Argentina - May 10 & Match 5

BYU head coach Shay Goulding addresses the Cougars before their final match in Argentina.

May 10 by Stephanie Lau and Kiana Rogers

Hola from the night bus! Today was one of our more relaxing days. We began with a little two-and-half-hour journey from Reconquista to Resistencia. Luckily, we were able to catch a few more hours of sleep because we didn't take off until 10:15 a.m. Upon our arrival, we checked into a hotel for half a day in order to allow our bus drivers some rest for tonight's seven-hour bus ride. Although it is equivalent to our November here, it was warm enough for tan-hungry Cougars to catch some UV rays. A few girls headed to the pool in (don't worry) one-piece swimsuits to soothe our bodies and minds with Argentinian sunlight. Others headed off with their per diem to grab some lunch and gelato (ice cream). "Siesta time" caused a minor dilemma on our hunt for a healthy lunch. For those of you who are unaware of what Siesta is, it is a time (generally from noon to 4) where businesses and other shops close down for lunch and time to rest. Some of the Cougars ran into some missionaries in the Internet caf? who were writing their weekly emails to loved ones. Besides eating lunch and catching up with Facebook friends, most of the girls used their time to get rest and relax in the hotel before the match this evening.

After our match we headed to the facilities' locker room in order to shower and clean up for our meal with the opposing team. The showers were a great refresher minus the fact that we all forgot towels and had to either air dry or use our jerseys. Our meal was served in a dining hall next door to the gym. Along with eating with the other team, we were joined by some stray dogs who, against advisement, were fed some of our leftovers. These leftovers included pork and a pickled papaya, which we really just fed to them whole. Because we were so charitable with our food, we stopped by a gas station to grab a few more treats to last us through the night. Hence we are here, on the night bus. No, it's not like the one on Harry Potter with the ability to squeeze in between buildings and does not include a Haitian head as a tour guide, but the seats do recline and we have flannel blankets. The destination of our ride on the night bus is a church parking lot in Rosario. We plan to arrive, looking our Sunday best, a little before 9 a.m. when Church begins. As for now, we are typing this in the dark and as quietly as possible to allow our tired Cougars to tuck their paws in and purr themselves to sleep. Buenos Noches!!

Match 5 by Jen Connery

The Cougars wrapped up their tour of Argentina with their final match on Saturday night, falling in three sets (15-25, 29-31, 18-25) to the Argentina Junior National Team. Senior Rachel Dyer led the way for BYU seven kills while sophomore Christie Carpenter added six winners.

Playing in a 9:30 p.m. start, the match began with four straight points for the locals before BYU rallied to tie the first set at 9-9 after back-to-back blocks. The two teams battled to an even 12-12 score before the Argentines took over with a 6-0 run. From there, the set was all Argentina as the squad scored 12 of the final 15 points of the set for the 25-15 victory.

BYU won the race to eight in the second set with an 8-4 lead at the mandatory timeout. Not to be outdone in front of the home crowd, the Argentines got back to within one point at 9-8 before sophomore Christina Measom found a seam to keep the Cougars ahead. Carpenter then repeated the act to preserve the BYU lead once again at 11-9. However, down 13-11, the locals scored four straight to take their first lead of the set at 14-13. The Cougars battled back with a kill and an ace from Dyer, and the two teams fought point for point down the stretch until the Argentines managed to pull ahead, 22-20, after three straight scores.

However, BYU responded powerfully with a 4-0 spurt to earn set point at 24-22. Dyer led the charge with a kill and a block. But the advantage disappeared just as quickly as it was earned after a Cougar service error and an Argentine ace erased the lead. BYU had two more chances but could not get the crucial score it needed to take the set. Finally, it was the Argentines who strung together back-to-back points to set the 31-29 win.

Faced with what could possibly be the last set of their Argentina tour, the Cougars fought valiantly in set three, gaining an early 6-3 lead before seeing the Junior National Team go on a 9-2 run. BYU would not lead again despite getting to within one point on three occasions as the Cougars fell 18-25.

The Cougars get ready for their final match in Argentina.

BYU head trainer Gaye Merrill works hard to make sure the Cougars are taken care of.

A ball cart, Argentina style!

BYU head coach Shay Goulding addresses the team before their final match in Argentina.

A post-match photo-op.

The countdown to Marisa Vandersteen's wedding is now less than a week!

Will work for food.

Our Argentine opponents and new friends love the Y!