From August 14 to 18, LCC International University’s basketball team was nowhere to be found in Lithuania. Instead, our fellow Moose members travelled to the Como area, Italy. The purpose of their trip was to play two games against international teams. However, little did the team know that the trip would become so much more than just a sports experience. To learn more about their experience, we asked the Head coach Marius Tamolis a few questions.
What did the preparation for the games in Italy look like?
The team started getting ready a couple weeks before the trip. Everyone worked hard and showed great motivation and passion for the game. Unfortunately, when it was time to go, Moose had to leave one member behind. Martynas Overlingas is one of the new recruits and at the time of departure he got injured and could not join the team for the trip.
Where in Italy did you stay?
We stayed in the Como area surrounded by beautiful scenery of mountains, forests and the lake. We also spent one day touring Milan. The culture and architecture of Italy is certainly impressive. While being there, it was easy to forget that we were on a basketball trip and not on vacation.
Tell us about the games.
Our first opponent was Lipscomb University. The team is nationally known in the U.S. for battling their way into the famous March Madness which meant being one of the top 68 college basketball teams in the U.S. The Game was extremely competitive, with us leading the majority of the game. At the very end of the game, one of the Lipscomb players hit a three pointer to tie the game. We had the ball with extremely little time left on the clock. Mantas Montvila drove to the middle of the hoop, right below the free throw line and got covered up by one of the opponents. Then, with only barely a moment left on the clock, our senior player Justas Grikstas dove to the hoop and laid it up with the board signaling the end of the game. We won in tremendous fashion (74-72). The difference in game style between the U.S. basketball and European basketball is very noticeable. Lipscomb is a private Christian University playing NCAA Division 1 in sports which is the top division of college sports in the U.S.
Our second opponent was Fordham University, yet another NCCA Division 1 basketball team. During the game we trailed behind and fought with everything we had but found it too big of a task to overcome the upset. The final score was 73-55.
What are the main takeaways from this trip?
This trip provided the team with experience, team bonding, teaching moments which will be very useful once the season rolls in. Moments like these stay forever in students’ memories and representing Lithuania is always an amazing honor. LCC International University is starting to put its name out globally with teams from the U.S. talking about us as the team who managed to take down Kansas State University a couple of years back. LCC is becoming known for being a small university from Klaipeda, Lithuania that play the game of basketball with their hearts out taking down collegiate giants of America.
Special thanks goes to Marlene Wall, LCC President, and Aiste Motekaitiene, VP for Marketing at LCC for joining the team to support and watch the games.
“It was a privilege to join the team in Italy and to watch them play with confidence and teamwork against strong NCAA opponents. This unique international opportunity was an amazing experience for our team, and certainly fits well into our international university culture.” – Marlene Wall