Milwaukee Sting club volleyball Italy tourney builds bond for nationals

Before they head off to college, many of them to play volleyball, the Milwaukee Sting club volleyball team wants to fare well at nationals. To prepare, the guys went international.

To watch the Milwaukee Sting's 18-year-old boys' volleyball team is to see just that, a team.

"I love playing as a team," said Ty Geschke. "I never played an individual sport in my entire life. I played baseball and basketball, and they all required teamwork. There's no hate at all in this whole team, and it's really nice, especially for as long as we've played together." 

With a roster consisting of 11 players from the Appleton area to the Madison area to the Mukwonago area, the team is made up of guys committed to making practice twice a week and making gains on the court. They have been in and out of the top 15 rankings in the country over their years together, but their number one collective experience was a trip to Italy in April.

Parent Colleen Bayer was dubbed the foreign travel coordinator.

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"They played in one of the oldest international youth tournaments," said Bayer. "It's in Pordenone, Italy every year. This was the 41st year of the tournament, and these guys are talking with people from Egypt, Germany and Italy, and there were Canadian teams, just everywhere." 

"We were the only guys' U.S. Team, but there were two girls' U.S. Teams, so we made friends with them quick because we shared common ground kind of stuff but then German teams, Canadian teams," said Ryan Geracie. "Who else was there? I think we were talking to the Norwegian kids for a while because they were fun." 

Milwaukee Sting club volleyball 

"I would say the parade was pretty fun," said Geschke. "All the players and the teams got their colors and their flags, and it's just like, everyone's cheering each other on. That was really a wow moment. It felt like the Olympics, honestly."

Whether it's at the Milwaukee Sting practice facility or halfway around the world, these guys have learned that volleyball is an international language, but they can speak a little Italian now, too.

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Milwaukee Sting club volleyball 

 "I got ciao, which is hello and goodbye," said Geschke. "That was a pretty popular one over there. Scusi, someone's in the way." 

"Parle anglais," said Nate Higgins. "I can order coffee. Un cappuccino con latte por favor, but that's about it, though." 

"We came back with grazie, thank you, stuff like that," said Geracie. "Just small phrases that we picked up along the way and maybe a few other like, choice silly words."

Milwaukee Sting club volleyball 

They also came back with memories to last a lifetime and a bond that they think will show itself at nationals in Orlando in early July. That will be their final event as a team.