Lipscomb outside hitter Carlyle Nusbaum was selected to USA Volleyball’s top Collegiate National Team earlier this summer. After spending time on the European Tour in 2017 with the second squad, Nusbaum was joined by 11 other girls from around the country to compete with the top team in 2018 on the China Tour. The group completed a 10-day trip from May 20-31 that saw them travel to five cities as well as compete against top international competition, where they finished 4-1 in match play. The rising senior and 2-time ASUN Volleyball Player of the Year sat down with LipscombSports.com to talk about her time overseas.
“These 10 days in China were filled with new people, new places, and remarkable experiences. Over the time we spent in China, we traveled to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Jaishan, Nanjing and Beijing. Along with a number of other tourist activities, we took a four-hour train ride from Nanjing to Beijing and climbed the Great Wall. These are things I never thought I would be able to do.” – Carlyle Nusbaum
What did it mean for you to be able to wear the USA Jersey and play for the China National Team?
Being able to wear USA on my jersey has been a blessing and a dream of mine. It has always been a remarkable feeling to be able to play for something so big and at a higher level. I am very fortunate and grateful that I was selected to be a part of this squad.
Having now played both collegiate and international volleyball in each of the last two years, what are some of the biggest differences you have noticed?
In international volleyball there is a lot of traveling and a lot of games. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to play with a whole new group of girls that we’ve never played with and we only get a short amount of time to prepare. We only had a couple practices to get used to playing with each other before our first match. It seemed like we just got used to playing with one another by the time our trip was almost over. We all had to learn each other styles and how we liked certain balls to be set. In the end though, we just had to find a way to come together and try to get wins.
The style of play is also different overseas. They use international volleyballs, which tend to move faster and float more. Also, the teams are usually shorter than the American teams, therefore they are more defense-driven and have quick attacks. The teams we are playing against also have established lineups.
Was it easy forming a bond with a group of girls you had never played with before, to be able to come together as a team on and off the court?
The one thing we all have in common is that we all love volleyball, and we are there to make new connections while also bettering our game as competitors. Coming from different universities, we are all used to playing different styles. Some are used to faster sets and some are used to slower while others are used to different defensive rotations than others.
On this trip we practiced the first day for about an hour and then we had a scrimmage against a professional team directly after. That was a huge challenge because we had only gotten to know each other as volleyball players for an hour, but it was fun challenge.
What was your favorite part of the trip on the court? What was your favorite part off?
My favorite part on the court was getting to play with the girls. We were all put into a pretty hard position of barely knowing each other and having to play against some professional teams who have been practicing and playing with each other all year. We were playing for USA, so we had to find a way to represent.
My favorite part off the court was just making new friends and learning about them as people and about the different universities they attend and their programs.
What was your favorite site that you visited?
My favorite place we visited was the Great Wall. Even though it took us an hour and a half to walk up hundreds of steps, the view from the top was priceless. Not many people can say they have climbed the Great Wall, but I can and that is something I will never forget.
What did you all do on your downtime between matches? Explain a little on the travel and about the different types of food you got to enjoy.
If we were not sleeping, we were playing volleyball, sight-seeing, shopping or driving from place to place. The most we stayed in a hotel was three nights, and some we were only there for one night, so pretty much we were constantly moving.
The food was one of the most interesting parts of the trip. Some of the most noteworthy foods we got to enjoy were duck tongue, chicken feet and chicken heads, fish that still had their eyeballs, and eels with their heads still on them. Some of the girls were very brave and tried all of that stuff, however I was not one of them.
It was also pretty neat to be able to experience real, authentic Chinese food and their culture.
Tell us about some of the girls you got along with the best?
Two of the girls I really got along with were Becca Latham, a senior right side from Denver University, and Thayer Hall, a freshman right side from the University of Florida. We had a lot of fun experiencing new things together and we still talk to this day! I am thankful for the friendships that the game of volleyball and this trip allowed me to create. I will never forget it.