Rosenthal Reflects on Time with U.S. Collegiate National Team

July 19, 2016

Marquette University volleyball redshirt sophomore Jenna Rosenthal recently concluded her stint with the U.S. Collegiate National Team that toured China (CNT-China) earlier this month. As a member of the 12-person squad, Rosenthal was training and playing matches June 18-July 1.

It has been a summer filled with volleyball for Rosenthal, as she and the rest of her Marquette teammates embarked on a 10-day Foreign Tour June 1- June 11. The Golden Eagles were allowed to practice for 10 days prior to the start of the tour and then played six matches in Italy, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic.

“I’ve been playing volleyball all summer,” Rosenthal said. “It has been so productive though, because I have gotten so much more game experience this year. I really look forward to putting all of this extra playing time into our upcoming season.”

After returning home with her MU teammates Rosenthal had a quick turnaround before she boarded another plane, this time headed towards the West coast. CNT-China had two days of training in Los Angeles before spending an entire day flying to Shanghai, China.

Rosenthal was one of 12 student-athletes selected for this prestigious opportunity, and was the only BIG EAST Conference player selected, but she had some familiar faces with her from her time with the USA Volleyball collegiate team last summer.

“I knew a few of my teammates from our time together in New Orleans last summer,” said Rosenthal. “It was nice to have known and played with them on the court already, it was definitely familiar, but ultimately it didn’t really matter because all 12 of us became fast friends.”

The CNT-China team played six matches and practiced every day that they were not playing a match, but still managed to fit in some sightseeing time at the various cities in China. Training was completed in gyms that were not air conditioned and full of humidity, but most facilities turned on the AC for matches.

 

 

Rosenthal added seven points with four blocks and started three sets as the United States defeated the Chinese professional league team Jiangsu Zhongtian in Jintan in the first match of the tour.

“I had to learn a different approach this summer and go a little slower than I was used to, but I definitely learned to communicate better and more effectively with my teammates in these matches,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal experienced many different foods and an entirely new culture. She noted that the smog wasn’t as heavy as she was prepared for, but that there were a lot of cars and motorcycles on the streets all the time, which caused a lot of traffic. CNT-China traveled around on a bus from city to city and the 12-member squad even nicknamed it the “golden dragon.” And, Rosenthal noted it was much harder to get around than when she was traveling in Europe with her MU teammates because the language was completely different.

Among notable stops for Rosenthal was Beijing, where her and her teammates were able to stay on the Olympic grounds from when the city hosted the 2008 Olympic Games. She also made a stop at the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, which was a favorite.

Volleyball is very popular in China so each match CNT-China played was filled with crowds that cheered for both countries. The team moved from each city in order to draw more crowds for the matches and get as many fans in each gym as possible.

“I didn’t know what to expect, I was just looking forward to seeing the country and being able to compete with these amazing athletes, for the United States. We always play the national anthem before our matches, but it is so typical. Hearing the national anthem on the court, in another country, gave me so much pride for our country and made me very grateful for the opportunities I have through Marquette.”

After a long travel day Rosenthal arrived back in the United States on July 1 and was very happy to be home for the Fourth of July holiday. She had just a few days off before making her way back to Milwaukee for the remainder of her summer, which includes work and of course, volleyball.

“I am hoping I can bring back some of the “never say die” attitude that the Chinese teams had when they played,” Rosenthal said. “The Chinese team was so committed and so determined. I also feel like I have gotten better being exposed to different coaching styles and techniques and I hope that can help me provide some different points of views for my team.

“It was a great trip, but I was very happy to return and I am really excited to start the season with Marquette. I’m excited to play with my team and I’m looking forward to getting our season going.”

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