May 13, 2007
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hi Mom, Dad, friends and fans of St. John’s volleyball:
Today is the third day of our trip to Vietnam and it is the day
we all have been waiting for. It is the first day of our first
international tournament! There have been a lot of firsts during
this trip and I’m sure there will be many more.
Our first game was scheduled for Noon and the opponent was Zhong
Cai, a team from China. Hui Ping [Huang] is the only member of the
team who has played against Chinese teams before, so many of us
were not familiar with the level of volleyball they played. Plus,
we didn’t know much about Zhong Cai because there was no time to
scout them before coming to Vietnam. So it was a bit of a challenge
The morning of the game we followed our typical pre-game
routine. We were all really excited and nervous. We couldn’t wait
for the game to start. We wanted to finally get the chance to play
volleyball. Well, the time came and during the warm up we got
focused. Although it was very hot in the gym, we were able to
adjust to it. Before the game started, we had to follow some
international rules that we were not familiar with. They say that
people learn something new every day, and we did. It was a
different kind of meeting of the team than in the United States,
but it was a great experience. We received a small gift from the
Chinese team and then the game started.
We went out on the court ready to play and we knew what we were
supposed to do. We started by scoring the first point and hustled
for every ball after that. We cheered on each other and we believed
that we could win the game. It was a great game and we were united
as a team. It was great to play such a high level of volleyball.
And, guess what? WE WON! Like I mentioned before, just another
“first” to add to the list we started in August.
Tired and happy, we came back to the hotel and ate lunch. My
hands were still shaking from the excitement of winning that I
couldn’t hold the chop sticks. I had to ask for a fork. After lunch
we had a little break, so I took a nap. Then we went back to the
gym for the opening ceremony.
All 11 teams lined up next to each other and were waiting for
the ceremony to start. We were standing next to the Japanese team.
We used the free time to interact and converse with the players. It
was very nice to meet them. We took pictures and were laughing
At 8 p.m., the opening ceremony started with a performance by a
local cheerleading team. After the performance, each team walked on
to the court as their team name was being called. We were greeted
by speakers from Vietnam Television, the sponsors of the
tournament, and members of the Vietnam Volleyball Federation. The
tournament was official started. Every team received an amazing
bouquet of flowers and was wished good luck in the tournament.
It’s about 10 p.m. now, so it is time for me to go to sleep.
Tomorrow we play the national team of Kazakhstan and I hope it will
be another “first” for St. John’s volleyball.
Keep your fingers crossed for us and visit the website for more
news from our team tomorrow.
Wioleta Leszczynska #14