Volleyball Coach Reflects on Team's Trip to Dominican Republic
March 24, 2020
The Webster University volleyball team spent the 2020 spring break March 6-10 in the Dominican Republic, where they played matches -- the final matches for several seniors -- held a clinic and experienced Dominican culture. The 17 Gorlok volleyballers and Coach Merry Graf were also accompanied by two coaches and seven parents on the trip, which was organized by the Dominican Baseball Camp.
Among the players that went on the trip were seniors Jenna Rodriguez and Sarah Jacobs, and junior Kristen Farrah, who all played their final volleyball matches as Gorloks., as well as the team's senior manager, Claire Martin.
"The trip was a huge success and left us feeling very blessed and fortunate to have helped the residents of the Dominican Republic while we were visiting their country," said Graf. "The people we met were amazing and quickly found their way into our hearts. This trip combined much appreciated service work with team bonding. We will all remember this trip fondly."
Community service is a component for several teams in the Webster Athletics program, which received national recognition last year for such efforts.
The volleyball team was the second Webster team to go to the Dominican Republic in 2019-20. The top-ranked Gorloks baseball team went to the Dominican Republic during fall break in October.
During their trip, the volleyball team played three matches, facing La Romana, Santo Domingo Club Calero, and Santo Domingo Centro Olimpico. The team also conducted a volleyball clinic with 52 campers in attendance, participated in a house painting project in a small village, visited an orphanage in Boca Chica and had dinner with some prospects from the Kansas City Royals and took some Dominican dance lessons.
"I thought our team did a great job with the clinic of getting the attendees involved and having fun despite the space constraints and the language barrier," Graf said. "At our final match of the trip, many of the kids from the clinic were in attendance to cheer for us."
On March 9, the team participated in a house painting project in a small village that
some of the parents on the trip helped with. After the house painting project, some
the players explored a nearby cave. On the fourth day of the trip, March 10, the team
visited an orphanage in Boca Chica that had 55 girls. At the orphanage, the team toured
the facility, played games and volleyball with the girls and watched the girls perform
"Our players also had a dance party with the girls and it showed how music crosses all cultures," Graf said. "The trip to the orphanage was by far a favorite for many of us on the trip."
Later in the evening, the team had dinner and had a joint activity of Dominican dance lessons with some baseball prospects from the Kansas City Royals. The group of Royals prospects also came and cheered on the Gorloks in its final match against Centro Olimpico.