PULA, Croatia (July 14) – By excelling on the high school and college levels, University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball player Morgan Hooe’s skills have taken her all over the country. Now the Seawolf senior-to-be has taken her game to the international stage for the second time in as many summers, competing with a team of fellow U.S. college all-stars here at the 2016 European Global Challenge.
An AVCA Third Team All-American and Great Northwest Athletic Conference performer last season, Hooe teamed with a group of fellow NCAA Div. II standouts – including Courtney Van Groningen (Wayne State, Neb.), Ali Cudworth (Ashland), Ashley Diedrich (South Carolina Aiken) – as one of three squads to represent the United States at the international exhibition tournament.
Before heading to Croatia, however, the team got a chance to visit Budapest, where it won two ‘friendlies’ against the Hungarian National Team and enjoyed one of the most historic cities on the continent. The next stop was in Maribor, Slovenia—which Hooe visited in 2015 as part of the Seawolves’ European tour—for more sight-seeing and a four-set loss against the Slovenian National Team.
Despite 2-1 losses to England—which featured three current Olympians—and the Italian National Team, Hooe’s squad reached the championship bracket of the Global Challenge with a five-set win over the Hungarian National Team.
Although on-court success was hard to come by in a bracket that featured China, England, the Russian National Team and U.S. D-I all-stars, the experience was all positive.
“I would say that this is one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on,” said Hooe, a 5’7″ setter who starred locally at South Anchorage High School. “The volleyball is tough, the girls I play with and against are amazing, and obviously the sight-seeing is incredible. I’m anxious to see how this trip helps my game improve going into my senior season. I’ve learned so much from the European style of play and I’m excited to incorporate it into Seawolf volleyball.”
The trip wraps up with a final stop in Venice, Italy, before the players disperse to their respective campuses.
Hooe and the defending GNAC-champion Seawolves start practice in mid-August and make their home debut with a free exhibition match Aug. 20 against the UAA Alumni. The regular season begins Sept. 1-3 with the annual SpringHill Suites Invitational at the Alaska Airlines Center. Call (907) 786-7811 for season ticket information.