K-State Volleyball Announces Foreign Trip

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State volleyball team will get the experience of a lifetime this May as the Wildcats will take a foreign tour and play a series of matches while traveling abroad. The trip is being made possible by USA Athletes International as the organization is donating the trip after learning of a similar trip to China scheduled in 2008 being cancelled.

The Wildcats will travel to Hungary, Slovenia and Italy during the last week of May and have the opportunity to play matches while using the trip to prepare for the upcoming 2010 season this fall and team bonding. Head coach Suzie Fritz is looking forward to the opportunity to travel with her team and provide her student-athletes with an exciting experience many would likely never get.

"We couldn't be more excited for the trip and for our student-athletes," Fritz said. "USAAI came to us with the prospect of providing our team and staff with a foreign tour. They are organizing a number of international competitions as well as cultural experiences for our program. USAAI is going out of their way to make this a memorable experience for us. On behalf of our entire program, we are sincerely grateful for their support and generosity."

USAAI is a non-profit organization based out of Olathe that is dedicated to giving amateur athletes and coaches the opportunity to participate in international competition while also providing an opportunity to broaden cultural knowledge and education.

The NCAA allows teams to take foreign trips once every four years as long as competition will be a part of the travel. Teams that take foreign trips are allowed an extra 10 days of practice together before the trip. Recently the K-State women's basketball team went to Europe during the summer of 2008 - the same year the volleyball team was slated to go to China.

K-State's trip to China was cancelled the day before departure as the company organizing the trip filed bankruptcy. The Wildcats were slated to go on the trip with New Mexico's volleyball team as well, and the story was featured on ESPN's Outside the Lines. USAAI founder William Edington saw the story on ESPN and was inspired to donate the upcoming trip for the Wildcats.

"We want to give Kansas State Volleyball athletes the experience of playing the sport they are so passionate about on the international level," Edington said. "Yes, this is the story of setting things right but it is about the thrill of playing in another country and feeling the surge of what that means."

Fans will be able to follow the Wildcats online during their time abroad with photo galleries posted daily of the beautiful sites and exciting matches. Recaps of the matches will be written for kstatesports.com and one student-athlete will write a journal entry for the site every other day chronicling her and her teammates' experiences on the trip.

- k-statesports.com -