Ellen Heintzman atop the 30-foot pole on the ropes course on Pohorje Mountain.

Ellen Heintzman Reports With Volleyball Diary From The Alpine Town Of Maribor

May 19, 2005

After initial stops in the Czech Republic and Austria, the Notre Dame women’s volleyball team, in the midst of a four-country European tour, headed south into Slovenia on Wednesday. Sophomore-to-be Ellen Heintzman chronicles the team’s first two days in the Alpine city of Maribor. Among the highlights were a pair of matches with the Slovenian National Team, as well as a challenging ropes course on Pohorje Mountain.

The team will be in Slovenia one more day before heading on to Venice, Italy. Check back to und.com for further diaries chronicling the trip, as well as a photo gallery covering all three of the countries the Irish have visited thus far.

Wednesday, May 18th

“We took another bus about three hours from Vienna to Maribor, Slovenia. When we arrived, we saw a new sight that didn’t include a big city full of tourists. This time that scenery was green fields and mountains. Our hotel sits at the foot of ski runs, and the windows from our hotel rooms are a sight to see. We were rushed to a spaghetti lunch in the hotel and then to our game vs. the Slovenian National Team. Again, the team was physical and experienced. Unfortunately, we lost in four games, but we are hopeful of another shot tomorrow. After the match, we came back to the hotel for dinner. We did a little communication/team bonding activity, as I partnered with RD [assistant coach Robin Davis] for the challenge. It had some unexpected surprises, but we all enjoyed it before going to bed to await another day.”

Thursday, May 19th

“We woke up early to grab breakfast in the hotel before heading up the mountain on the ski lift. As we rode up, we looked back on the beautiful Slovenian city below. When we reached the top, we beheld a challenging ropes course. There was a little shop, where a cute, old man – with a (according to Robin) “nice, approved”, graying mullet – named Marjan served us the best-tasting hot chocolate that we had ever had.

“Then we attempted the ropes course. The first group, which was comprised of myself, [head coach] Deb [Brown], [assistant coach] Louella [Lovely], Kelbs [Lauren Kelbley], [Kelly] Burrell, and Dani [Herndon], was a little shaky. But we did achieve our biggest accomplishment, which was climbing atop a 30-foot poll, standing on its skinny diameter, and turning around before stepping off. Then we swung from the mountain on a giant swing, which was an amazing rush, some of us going forwards, others backwards, and [Lauren] Brewster went “gracefully” upside-down. Then we attempted a little ropes course with our leader and pal, Buddy. We all made it safely across with only a few bumps along the way. We were motivated by the smell of food cooking below. We ate a little lunch on the mountain, including (as usual) some meat and potatoes, with a tasty strawberry and cream dessert. We rode the ski lift back down the mountain before taking a quick pre-game nap.

“We headed back to the gym to challenge the Slovenians again. Unfortunately, we came up short in 4 games again, so hopefully we will prove ourselves tomorrow against the Junior National Team. We did get to interact with the team at a pizzeria for dinner. Most of the girls spoke pretty good English, so the team all split up with the Slovenians and enjoyed the meal. After dinner, we took the bus back to the hotel for another night of rest to be fresh for another day in Slovenia.”