By Pulse Staff
The University of Findlay volleyball team takes to the skies for a tournament that will take them 3,727 miles from home.
The team flies out of Columbus Wednesday for the Denali State Bank Ice Block Classic tournament in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Athletics Brandi Laurita says this is not the first time the team has made the long journey to the “last frontier”.
“This is actually at least the third time in my time here that the volleyball team has been to Alaska,” Laurita said. “Our head coach decides where they’re going to go and schedules their matches. So, it would have been the coaching staff that decided that.”
Much like when the baseball or softball team goes to Florida for spring break training, the cost of the trip is covered by fundraising.
“(They did) everything from they did a golf outing, they actually did a car wash. So they do fundraisers or any donations that come in will fund the trip for them,” Laurita said.
“It’s all fundraiser money being used.”
Laurita says the trip is not just about good competition in volleyball.
“One of the things I think is important in athletics is we’re using athletics to enhance the collegiate experience, so we’re doing that through sports,” Laurita said. “I think this provides a great opportunity for our student athletes to experience something that some of them may never have the opportunity to do.”
The trip begins with an 8 p.m. match up with the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves on Thursday Sept. 1.
Then they take on the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Lions at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2. On Saturday, Sept. 3 they have two games scheduled: Florida Southern College at 4 p.m. followed by University of Alaska Fairbanks, the hosts, at 11:30 p.m.
Games are scheduled to stream live on YouTube.
“When they get back from Alaska they hit the ground running and go pretty much into a conference schedule,” Laurita said.
The next big trip for the team will be to Indianapolis.
“The Crossover (is) in October which is the largest Division II volleyball tournament that happens in America,” Laurita said. “It’s three conferences together and they pair them up based on strength to really get a better idea of regional rankings.”
Oct. 13-15 the Oilers will be part of the 2022 Midwest Region Crossover at The Hammond Sportsplex. Teams from 38 NCAA Division II schools compete from the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference (GLIAC), and the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).