South America Blog -- Lexi Erwin
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June 10, 2013

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Lexi Erwin checks in next for a blog series that will outline U-M's 13-day tour of Brazil and Argentina, which will include nine matches across the two South American countries.

Today shouldn't be about anyone other than Lexi Dannemiller because today is her 20th birthday! Some of the girls on the team, including Dannemiller, thought it would be a good idea to wake up at the crack of dawn and run some birthday 300-yard shuttles on the beach. After we gracefully ran in the sand (totally kidding, it was humorous), Mike Favre met up with us and gave us a killer ab circuit that definitely put a smile on his face as we struggled to crunch. After the workout, we all got breakfast and headed to either Sugarloaf Mountain or the Copacabana Beach for the afternoon.

I didn't go to Sugarloaf, but from what I hear, there was amazing scenery. You take a tram on a bungee cord from a mountain to the actual Sugarloaf Mountain and are pretty much looking down on the city of Rio. Lexi D. tells me that there were a lot of baby monkeys on the mountain, apparently very friendly. So friendly one actually jumped onto a man's face and then to another woman who swatted him away. They (Mike F., Michelle, Erin, Lexi D., Carly, and Kyle) took tons of pictures so everyone got to see what it was like up there.

I chose to go to the beach with the rest of the gang, and let me tell you, the waves were gnarly. A group of us (Molly, Olivia, Tiff, Jen, Ally D., Ally S., Ben, and Avi) swam out to the danger zone and I freaked out and wanted to swim back. Davis, Sabol, and I like to say we got an exfoliating facial from the sand of the ocean floor, because we got barreled by the huge waves. We were a little embarrassed as we rose up from the waves next to toddlers, who were handling them way better than we were. I didn't try again because in the words of Mark Rosen, that has been engrained in my memory forever rang: "First time is a learning experience, second time is a mistake." Thanks Mark! I struggled, but Avi King took the most heat from the waves, getting pulled under by a whopping five huge waves, making him our winner for "biggest struggle." Also, Juliana Paz met up with us and helped us translate with the locals, so much so that I got a free burrito out of it (I don't know what she said to get it though).

We met up for lunch and then headed for our game against Flamengo, who we had played already Friday. Instead of scouting us, I guess the other team's coach thought if he pulled Molly aside and asked her to "not hurt any of his players," we would back off, but we played even better and took them in three. (She didn't relay this message to the team until after the game)

Finally, to celebrate Lexi D.'s birthday, we went to the pizza version of a Brazilian Steakhouse, where they bring pizza to you and you say yes or no. The dessert pizzas were allowed by Leisa (as a hardcore sweet tooth, I was ecstatic) and they were unreal: chocolate strawberry pizza, bananas foster pizza, the list goes on. We sang Happy Birthday and then walked home on the beach to end another great day in Brazil. 

Tomorrow we leave to play at the Brazilian Training Center and I can't wait to play against some intense competition there! Go Blue!

For more on U-M's tour of Brazil and Argentina, including game results, blogs, photos and video, visit our Michigan Volleyball in South America page.

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