Monday, June 8, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Brazilian adventure could spark volleyball team
Volverines gain senior Juliana Paz broke her pinky
fnger in practice.
uable experience The talented Brazilian outside
hitter was returning home to play in
h the world's best her native country for the first time
since coming to the University last
By MARK BURNS season.
Daily Sports Writer The injury might have forced Paz
to miss playing in front of friends
reek and half before the MA and family, but she rebounded from
and a half before the Michi- the fracture to play in most of the
lleyball team was supposed team's matches.
ark on its spring trip to Sao From May 17-29, the Wolver-
and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ines faced six Brazilian club teams,
notching a 5-2 record during that
"(The trip) was a great experience
for us," Michigan coach Mark Rosen
said. "A couple natches were close, a
couple we lost, and a couple matches
we won easily, which is kind of what
we were looking for out of the trip."
After playing five matches in the
first five days, the team got some
much-needed rest before heading to
Saquarema is the home to the
Brazilian National Team training
center, with four state-of-the-art
gymnasiums at its disposal.
"It's built just for volleyball,"
Rosen said. "We're sitting in this
dining hall and you look over there
and there's a table with the best
men's team in the world for the past
15 years and then over on the other
table, there's eight girls with gold
medals from the last Olympics.
From Page 11
enough. It could be a distraction
too significant for multiple Gra-
dys in the Big House.
IF HE WASN'T A POINT GUARD...
Kelvin Grady would be a foot-
"You're like, 'Wow, this is pretty
Michigan took on Saquarema's
Junior National Team, which
Rosen said was the favorite to win
the Junior Championships in July,
Just a week prior, National Cham-
pion Penn State squared off against
the same team, defeating them in
two five-set matches. Rosen knew it
would be a great tune-up for a team
that is still looking to get over the
tier of the Big Ten Conference.
The Wolverines eventually lost
both matches but held their own
against one of the best Junior
National teams in the world.
Despite the losses atthe end of the
trip, Rosen said the trip was a success
overall. His players traveled to an
unfamiliar place where they didn't
know the language or culture but
ball player. Right?
When Grady was asked on the
John Beilein radio show in Janu-
ary what sport he would play at
Michigan if he weren't playing bas-
ketball, Grady swiftly answered,
At the time, Grady had become
a semi-consistent starter and
became an even tighter-knit group
over those 12 days. In that time, Paz
became the official translator of
the team and made her teammates'
experience a little better because of
her knowledge of the country.
"There's that uncomfortable part
of it that brings you closer together,"
The trip could be what Michigan
needs to push itself into Big Ten
title contention next year. Purdue
and Illinois traveled to internation-
al destinations in previous years,
with noticeable improvement in the
team's performance in the following
season. But Rosen knows just going
unless his team is prepared mentally
and physically for the entire season.
""Every indication I have of when
we left (Brazil) is that they're jacked
up and ready to come back raring at
it," Rosen said.
nobody suspected that he would be
donning anything but baggy maize
shorts the following season.
Realistically, the baseball com-
ment isn't worth reading in to.
Maybe Grady just wanted to liven
up the conversation. Whatever
the reason, Grady has the tools
to excel with a new uniform and
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