The World University Games is an international sporting and cultural festival, staged every two years in a different city around the world. It has Summer and Winter Games similar to the Olympic Games. Athletes will stay in a designated housing area similar to the Olympic Village.
Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, third capital of Russia, located on the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in central Russia 800 kilometers east of Moscow. It is one of the largest economic, scientific and cultural centers in the country.
Kansas State Volleyball will be afforded a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this summer as it has been selected to represent and compete for Team USA at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
The World University Games will be held July 6-17 and is an international multi-sport celebration of collegiate athletes organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
The games serve as an international sporting and cultural festival similar to the Olympics staged every two years in a different city around the world. Volleyball is one of the 12 mandatory sports for the World University Games or Universiade with a maximum of three optional sports chosen by the host city. Winter and Summer Games are both held similar to the Olympics as well.
"The opportunity to put on a USA uniform and represent your country is pretty rare in any sport. For USA Volleyball, you have to be playing for our Olympic team," Head Coach Suzie Fritz said. "There are some opportunities at the youth level and junior level to represent USA, but most of our athletes are never going to have that opportunity, so to be able to put USA on your back and go and compete against some of the world's greatest athletes is a pretty special thing."
K-State was one a select few elite college volleyball programs contacted to represent Team USA by BTI Events, an organization overseeing the selection of participants.
"USA Volleyball is excited that Kansas State has agreed to represent the United States in the upcoming World University Games for women's indoor volleyball," said USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal. "The World University Games is a prestigious event held every two years with some of the top rising athletes competing in our sport. Kansas State has been a perennially strong program led by an outstanding coach in Suzie Fritz who has coaching experience within the USAV High Performance pipeline. We wish Kansas State the best at the event."
Opening ceremonies for the World University Games will be July 6, and K-State will play matches against Russia, Poland and Czech Republic during pool play.
Athletes will stay in special housing similar to the Olympic Village and compete in state-of-the-art venues that have hosted other prestigious events and championship competitions.
"This is an extraordinarily special opportunity for our student-athletes to play for Team USA in the World University Games," said Director of Athletics John Currie. "Our team traveling across the world to represent K-State and the United States in what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience is yet another illustration of providing a world-class student-athlete experience and supporting President Schulz's K-State 2025 vision of advancing Kansas State as one of the nation's Top 50 public research universities. I'm sure it will be an emotional time for our coaches and players when they step out on that court and one they will all remember for the rest of their lives."
K-State will be permitted to hold unlimited practices to prepare for the World University Games at the conclusion of the spring semester. The competition will be played under international FIVB rules with fewer substitutions among other procedural differences.
One major adjustment for K-State will be a roster limited to only 12 players, as opposed to 15 in NCAA competition, and five staff members for the World University Games. Two of K-State's players, Natali Jones and Lilla Porubek, are not be eligible to play with the team in Russia as they hold citizenship and passports from other countries.
"One, we get an opportunity to get some extra time together, which, I think is a huge benefit just in preparation for the fall and in our ability to continue to develop relationships with our athletes and for our athletes to develop relationships with each other," Fritz said. "Essentially, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because normally we don't get our hands on them at all in the summer. So, any time we can get with them is incredibly beneficial. There's no question even if you get 10 days, two weeks, three weeks, whatever that is, it's going to impact us a great deal just because we get a little more time to prepare, not just for the World University Games, but for the fall as well."
Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, third capital of Russia, and lies on the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers and has a population of approximately 1.2 million people. It is Russia's eighth largest city and is more than 1,000 years old with a unique complex of archeological, historical and architectural monuments.
Kazan is special to one member of the K-State volleyball team as well. Dakota Kaufman's family emigrated from Kazan to the United States, and said representing USA and going to the World University Games will be an experience she cannot wait to embrace.
"Once I put the jersey on, that's when I think I'll realize that I'm representing USA. And that is so huge just to be able to be a part of something like that is so huge," Kaufman said. "I'm looking forward to going over there and seeing the culture and spending time in the village and being around some of the top athletes in the world."
