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What I Did This Summer - Otterbein Volleyball visits South Africa

What I Did This Summer - Otterbein volleyball visits South Africa

The Otterbein University volleyball program recently returned from a memorable 11-day trip to South Africa, where the team squared off against local competition, volunteered at youth clinics, and enjoyed vacation time. 

The 11 returning players for the Cardinals and head coach Monica Wright, who enters her 11th season at the helm, traveled alongside 17 family-friends to complete the trip abroad.

Otterbein competed against the Western Volleyball Province Union, a team comprised of club players ranging from ages 16-35 in the Cape Town area. The Cards swept the three-game stint against Province Union, dropping just one set in the series. Each match was followed by a social among the two teams.

The Cardinals also enjoyed volunteer time with local players facilitated by the Province Union squad, with the second one in Swellendam, the third-oldest town in South Africa, involving over 100 youth who added to their knowledge of volleyball and were also given school supplies.

Away from competition, the Cardinals spent time hiking, kayaking, sampling traditional African food, toured museums, and went on a safari. One of the team's most memorable stops was at an apartheid area in Langa Township, Cape Town, where the effects of segregation are still felt to this day.

"This trip was a great opportunity for everyone to experience a culture very different from our own," Wright said. "The 20-plus hours of flying was well worth it as the team was able to see firsthand the power of sports have to connect people regardless of their background. I also think we were able to gain an appreciation for the resources we have available to us in regards to athletics here in the United States."

Otterbein, which has earned a spot in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament each of the last nine seasons, opens regular-season play when it hosts the Otterbein/Capital Volleyball Tournament on Sept. 1-2.

Read more Otterbein sports stories and season previews on OtterbeinCardinals.com.