By Dylan Sortillo
Augustana men’s basketball
Today was an unbelievably eventful day filled with breathtaking sights and good times.
First we started off the day with a phenomenal breakfast provided by the hotel, then embarked on our journey to our first stop, Montserrat. This religious site is one of the most popular of the religious pilgrimage sites in all of Spain. This in itself is cool because of the vast history behind it so we were all extremely excited. Excitement grew from most of the guys as we whirled and winded on a narrow two-lane road in an enormous bus nearly 4000 feet into the sky, providing an amazing view we’ll never forget.
Once we arrived at the Monesserat we split up into our own groups. Some guys, including myself, and even some guys terrified of heights conquered their fears and hiked even further up the side of the mountain to check out the layout. Others checked out a museum that included paintings from world famous artists such as Pablo Pacasso, Salvador Dali, and Claudia Monet. After, our free time we collectively gathered in the Chapel and took in the moment.
Next we hopped on the bus and headed to our next destination, Sitges, the beautiful beach coastal village on the Mediterranean Sea. Many of the premier athletes and famous people of Spain reside there so you can imagine the quality of the village and the beach. We enjoyed our fun in the sun on the beach and the majestic waters and waves of the Mediterranean. Some (Brandon Schattner) spent a little too much time in the sun and got a nice sunburn.
After an authentic Spanish lunch, we headed back to our hotel to prepare for our nighttime game versus a premier Spanish opponent AET Boet Mataro. The program was recently bumped up to level one professional team, the highest league in Spain, so we knew we were going to have our hands full.
We ate a steak dinner at the hotel and celebrated sophomore Nic Uhlir’s 20th birthday, then headed to the stadium. We brought the energy from the start and jumped out to an early 10-point lead thanks to a hot start from senior Jacob Johnston. He even gave the “finger pistols” after a big three so you know he was feeling it.
But, of course they battled back and even took the lead in the fourth quarter with physical play and impressive European-ball movement. Thanks to solid contributions by everyone, including the energy from the bench and our fans we hung tough and gave ourselves an opportunity to win. Down the final stretch sophomores Pierson Wofford and Chrishawn Orange stepped up big and we were able to pull off a huge 74-73 victory. This was an ultimate grind-it-out game and was really big in bringing us together as a team.
Tonight we will go to bed happy and gear up for our flight to Naples, Italy in the morning.
Overall, our time in Spain was wonderful to us and we even came out with two HUGE wins.