Sunday, July 17: Travel Blog, Back Home in the USA
Editor's Note: This is the final entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats represented Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos have been posted throughout the trip from the team. Today's blog entry is written by Bailey Shurbet
Well, to say the least this adventure back home was bittersweet. Everyone had a blast in Kazan, but we are all ready to go home, sleep in our own bed and reunite with friends and family.
The trip home began with a lovely 2 a.m. checkout from the dorms, then after that off to the airport we went to officially begin the journey! Once at the airport, thankfully we had some of the volunteers entertain us by serenading us with their own little versions of songs by Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra (quite the mix I know). Oh, I can't forget the oh so lovely three hours of Gina and Katie brushing up on their "Irish" accents until we got on the plane. Let's just say everyone was happy when they fell asleep. haha. By the time we got to Moscow, all the Cats were a little slap happy being sleep deprived and all. With an almost 6-hour layover in Moscow, some serious "cat" naps took place. After naps and lots of shopping for chocolate (that we had been recently deprived of since the village security gates held all of ours captive), we were FINALLY off to America!!
Editor's Note: This is the 10th entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the trip from the team. Today's blog entry is written by Dakota Kaufman
Well guys, it was our last day here in Russia! What a great experience it has been thus far. It's been a crazy 10 days so far, but I wouldn't trade this for the world. My teammates are the ones that have made this an experience of a lifetime! It has been very special for me because of the fact both sets of ancestors are from Russia and lived somewhere along the Vulga River, which in fact is where we are staying by. Today, we actually got to go to the Kremlin and walk around. The Kremlin is actually a wall that surrounds the Mosques and cathedrals. We went into two of the Mosques and inside of the Kremlin walls. When you first walk in, all of the women have to have something to cover their heads and the men cannot have hats on while inside the Mosque. The inside was unreal. It wasn't like any church I have ever seen before. The inside was full of paintings all the way to the ceiling and even on the ceiling, each picture representing something (even though we couldn't read it). There are so many customs and rules I couldn't tell you half of them, but it was so cool to be a part of something so ancient and beautiful.
Editor's Note: This is the ninth entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the trip from the team. Today's blog entry is written by Associate Head Coach Jeff Grove and Assistant Coach Jeff Hulsmeyer.
Things are winding down for the 2013 Universiade in Kazan, Russia. Most sports have finished already with closing ceremonies set for Wednesday night. Due to some obligations with camp, we will not be able to attend that, but I've heard that once you have experienced the opening ceremonies, you want to keep that as your memory and that the closing never lives up to its predecessor. Today the Cats/Team USA were able to sleep in and get rested for a big day with our final match of the tournament against China. China surprisingly underachieved at this tournament after winning a medal in 2011. Brazil and Russia (the other medalists in 2011) will play for the gold medal tomorrow night and I honestly can't see Russia losing as they have loaded up a team of professionals.
We felt very well prepared going into the China match but one of the things you have to be able to do at this level is to adjust when your opponent adjusts. We were a little slow to do that today getting down 0-2, but the Cats fought back. We played a very solid game on both sides of the ball and won game 3, but could not sustain it for game 4. Our team is learning valuable lessons about how small the "margin for error" is when you play teams at this level and those lessons will help us when we get back into the Big 12 this fall.
Editor's Note: This is the eighth entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the trip from the team. Today's blog entry is written by Kaitlynn Pelger.
What a great day to be able to represent the United States! We started off with a little film on Norway and found out how their offensive and defensive systems work. Then we watched a sweet video of ourselves against Slovakia from Wednesday to pump us up for the game!
We then headed to pre-game meal as a team. A lot of us got the salad bar and the European food. It’s the perfect amount of food before the game.
We had an earlier game time today (3pm) and it worked in our favor! We swept the Norwegians. We played exactly the way we wanted to play and upgraded in the areas we needed to.
Editor's Note: This is the seventh entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the 10-day trip from the team. Today's blog entry is written by Tristan McCarty
Only three more days of free McDonald's. But that's not important. Today we woke up for a morning serve/pass practice and brought with us a K-State/USA T-shirt to have signed by all the girls to give to the manager of the gym. They were ecstatic. We left practice to drive through the crazy city of Kazan once more back to the village. I see something new every time we make the drive. After a quick lunch, taking a lovely online test in the afternoon, and back to pregame meal, we head to Zilant Sports Complex to play our next opponent, Slovakia. We felt good warming up, confident and loose. But after some hard momentum upsets throughout the match, we fell 0-3 to the European team. There were good and bad things from the match, but the most important thing is that we still have perspective at what we're doing, and the once in a lifetime opportunity to play some of the best athletes, volleyball players and teams in the world.
