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Megan Plourde enjoys European pro volleyball experience

Megan Plourde is shown delivering a hit during her season with the volleyball team in Split, Croatia.

What does any college graduate do once they've received their diploma?

They start looking for work. For Somerset High School graduate Megan Plourde, her first job took her around the world. She spent the last five months playing professional volleyball in Croatia, a country in southern Europe. Croatia is bordered by Hungary and Slovenia and is located across the Adriatic Sea from Italy.

Plourde had originally heard about opportunities to play volleyball professionally in Puerto Rico from her volleyball coach at Colorado State University. When they didn't pan out, she joined a group of volleyball players who tried out for teams in Europe. Because the European volleyball leagues began in August, there were few openings available. The coaches in Croatia liked what they saw from Plourde and signed her following her graduation in December.

The hiring meant Plourde had to learn quickly about European geography.

"I'd never heard of Croatia before," Plourde admitted. "It was such a cool place. It was beautiful there."

Plourde said professional volleyball is quite popular in Europe, with Italy, Germany and France having the top leagues. Plourde has already signed a contract for the upcoming season. This year she will be playing in Switzerland, with her season beginning in early August. She said she's looking forward to playing in Switzerland, where more people are fluent in English than are in Croatia.

The experience in Croatia took some adjustment for Plourde. She lived in the city of Split, which is 15 minutes from the Adriatic Sea. She was accustomed to being extremely busy as a college athlete and business major. Suddenly, she had more free time than she's ever had. When she wasn't practicing, working out or competing, her time was her own.

She said it was initially hard to adapt, but she began to enjoy the more leisurely pace. She spent time at the sea and getting to know her teammates at the city's coffee houses.

Her team in Split lost in the league semifinals. She said the quality of volleyball was comparable to what she faced in college. She said the players on her team ranged in age from 15-28. There aren't high school sports in Europe, so top young athletes join these teams and learn the ropes from the older players.

Plourde recognizes the good fortune she has, to be making a career playing volleyball.

"What a dream," she said. "Playing the sport I love. It's my passion."

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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