Dylan Faulkner's Journal From the Sibillini Tournament in Italy
Aug. 3, 2007
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest's Dylan Faulkner spent 11 days in Italy this summer, participating in an international volleyball tournament in the heart of the Sibillini Mountains. Faulkner was one of 17 college volleyball players that made up two U.S. teams competing in the event.
The tournament hosted eight teams from seven countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Slovenia and two from the United States. Faulkner's squad, Team Volleyhut.com, placed third in the tournament.
Prior to the tournament Faulkner, a rising sophomore setter, and the rest of the U.S. players spent two days in Rome and one in the beach town of Falconara before traveling to Comunanza in the Sibillini Mountains.
Faulkner combined with teammates Kelsey Bowers of the University of Florida and Gayle Tripp of the University of New Mexico to win a two-day beach volleyball tournament in Comunanza.
Faulkner kept a day-by-day journal of her time in Italy. Below is the first installment of her journal, including her time in Rome and Falconara.
Day 1, June 28, Rome
After traveling for a little over 18 hours, I finally landed in Rome. I have never been overseas before so I still could not believe that I was in Italy. I got my bags and started the hunt for the train that was supposed to take me into downtown Rome. Traveling alone, I felt slightly out of place searching for my hotel. Luckily I spotted the only two girls that I had known previous to the trip. They were just as lost as I was, but eventually we figured out the directions and found the hotel we were staying in. Hotel Assisi was a small locally-owned hotel and the rooms were about as big as a college dorm room. We were informed that three of us would be staying in one room for the next couple of days. We were the first three girls to arrive in Rome, so we dropped our bags off, had a slightly difficult conversation with the hotel manager about where to go, and set off to explore Rome. Although the two girls I was with were ACC opponents from Virginia Tech, we got along great. Our second challenge of the day was figuring out how the metro system worked and trying to successfully make it to the Piazza Del Popolo. Once we stepped on the metro it finally hit me that I was actually in Rome. We stepped off the metro and set out for some great sight seeing. The architecture was gorgeous and intriguing to look at. Around noon we found a little hole in the wall restaurant which had the best tortellini that I have ever tasted in my entire life. The Spanish Steps were just down the street from the restaurant and I could not wait to go and see one of the most famous sights in Rome. The girls and I spent about five hours just walking around and sight seeing. We finally headed back to the hotel to take a nap before we met up with the rest of the group for dinner. We all met for dinner at seven and spent a couple of hours just relaxing and getting to know each other. It was exciting to meet all these players from around the U.S. There were a few familiar faces but most of the other girls were new and interesting people to talk to. After the first day, I knew this trip was going to be a great experience.
Day 2, June 29, Rome
We woke up around 9 a.m. today, and Taylor Parish (from Virginia Tech) and I decided to go and see the Coliseum. The Vatican and Sistine Chapel were closed for a holiday so we did not get the chance to see them. Because these two places were closed, we knew that the crowds at the Coliseum were going to be big. When we got there, we immediately found a tour guide and signed up to go in a group tour rather than waiting in line for 2 hours. Once we were inside we followed the group for a little while but then decided to walk around on our own. You always hear how big the coliseum is, but until you actually experience it for yourself you can not really understand its size. After the Coliseum, Taylor and I walked around to see the rest of the ruins and architecture around that area. We headed back to the hotel to change and get ready for our first practice. We left around five and took about a twenty-minute bus ride to the gym. The "gym" ended up being a tent that was covering a rubber court. The coaches split us into two different teams and we started running drills. For the last hour both teams scrimmaged a local Italian team. After our practice we joined the Italian team for a pizza party. We headed back to the hotel and decided as a group to go dancing to celebrate one of the girls' birthdays. The scrimmage was just a small taste of what we were going to be facing in the week coming up.
Day 3, June 30, Falconara
Today we left at 11:00 in the morning to drive to a beach town named Falconara. The bus ride took about four and a half hours including taking a pit stop for lunch. We got to Falconara a little later than we had expected so we only had about two hours before we had to leave for practice. Most of the girls took a nap or watched TV until it was time to leave. The facility we practiced in was about ten minutes away. We split back up into our teams and warmed up. We scrimmaged each other for the rest of the practice. Although we were all friends, it became an extremely competitive atmosphere. After practice we showered at the gym and left for dinner. We ate as one big group at a restaurant on the beach. The food was good and we got to watch the sunset, it was gorgeous. This dinner was another opportunity to get to know each other and just relax and hang out for a few hours. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and called it an early night so we could go to the beach the next morning before we had to leave again.
Day 4, July 1, Comunanza
Today we got up around eight to eat breakfast and go to the beach for a few hours. The water was gorgeous and just the right temperature. All of the girls were just excited to be out on the beach in Italy. We left Falconara around noon and had a two-hour bus ride to where we would be staying for the rest of the trip. Comunanza is a little town at the base of the mountains, this is where most of the games and the ceremonies were going to take place. The coaches were dropped off at their hotel in Comunanza, but the two teams got to stay in a converted monastery at the top of the mountain. The town at the top of the mountain was called Montemonaco. This was where the other court was located. Our rooms in the monestary were small but comfortable. We each had our own twin size bed and a bathroom. We all showered and changed and headed back down the mountain for the opening ceremonies of the tournament. All of the teams were paraded down the main street of the town and individually introduced on stage. After all the teams were introduced they had a dance party for the entire town. Even though this was in main square where anyone and everyone could have danced, only the two U.S. teams were dancing. Eventually some of the local kids joined us, but the rest of the people just watched and laughed at our amazing dancing skills. Around midnight we headed back up to the monastery and went to bed after a long day.