Editor's Note: This is the sixth entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the 10-day trip from the team. Today's blog entry is written by Courtney Traxson
Today was quite the eventful day!! We had the entire day off (excluding our morning workout) and were able to go to the other venues available to watch our fellow USA people compete! My day started immediately after weights with Tristan, Katie Brand, and Chelsea as we ventured over to the sand volleyball courts to watch one of the U.S. women's doubles teams play Russia. Unfortunately, Russia is also good at that event and beat them! We left that venue and immediately went to the men's volleyball game against Korea! They were so awesome when they came and supported us at our match, all decked out in flags and red, white, and blue so we asked to borrow that same stuff and did the same for them! It was a lot of fun and even though they did not win I ended up winning Fan of the Game!! Lucky me, I received a Kazan Universiade magnet and pin!
Wednesday, July 10: Travel Blog, vs Host Country Russia
Editor's Note: This is the fifth entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the 10-day trip from the team. Today's blog entry is written by junior Taylor Johnson.
For some the day started off with those feeling the jet lag waking up before 5:00am and eating breakfast while others kept hitting their snooze to sleep in. It was a day of treatments as well as a quick serve and pass at the Moskva volleyball complex. The European manager and staff of the complex said, "We missed you Americans, you are all so nice." From here we left for the athletes' village. We finished our morning watching film on Russia and a great highlight video made by Coach Grove on our game against the Czech Republic. We had some time to relax and catch up on some homework. Eat, sleep, play volleyball held true another day, as we were off to eat as a team. The team has been very good at trying the different foods but I think McDonald's won our team over today. By 6:40 we were all ready for the big game vs. Russia at St. Petersburg. Coaches told us that the game would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Editor's Note: This is the fourth entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the 10-day trip from the team. Today's entry is written by junior Gina Madonia
What a great day to be a Wildcat! Russia is crazyyyyy. I still can't even believe that we are here competing with so many great athletes. It truly is such a cool experience. Anyways, it is our second competition day today against the Czech Republic and no matter where we are in the world gameday is gameday. We woke up this morning, went to breakfast and then went to serve and pass. It is such an interesting and culturally stimulating drive to our practice facility. There are large buildings and fountains and other sports complexes to look at all the way there.
At practice we did some serving and some passing, hence the name serve and pass, and then returned to watch film from our first match (against Poland) and prepared ourselves for what was in store for us against the Czechs.
Editor's Note: This is the third entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the 10-day trip from the team. Today's entry is written by sophomore Katie Reininger.
The team can relate when I say that the seventh of July started off by sleeping through at least two alarms and being shaken awake by a fellow roommate. It was the longest sleep we had since the Fourth and the first time we were able to sleep in the past 24 hours. But the day started off fresh as we made our way to our meal and then the buses for practice.
The drive to our practice facility was unexpectedly beautiful. We passed by Lake Kaban; it's a giant lake in the middle of downtown Kazan equipped with a massive fountain branching out like a fan on one end and a lovely theater at its front that our guide seemed to be most proud of. There was a local University that looked relatively new and magnificent as well. In fact, everything about Russia is magnified and grandiose, as if someone took a town like Reno, Nevada, and pulled it upwards, stretched it out wider, and spread it for miles and miles.
Editor's Note: This is the second entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the 10-day trip from the team. Today's entry is written by senior Courtney Cook.
Today, we started the day by getting up early in Moscow to catch our flight to Kazan. It was only a short flight, but when we got to Kazan we couldn't believe what we saw. As we got off the plane, over 20 World University Game volunteers greeted us. The people of Kazan are so kind and welcoming! They were waving and whistling and even hugging us like we were celebrities!
