June 26, 2006
Prague, Czech Republic - Kristin Richards, Franci Girard and Nji Nnamani combined for 35 kills to lead the Stanford women's volleyball team to a 20-25, 25-17, 26-24, 25-20 victory over the Czech Junior National team on a hot, muggy Monday afternoon in the finale of a six-match European tour of Italy, Slovenia, Austria and the Czech Republic.
The Czechs started strong winning game one, 25-20. But it was all Cardinal the rest of the way. In game two and with the scored tied (4-4), Stanford outscored the home team, 18-8, to take a 22-12 advantage. In game three, Stanford rallied from a 20-24 deficit by scoring six straight points to take the game, 26-24. In game four, the Czechs only led once at 8-7. Six straight points by Stanford gave the visitors a 13-8 lead, and proceeded to take the game, 25-20, and the match.
Erin Waller added 14 digs and eight kills while Bryn Kehoe added 30 assists and eleven digs.
Stanford ended its 14-day European tour with a 5-1 record.
Today's Daily Diary is from Kristin Richards and Bryn Kehoe "We arrived in Prague, Czech Republic, in the late afternoon and were informed of a surprise workout with Juan Pablo Reggiardo (strength coach). The facility was an indoor tennis court, and by indoor we mean a tent lacking any type of air circulation. After sweating it out, the team took a quick shower and we were off to downtown Prague.
We arrived in the City Square, where we were entertained with stories about the ancient kings of Czech Republic by our tour guide. After about an hour and a half of sightseeing we went to an Italian restaurant and then to the biggest disco in Prague. The dance club was amazing. What was more amazing was the performance by our teammate Nji Nnamani. Not only did she immediately take over the dance floor, but initiated a dance-off with multiple people while we were there (we have video footage if anyone is interested). Franci Girard, who was claiming that she wasn't going to dance due to a sore ankle, transformed into nothing short of Beyonce Knowles.
After a night of much needed rest (due to the vigorous dance work-out that was endured the night before) we headed to downtown Prague for more sightseeing. We started off at the most famous castle (and the largest palace complex in the world) in Prague.
Following that, we spent most of the day in small groups getting lost within the remarkable city. We did a lot of entertaining things, which included watching the Red Bull contest in which participants try to build structures to fly off a platform, but they all crashed into the river. They used some clips from this event for Red Bull commercials a few years ago.
After the typical day of shopping and eating we ended up at the quad where a huge screen and soccer tents were set up for the World Cup.
The energy and excitement generated around the World Cup in Prague, and in every European city we visited, was amazing. We eventually met at the end of the day at one of the many beautiful bridges in Prague and headed to dinner. The dinner that was prepared was a traditional Czech meal, which resulted in all of us consuming way too many calories for our own good. After a wonderful meal we were taken back to Top Hotel to rest up our knees and ankles for the match the next day."
The weather in Prague, Czech Republic, is extremely warm and very muggy. To add to the situation, ice is at a premium. Unless you ask for it at a restaurant, you will not get any with your drink order.
One Stanford staffer asked for ice cubes at lunch, and the waiter thought she meant ice cream. Refrigeration is not always up to par which means your drink may not be very cold. It just makes you appreciate some of the things we take for granted in the United States. Sunday (June 25) was the last opportunity for the Cardinal women's volleyball team to tour the great city of Prague, Czech Republic. The tour started with a trip to Prague Castle and ended with a traditional Czech dinner which included potato pancakes, dumplings, curry chicken, fried cheese, potatoes with covered with a cream sauce and spinach, sausages, beef, pork, and then crepes for dessert. It was a great dinner at a restaurant in a small neighborhood of Prague. Sunday evening was a time for the team to relax at the team hotel which is located on the outskirts of downtown Prague. The team had a chance to walk around this excellent hotel, gather around near the lobby to chat or talk about the trip or head back to the rooms to watch Czech television or watch the World Cup featuring Portugal vs the Netherlands. This a small world. It is tourist season in the Czech Republic with many people lining the streets of this European city. While walking the streets of Prague, a couple from Palo Alto, both Stanford graduates, were on vacation and noticed a couple athletes wearing Stanford apparel. The Palo Alto couple was familiar with Stanford Athletics and wished the Cardinal volleyball team the best of luck against the Croatian Junior National team. After the match vs the Czech Junior National team, both teams gathered for a BBQ which featured steak, chicken, salad, French fries, dessert and plenty to drink. Tuesday morning, the Cardinal boards a jetliner for the 14-hour flight from Prague to San Francisco. The vote is unanimous. This has been a truly memorable experience for the Stanford team, coaches and staff. It has been a fun and educational experience to visit a part of the world (Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic) with such great history.