From Italy to the NCAA Tournament
By Kim McDermott ’87, WPAOG staff
Overseas trips for teams are a growing trend in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and current NCAA rules allow a team to travel once every four years. Over spring break this year, the Army West Point Volleyball Team traveled for the first time to Italy. Head Coach Alma Kovaci Lee says it has been a long-time dream to bring the team abroad. A native of Albania, she spent many pre-seasons training in Italy and knew a trip there would provide teambuilding and accelerated development opportunities for the players.
Kovaci Lee knew that the team would never have a chance to do something like this during the summers, when West Point cadets must participate in unit and individualized military training, so she planned for years to put together a trip over spring break. Offering a special thanks to families and alumni who support the program, she earmarked donations to the program over time to fund the trip, and credits team supporters for making it all possible. In fact, the entire trip became a reality due to Margin of Excellence gifts— donations from alumni, parents, and other friends of the Volleyball Team.
Some of the biggest supporters of the team are Susie and Henry Jordan, the mother and stepfather of team alumna Maureen Bannon ’10. Still supporting the program almost a decade after Bannon graduated, they say, “Maureen experienced a wonderful career at West Point largely due to her volleyball experiences. [Volleyball] provided her with leadership and perseverance skills and development crucial to her growth as an officer in the U.S. Army. We believe that international travel experiences provide unique growth and leadership opportunities for these young women athletes, in the tradition of the Long Gray Line.” Full story.