BYU Athletics Blog | 2014

Day 12: Venice

May 22, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 1:23 pm | Permalink

The Cougars enjoyed their last day of their European tour in Venice, Italy, on Thursday. The team took boat rides and visited the island of Murano, where Italians have been making world-famous Venetian glass since the 13th century. The Cougars were even able to watch the glass making process and see glass sculptures made from the glass.

The team also saw St. Mark’s Basilica, an Italo-Byzantine cathedral and one of the most famous churches in Venice.

Friday the team returns to the U.S. after earning a 5-2 record against foreign opponents from three countries. The Cougars visited six different countries during their tour.

Days 8-11: Zagreb, Rovinj, Pula

May 21, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 8:28 pm | Permalink

This week the volleyball team has been in Croatia, starting in Zagreb. Sunday the Cougars went to church in Zagreb. There were only about 25 people in the branch. The team listened to the service via translators.

After Zagreb, the team moved on to Rovinj, a small Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea.

Monday, the Cougars explored the beautiful Plitvicka Jezera Lakes in one of the oldest national parks in Europe. The cascading lakes are known for their bright shades of green and blue, which change depending on weather, minerals and organisms in the water.

Tuesday the Cougars explored the city and the coast in Rovinj, then on Wednesday headed to Pula, another city on the Croatian coast. In both cities BYU played against club teams and won both matches.

Thursday the team will travel to Italy for the last leg of its journey.

Days 4-7: Vienna, Maribor, Zagreb

May 17, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 11:25 pm | Permalink

The team traveled through Austria on its way to Slovenia, stopping in Vienna to check out some sights. One place they visited was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, one of the most recognized buildings in Vienna. Its colorful tiled roof sets it apart from the other Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The team also visited the opera house and government buildings.

In Maribor, the team stayed at Dras Hotel, which had a volleyball court, indoor soccer field and weight room inside. When the Cougars played the Slovenia National B Team, they simply had to walk downstairs to get to the court. BYU lost the first match to Slovenia 3-1, but came back in the second match to win 3-2.

On one of their days in Maribor, the Cougars got to experience the Slovenian Alps. They rode a ski lift up the mountain to a giant alpine slide, ropes course and alpine swing. While there, the guys ate Slovenia’s famous sausage and enjoyed a gondola ride after dark, which allowed them an amazing view of the city lights.

After Maribor the team headed to Zagreb, Croatia, where the Cougars played against HOK Mladost Zagreb Saturday evening. BYU won in four sets, but the teams decided to play a fifth set.

Former Cougars to play in NORCECA qualifier

May 15, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 12:29 pm | Updated: May 15, 2014 1:17 pm | Permalink

Former Cougars Taylor Sander and Russell Holmes were named to the 12-man squad that will compete in the NORCECA Men’s World Championship Qualification Tournament, which begins Thursday. 

The U.S. will compete against St. Lucia at 7 p.m. MDT Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The match can be streamed live online from the USA Volleyball website.

For more information, visit teamusa.org.

Broderick and Bull named NFCA All-Pacific Region

May 15, 2014 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 11:19 am | Updated: May 15, 2014 11:25 am | Permalink

Freshmen McKenna Bull and Sydney Broderick were both named to the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association Third Team All-Pacific Region on Thursday.

Broderick led BYU with a .365 average to go along with six home runs and 31 RBI. She was No. 84 in the country with three sacrifice flies and was the No. 65 toughest strikeout.

Bull finished the season with a 3.04 ERA and 191 strikeouts. Bull finished third in the country in saves and was 34th in strikeouts per seven innings.

You can see a full list of the NFCA All-Region team at NFCA.org.

Day 3: Prague

May 15, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 10:38 am | Updated: May 15, 2014 10:41 am | Permalink

Tuesday the team visited Prague's new town and saw the John Lennon Wall. The Lennon Wall is filled with graffiti and is constantly changing due to new graffiti, mostly based on Lennon and Beatles lyrics. The Cougars have enjoyed getting to know Prague, especially its amazing architecture.

