July 11, 2013
DeKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois sophomore Alexis Gonzalez (Fresno, Calif./Bullard) and redshirt freshman Lauren Zielinski (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) will compete in Bring It Promotions’ 2013 European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia. The pair becomes the eighth and ninth Huskies to play overseas since 2005.
The tournament, which gets underway Monday morning, will feature teams from the United States, Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.
“We’ve had a real good history of sending our players on these tours and programs over the past decade,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “It’s ended up being a positive setting not only to play world class volleyball, but also give them a chance to have a better appreciation for what they have here and the level of respect for our sport.”
After a series of scrimmages and sight-seeing opportunities on Thursday and Friday, the tournament starts on Monday with a four-match, round robin tournament. Following the opening round, the top three teams from both the American and European pools will then play in a single elimination tournament to determine the champion.
While in Europe, both Gonzalez and Zielinski will be looking to boost their respective games for the upcoming 2013 season. For Gonzalez, she is coming off a spectacular freshman campaign that saw her earn a spot on the Mid-American Conference’s All-Freshman Team. The Fresno, Calif., native ranked third in the conference in service aces with a .305 average per set. Additionally, Gonzalez was sixth in the MAC and 85th nationally with a 10.27 assist per set ratio. Meanwhile, Zielinski redshirted her first year in DeKalb, but figures to be a key figure in the Huskie frontcourt this season.
Following the tournament, both Huskies will get the opportunity to travel to Venice, Italy, for a full day of sight-seeing.
For more information on the tournament and to follow the action, go to BringItUSA.com/GC13 or follow on Twitter @BIP_GC_2013.