Jenna Rosenthal Looks Back on Second U.S. Collegiate National Team Experience

July 25, 2017

For the second straight summer, Marquette volleyball middle hitter Jenna Rosenthal took her game international as she played with the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team in its Europe tour throughout Slovenia and Croatia.

Rosenthal joined a 12-member team that first trained in Maribor, Slovenia before traveling to Pula, Croatia to compete in the 13th annual European Global Challenge, a trip that stretched from July 5 to July 14.

The U.S. team rolled through competition, notching a 6-0 undefeated record in play en route to the gold medal, besting a mix of national collegiate teams and all-star teams from different conferences. The U.S. bested Falconara, BIP Midwest and the Mountain West All-Stars in the playoffs.

“It was a testament to the team that we were able to focus,” Rosenthal said. “We were able to take care of business and play the way we can to just dominate.”

Rosenthal began her journey July 5th when she boarded a plane to Philadelphia, where she met up with four other teammates and they traveled together to Venice, Italy. In Venice, they boarded a bus that took them to Maribor, Slovenia for training and scrimmages against local teams. Even in a foreign country, Rosenthal felt at home because she likened the scenery to Wisconsin.

After training, the team traveled to Pula, Croatia to begin the tournament. The US swept its way through pool play and earned an excursion to a nearby Croatian beach, which Rosenthal points to as one of the trip highlights.

“Croatia has rock beaches, meaning it was cliffs into the sea,” Rosenthal said. “We went cliff diving—I jumped off a 35-footer and I had never done anything like that before.”

The team also spent time swimming in an underwater cave. Even though Rosenthal is the only Marquette player on the team, she had familiarity with some of her teammates. She knew Washington outside hitter Courtney Schwan from last summer’s trip to China and has competed against Creighton’s Jaali Winters in BIG EAST play.

 

 

Following the trip to the beach, the team returned to Pula for the tournament playoffs, where the U.S. dispatched the other teams, including a finals victory over the Mountain West All-Stars who they were unable to break 15 points against the U.S.

Rosenthal attributes the team’s success to the vigorous try-out process and said that even though the volleyball was not overly challenging, it still provided a great experience.

“It was great to be working with agencies and we ran into people in the pro world so we were able to ask them questions,” Rosenthal said. “Since it was international play, we were able to wear official USA jerseys which was really cool.”

But with preseason fast approaching and the opening tournament in Hawaii just a month away, Rosenthal is excited to get back with the Marquette team.

“Our team culture is so vibrant,” Rosenthal said. “Everyone has blended together well, we all get each other. I just want to see how far we go because with the right attitude, you can do anything and I think we have a really positive and hopeful vibe.”

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