While exploring the city, they saw David Cerny's baby statues, which are 10 enormous statues of crawling babies with big coin slots on their heads instead of faces. Cerny is a Czech sculptor who tries for the shock factor in his work. (See image below of the team with the baby statues.)

The team has also gotten a taste of authentic food, including meat dumplings with cream sauce, blueberry sweet sauce and pancakes that turned their teeth blue. They've enjoyed the European cuisine so far.

The team competed against CZU Prague Tuesday. CZU Prague won in four sets, but both teams enjoyed the experience along with all the BYU and Czech fans. 

Kaneakua Friel adds to BYU players receiving NFL opportunities

May 13, 2014 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 3:40 pm | Updated: May 13, 2014 7:07 pm | Permalink

Former BYU tight end Kaneakua Friel accepted a minicamp invitation from the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, adding to the list of Cougars receiving NFL opportunities. Friel is the sixth member of the 2013 team to receive a chance to compete at the NFL level. 

Friel totaled 491 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 45 games played as a Cougar, averaging 10.2 yards per catch. He had a single-game best of 101 yards and two touchdowns in BYU's home win over Washington State in 2012. Friel was on the John Mackey Award watch list and College Football Performance Awards Tight End Trophy watch list in 2013. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound native of Kaneohe, Hawai'i, also played in the 2013 East-West Shrine game that features many of the nation's top players.

The following links provide more information about BYU players pursuing NFL opportunities.

BYU players reach agreements as free agents

Van Noy drafted with 40th pick overall

Reaction to Van Noy being selected by the Detroit Lions 

Day 2: Prague and match vs. Brno

May 12, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 3:03 pm | Updated: May 12, 2014 3:11 pm | Permalink

On their second day in Europe, the Cougars did some sight seeing and played their first match against a foreign opponent.

The team took a walking tour of Prague, which including visiting a church, climbing a tower and seeing the changing of the guard at the president's house.

Monday evening the team competed against the Brno club team, winning 3-2 (21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 19-25, 23-21) after a tough fifth set. Volejbal Brno led 14-12 in the fifth set, but the Cougars bounced back for the 23-21 fifth-set victory.

Freshman Tim Dobbert led BYU with 19 kills, followed by Josue Rivera's 15 kills, Jake Langlois's 12 and Matt Underwood's 11.

"We started a little slow, but we had 10 days without practice coupled with almost 30 hours of travel, so it took us a set to start playing well," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "We got the chance to play almost our entire bench, and had some great moments to keep the match alive in the fifth set. I loved that right off the bat we had a challenging match, and that our players experienced a tough road environment. Our hosts were amazingly gracious, and it was really an honor to compete with them."

BYU will play one more match in Prague Tuesday before heading to Maribor, Slovenia, by way of Vienna, Austria.

The craziest thing that's happened to the team so far (from junior outside hitter Phil Fuchs): "They overbooked our flight from Amsterdam to Prague, and Devin Young and his wife, Marie, had to stay there an extra night. Now that they are here, Devin's bag was lost, and he still doesn't have it!"

Reaction to KVN draft pick

May 12, 2014 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 12:11 pm | Updated: May 12, 2014 12:18 pm | Permalink

Day 1: Travel to Prague

May 11, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 10:53 pm | Permalink

The team reached Prague Sunday after a long couple days of travel. One of their layovers was in Amsterdam, where they were able to see a little of the city before their last flight to Prague.

From outside hitter Phil Fuchs:

"We are in Amsterdam waiting for our flight to Prague. We went out to the city to check out some of it, with some people going to the downtown, and others taking a bus to see the Anne Frank house. The weather is super rainy and windy, which made it very interesting to walk around. A lot of us were very cold. Some of us ended up taking naps in the Marriott lobby."

Check back for more updates from Europe!