the same time, digging into our team culture. Two Elon students from Italy, Francesca Conte and Giulia Galvani, taught our players and staff some of the Italian language and talked about the differences in the two countries. We have already learned so much and we haven’t even left campus yet. We can’t wait to be challenged by a couple of Italian teams, engage with young volleyball players as we conduct a clinic, see some incredible sites and be immersed in the culture of another country.”

The trip marks the third European trip for the Elon volleyball team. The team went to Italy back in March 2018 and also went to Italy and Switzerland in March 2013.

“We all feel so fortunate and thankful to be able to make a trip like this together,” concluded Tendler. “We look forward to representing Elon University in this amazing country!”

You can follow the team’s journey on Twitter at @ElonVB, on Instagram at @ElonVB and on Facebook at Elon Volleyball. Members of the team will share their experiences daily on social media and on a digital diary journal on the Elon Phoenix website with players documenting their experiences.