Coastal Carolina women’s volleyball international players. (pictured from right to left; Mariia Levanova, Ani Bozdeva, Jelena Prolic, Ilse Sinnige, Brigitta Petrenko).
Coastal Carolina women’s volleyball team has quite a few international players on their roster for the 2019-2020 season.
Of the international players, three of them are freshman this year at Coastal Carolina: Jelena Prolic, outside hitter from Subotica, Serbia, Brigitta Petrenko, setter from Eger, Hungary, and Ilse Sinnige, middle hitter from Gruningen, Netherlands. All three of these players come from an extensive background in volleyball.
Also, it is senior outside hitter, Mariia Levanova’s first year playing for Coastal. Levanova played for Syracuse University for four years before coming to play at CCU.
“I went to Syracuse to get my undergrad and I am here for grad school. I have another year of eligibility and I picked Coastal,” Levanova said.
Ani Bozdeva is a returning outside hitter, starter for the CCU women’s volleyball team. Bozdeva is from Razlog, Bulgaria. This will be her second year with the team and she is looking forward to having a younger team this year.
“This year we have a lot of freshman and not a lot of seniors, we just have Mariia, but we are a pretty young team. It is different when it is a young team because we have more things in common,” Bozdeva said.
They all have pretty similar reasons for why they choose Coastal Carolina. In Europe, once you reach the University level, you must choose to either play professional sports or go to school.
“In Europe, you can’t study and play together. You have to choose professional sports or education,” Jelena Prolic, freshman outside hitter, said.
Coming to Coastal to play volleyball and study for these players, meant leaving their home country to come and live in new place, without their family, which is one of the harder things about playing volleyball internationally. And for most of the players, this is the furthest they have been from home.
“The [hardest] thing for me is language. But, also, definitely being separated from family and friends,” Prolic said.
All of the players are hoping that they can walk away from this season with a ring and encourage students to come out and support them at their games.
The CCU women’s volleyball team will be hosting the Coastal Carolina Classic on the weekend of Sept. 6 in the HTC Center. The first game will be against South Carolina State at 10 a.m. on Sept. 6.