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VCU Volleyball is spiking their differences and their opponents

In most languages, the name is the same.

"All I say is: Kill. Ace. Block"

That's a good thing for the VCU volleyball team. Head coach Jody Rogers has assembled a roster that includes players from 8 different states and four foreign countries into a team that has been as dominant as any VCU has ever seen.

They are 21-2 this season and have won 18 straight matches, the longest streak in program history.
Rogers literally scours the globe for talent and can usually tell within an hour of meeting a player if they will be a good fit for her team

"I recruit girls that are type A, have leadership skills, they're self motivated" Rogers said.  "It doesn't matter where they come from."

They come from Italy, Germany, Latvia and Canada, as well as Florida, Texas and Washington state. Being so far from home gives many of them a common bond that has made them closer than ordinary teammates.

"Everyone has the same feelings of being away from home, being away from their parents and friends" said senior Alica Kandler from Germany.  "We all understand that so we all know how the other person is feeling"

"When I first came here, I was excite but afraid because I didn't know what to expect" added sophomore Maria Gionnarini from Italy.  "But I'm really happy that I found these girls. They are my family here."

"We do everything together" said junior Julia Adler from Ontario. "We got to the grocery store, we go shopping together. We do everything together."

"You might get sick of your family after a while but it never gets like that for us."

That bond is no small part of their success. Where others might see their differences as a barrier, Rogers has learned that neither distance nor dialect should be an obstacle to success.

"We just get comfortable with each other and it's fine" Rogers added. "It doesn't matter what kind of language you speak as long as we're communicating in a way that's effective."

"We always talk about bettering the ball" said sophomore Gina Tuzzolo, a Newport News native and one of the few players actually from Virginia.  "It's your job to better the ball. It's not for you to get a point or a dig, it's for the team to get a point."

"Their maturity level is what I've learned about them" Rogers said. "I give them the room to be accountable and responsible and they're killing it"

"You have to make people around you awesome. You can't just be awesome yourself."