Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - University of Arkansas sophomore Liz Fortado and the USA Volleyball Women's Junior A1 National Team began play Monday at the 9th Annual European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia. The tournament features 20 teams and runs through Thursday. The international competition features teams from the United States, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro and Puerto Rico.
The Americans opened play Monday morning with two straight-set wins. Pool play will continue Tuesday before tournament play takes place over the final two days of the event. Quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played Wednesday with the finals scheduled for Thursday.
"We went 6-0 today in sets which should put us in first (place) right now because of how many points we scored," Fortado said following the day's matches. "We played Pula and the Czech Republic. I'm playing six rotations here and doing pretty well."
Prior to arriving in Croatia, the team spent a week in Maribor, Slovenia, where it practiced together and had scrimmages with teams from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia. The European Global Challenge kicked off with a pre-tournament Opening Ceremony on Sunday evening. Teams will then depart for their respective home countries Friday.
Fortado is one of three Razorbacks to compete this summer for their respective countries. Emily Helm spent two weeks representing the United States at the China-USA Challenge, playing against the top professional teams from Beijing and Shanghai, while Ana Sofia Jusino just returned from the Czech Republic where she played with her native Puerto Rico at the FIVB Under-20 World Championships.
The Razorbacks' season begins Aug. 30-31 with the Arkansas Invitational at Barnhill Arena. Season tickets for the 2013 Arkansas volleyball season are now on sale through the Razorback Ticket Center, both online and at the office near Baum Stadium. Season-ticket packages are available for $50 for reserved seats and $40 for general admission seats.