Our next stop was to the University Village. We arrived there and began to settle in. We got a run down of the village by our Russian dorm manager, Kirill. He showed us a map of the village. It has absolutely EVERYTHING an athlete could every want or need. All of the buildings are brand new, and seem like they were built yesterday. We can eat, shop, go to movies, work out in a brand new weight room, and exchange money all in one area. And the best part…everything is free to the athletes and coaches in the village.
Editor's Note: This is the first entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the next 10 days from the team. Today's entry is written by redshirt freshman Katie Brand.
After a long two days of traveling through Detroit and Amsterdam, we've arrived in Russia! Throughout the trip, we have been stopped by many people interested in who we are and where we are going. Last night, after landing in Moscow, we had time to explore. First we walked down the crowded streets of downtown Moscow just taking in the new culture. We were able to get a few pictures with some of the Russian people who were interested in finding out more about us.
Wednesday, July 3: Col. Mike Morgan Talks to the Team
For all the Wildcats, the opportunity to wear a uniform representing the USA is one they are looking forward to and very appreciative of. Bringing that message home was a very special guest on Wednesday as Col. Mike Morgan from the volleyball team's partner unit spoke to the team before practice.
"Col. Morgan is a big influence for us. He is the former Colonel for the Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Riley, and they've become dear friends to us," Fritz said. "We have such an appreciation for what they do in regards to representing our country, serving our country, risking their lives to fight for ours, and he has come in a couple times and expressed how important the value, the honor of wearing Red, White and Blue and actually going and representing your country is. It's a very big deal and one we take a lot of pride in."
Friday, June 28: Wildcats Preparing for Russia in the Classroom
While preparations for the World University Games have been happening on the court with practices, the Kansas State volleyball team is preparing for its upcoming trip to Russia in a classroom setting as well.
In an effort to know more about Kazan, Russia, and the culture they will experience when the team represents the USA at the World University Games, K-State has been meeting with Dr. David Stone from the history department once a week to learn a bit of Russian language, culture, customs and more.
Stone has volunteered his time with the team once a week and has given the Wildcats lessons on common phrases, language, culture and even discussed the famous Russian architecture the team will see in Kazan.
Practices began last week with the Wildcats trading their purple and white for red, white and blue. After receiving their official practice gear and warm-ups, K-State now has USA emblazoned on its jerseys and is working in the gym to get ready for world class competition.
"I love the opportunity that we have to spend time with our team and prepare them for international competition. It's a tremendous advantage," said head coach Suzie Fritz. "I wasn't in the locker room when they received their USA gear, but I know it's been a big hit to put on our USA gear every day. It has made the opportunity a little more real for everyone."
Because the World University Games are an entity outside of the NCAA, the volleyball team is not restricted by NCAA rules concerning summer workouts and is practicing now for the trip to Russia while other teams must wait until training camp in August. The majority of the K-State team is on campus now practicing together as the WUG move closer.
The team is holding daily practices and some two-a-days while also mixing in small group tutoring training sessions to work on specific areas of the game with select groups. Fritz and her staff have also worked with the support staff at K-State and Dr. David Stone from the History department on campus to take time and learn Russian culture, language and other elements that will be beneficial to the experience.
K-State Volleyball trades in its purple and white for red, white and blue as they see their custom Team USA jerseys and apparel for the first time. Featuring the Team USA wordmark with a powercat accent, the new gear allows the team to represent both their country and their university.
Tuesday, April 9: Team USA Announcement Press Conference
K-State Volleyball held a press conference on April 9 to celebrate its once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this summer as it has been selected to represent and compete for Team USA at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
Team USA Volleyball Pool Assignments Draw
Who will USA be playing?
The Wildcats will play against truly world-class athletes. Competition pools were selected and announced on Saturday, and in USA's pool will be Czech Republic, Poland and hosting Russia. Although the games are called the World University Games, the competitors may range from 18 to 27 in age as long as they are enrolled in a college course, and many athletes will have professional and National team experience.
How big is the Team USA travel party?
Volleyball teams at the World University Games are restricted to 5 staff members and 12 athletes. All participants on the team must have a current U.S. Passport. Lilla Porubek (Hungary) and Natali Jones (South Africa) are not eligible to compete in this event for Team USA.
What will competition be like?
The competition will be at a world class level. Although the games are called the World University Games, the age range is 18-27 and many athletes are expected to have National Team and professional experience.