Outside hitter Maria Coniglio and setter Brylee Frank represented the USA on the USA D-3 team which traveled to Brazil for a playing tour from June 12 to 21. Comprised of invited NCAA Division III players recognized across the country as All-Americans, All-Region and All-Conference, the team competed against five different Brazilian teams and went 3-2 overall. USA took the silver medal in the Marina Barra Clube International Challenge on June 17 which consisted of three matches versus top U22 club teams.
Here, the two share a little about their experience:
BF: Maria and I got to experience playing international volleyball, which was very exciting, but we also got to experience the culture and see historic landmarks while we were there.
MC: We got to know most of the athletes on the teams we played; we exchanged phone numbers, social media with them, traded jerseys and took pictures with them. While we weren't playing volleyball we were experiencing Brazil in a whole other way. We saw the Olympic Village, where the Olympians practiced and where the rowing competitions were in Rio.
BF: One day while we were in Jundiai we went to an elementary school and played volleyball with the children. It was an incredible experience; the kids thought of us as professional athletes wanting pictures with us and wanting our autographs.
MC: In Rio de Janeiro our hotel was right across from Copacabana Beach so we were there every day. We also went to the International Market and walked back along Ipanema Beach. Towards the end of the Brazil Tour we went up Sugarloaf Mountain at sunset and saw an amazing view. A few days later we went to Christ the Redeemer Statue; it was one of the most beautiful things we have ever seen!
BF: The food was delicious! Every night we went to a different buffet-style restaurant. We all got to try new things, but you could always count on steak, beans, and rice being in the mix somewhere.
MC: We experienced this tour with some of the most incredible people we have ever met. Both the men's and women's team seemed like we have known each other for forever. We all still talk to each other almost every day and have plans to all meet up again soon.
BF: This tour allowed us to experience a whole different world, meet people who we will be friends with for the rest of our lives, and let us represent Team USA. One of the greatest experiences of my life so far!