IOWA CITY, Iowa — For former University of Iowa volleyball student-athlete Ashley Mariani, volleyball did not end after graduation.
The Arlington, Texas, native spent the fall of 2017 playing for VfB Suhl LOTTO Thuringen, a professional team located in Suhl, Germany.
She played middle blocker in her first season, and plans to return for a second season playing right side.
Mariani played in 65 matches over two years as a Hawkeye. She amassed 442 kills and 120 blocks in black and gold. She says her time at Iowa helped her take that next step in her volleyball career.
“Iowa prepared me for playing overseas by having a high level of training,” said Mariani. “Playing there, I learned how to make sure I gave my very best every day.”
Playing for the Hawkeyes prepared her for international volleyball, but the training is a little different between the collegiate level and the professional level.
“College training was more position specific,” said Mariani. “Here, I have been training to improve all of my skills, not just hitting and blocking.”
Mariani adjusted quickly, and she is excited to return for another season playing abroad, meeting new people, and learning about other cultures.
“My favorite part of playing overseas has to be playing with and against people from all over the world,” said Mariani. “Just on my team we have girls from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Australia, and of course the USA. It has been so fun to sit and talk about each others home lives.”
Iowa travels to Des Moines, Iowa, for a tournament at Drake on March 24 before competing at UNI in Cedar Falls on April 7. The Hawkeyes host in-state rival Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 13 and conclude the spring season with a tournament at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 21. Admission to all spring home matches is free.