July 14, 2013
Written by UCF head coach Todd Dagenais
Yesterday was our last day of friendly matches and we walked away very optimistic about our chances in the 2013 Global Challenge. We played a total of 6 sets against a European club team and the Junior National Team from the Czech Republic, winning 5 of them.
All of the coaching staffs in the tournament were treated to a sunset dinner on a mountain top of a family owned winery in Maribor, Slovenia. The food and wine were incredible and conversation between different countries was memorable. My wife Katie is a connoisseur of wine. I'm bringing back a case of their wine for her; I just have to figure out how to get it back to the States!
Today was a travel day for our team. We said goodbye to our friends in Maribor and began the 5 hour bus ride into Croatia. I downloaded the entire first season of "Newsroom" for moments like this, but I found myself watching the beautiful scenery as it went by at 120 kilometers per hour. We stopped at a roadside stand so the driver could take a "short" 45 minute break. The team took advantage of the fact this stand feature European style hot dogs. For those who have never had the pleasure of trying one, here is what I'm talking about. First they take a French or Italian style "hoagie" piece of bread, drill a hole through the length of the roll with a heated spike, then fill the hole with the condiments, and then place the hot dog in. AMAZING!
Now we have checked into Hotel Pula on the sea shore of Croatia. I'm looking at the ocean as I type this. We just finished our Technical Meeting for the tournament. Tonight is the opening ceremonies and we will play tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. against the Pula Club team. Just our luck to draw the host team in our first match up!!!! Regardless, we are ready to play and we are hoping for a positive result.
On a side note, did you know Croatian television plays American TV shows uncensored? I'm watching Hell's Kitchen. That Top Chef guy has a potty mouth!