Day 2, June 9, 2005
Kevin and Santiago’s Team
By Rachel Dyer, BYU
Today we started with breakfast at the hotel (which was very good) and then drove to the gym to play against Argentina’s Youth National Team. Our coaches were Kevin Hambly and Santiago Restrepo. Our opponents looked very young but I was surprised how well they played. The girls had powerful arms and great ball control. A couple of the girls were pretty tall. I got roofed hard core by their middle blocker who was about 6-4. The rest of the girls were average height, but had very sound volleyball skills. You could tell that they had been taught well and trained hard. There was talent as well on our side of the net, but we had trouble in the beginning playing as a team. It is difficult to have any sense of team after just barely meeting the girls you are playing with.
Kevin really wanted us to focus on "coming together" both physically and mentally on the court to expedite the process of becoming a team. With every game, we worked on it and improved. We won the match and the scores were: 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 15-9. It was a different experience to play against international competition. The Argentines yelled and talked just as much as we did, but just in a different language! After the match we took a picture and talked to some of the girls (or tried to) and they seemed really fun.
After we played, we took our double-decker bus to a little restaurant/pub in the Boca neighborhood . Apparently it is a pretty authentic restaurant where not very many tourists go. We ate some awesome steak and bread with flan as dessert. I’ve noticed that meat is pretty popular here in Argentina. We eat it just about everywhere we go.
El Caminito de Tango in Boca
After lunch we took the bus to La Boca, a little barrio with lots of venders selling cool gadgets. A lot of the girls bought gifts for family and friends and prizes for themselves. We even got to see some people doing the tango – my new favorite thing about Argentina!
While we were in La Boca, we started talking to some of the natives. In our broken Spanish, we were able to communicate that we were in Argentina to play volleyball. This usually made them very excited and then they understood why we were all so "alta" or "tall." The Argentines are warm, friendly people and are very welcoming to us despite the language barrier. We are all looking forward to continuing our tour through Argentina, while taking care of business on the court as well!
Day 2 continued
Tom and Mark’s Team
By Brittany Pierpont, Boston College
We showed up to the gym today not really knowing what to expect. There were two Argentina Teams; the Senior "B" Team and the Youth National Team that Rachel wrote about above. My team, coached by Tom Hilbert and Mark Rosen, played the Senior B Team. It was really fun and exciting to play with all new teammates against another country’s team. The Argentina team looked small, but could jump very high and had great ball control. We started off playing like a team that’s been together for years, with great ball control and serving, winning the first game 25-21. Although we lost the next four games, we played well with a lot of energy. I thought that it was a great experience to play with all new players in a match after only one practice together. Our biggest challenge in our match today would be playing like a team the whole time. This was difficult as the other team has been together for a long time and we’re still trying to learn each other’s names! This also made it difficult for our coaches as they were still focusing on us, whereas the Argentina’s coach could focus on our team as he already knew his team. Thus, I think once we know each other better, we’ll be a great team!
*Editor’s note: The scores of the games were 25-22, 20-25, 16-25, 20-25,
21-25 (fifth game was not needed, but played anyway for the experience.) It’s also interesting to note that today’s games (as well as tomorrow’s) were played in "CeNARD" (roughly translated to mean National Center of High Level Sports) which is Argentina’s answer to our facilities in Colorado Springs. The Men’s National Team is also concentrated in the facility which houses and feeds several National Teams including the Men’s Youth and Junior National Basketball Teams which were lifting weights downstairs while we were in the hall.