Coundourides sees USA National tryouts as an opportunity

Senior setter Kyra Coundourides attempts to make a dig during the Owls’ 3-1 loss to East Carolina on Oct. 6 at McGonigle Hall. | MIKE NGUYEN / FILE PHOTO

Former setter Kyra Coundourides will join former outside hitter Izzy Rapacz and freshman defensive specialist Averi Salvador at the 2018 United States Women’s National Team Open Tryout from Friday to Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Coundourides, who completed her senior season in 2017, had her eyes set on attending the tryout for a few years.

“To be able to have the opportunity to make a team representing your country is amazing,” Coundourides said. “I always wanted this. When I saw Izzy go last year, I had a feeling I would be able to go this year.”

Coundourides will be in a field of 228 athletes trying to represent the U.S. in competition. Athletes who have completed their college eligibility and wish to play for Team USA full time can compete for the U.S. Women’s Senior National Team.

Those who are born in 1999 and earlier and have remaining college eligibility can qualify for one of three USA Collegiate National Teams. One team will play in Asia from May 20-31, one team will compete in Europe from July 4-15 and the third team will play in Detroit from June 22 to July 1.

Because there are a large number of players participating, Coundourides said it will be helpful to have Rapacz and Salvador with her. All three Owls will be in the “White Group” for the group tryout portion of the weekend.  

“It will be like a little home-away-from-home feeling,” Coundourides said. “Obviously, I would like to go there and be able to make new friends right away. We are all very supportive. We will be there to help each other and pick each other up to perform our best throughout the weekend.”

Coundourides and her teammates will arrive at the U.S. Olympic Training center a day early to adjust to the altitude in Colorado.

Coundourides said the tryouts are important for her because of the opportunity to continue her career after college.

She envisions herself as a coach or beach volleyball player after she graduates, but she would change her plans if she makes Team USA.

“I wanna see how my skills match up,” Coundourides said. “I want to see how I compare to players in the major conferences. When all is said and done, I will know a lot about myself as a player and my playing career.”

Coundourides spent the first two years of her collegiate career at Virginia Tech. After transferring to Temple for her junior season in 2016, Coundourides has made her mark on the Owls’ record book.

Coundourides recorded 1,253 assists during her junior year to tie the single-season mark set in the modern rules era by former setter Sandra Sydlik in 2015.  With 1,107 assists this past season, Coundourides also ranks fifth on the single-season list.

“This is the best way I could end my college career,” Coundourides said. “I was hoping I could do this. Now that it is in front of me, I am super excited. I get to compete with some of the best the world has to offer. This is something I know I will remember for a long time, so I want to go out there and make the best of it.”

Michael Zingrone
can be reached at michael.zingrone@temple.edu Or you can follow Michael on Twitter @mjzingrone Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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