Now, their shut relationship helps them cope with dwelling so removed from residence. And, now snug in Grand Forks, the pair’s play on the courtroom has UND having fun with one in every of its greatest seasons in program historical past.
“It is actually essential,” Merseli stated of getting Tepavac as a roommate. “My freshman yr, I had no Serbian pals. Having her going by means of the identical experiences I do, it is so good.”
UND’s Serbian volleyball taste is usually by coincidence, though as soon as Preventing Hawks coach Mark Pryor landed a dedication from Merseli, he bought Tepavac on the Serbian connection.
However Pryor stumbled upon each gamers as recruits after wanting on the junior school All-American listing, particularly the freshmen on the record.
Merseli, who has a twin sister enjoying Division I volleyball on the College of Evansville in Indiana, attended Indian Hills Group School in Iowa and Tepavac went to Northwest Group School in Wyoming.
Each gamers got here to america as a result of American volleyball presents the chance to play a sport and go to high school. The membership groups in Serbia aren’t related to universities.
“I really like every part about UND,” Merseli stated. “I really like the amenities and workforce environment. That is an enormous a part of why I made a decision to return right here.”
The mother and father of Merseli and Tepavac have by no means seen their youngsters play school volleyball in individual, however each gamers have a robust help system again residence.
With a seven-hour time distinction between Grand Forks and Serbia, the Merselis and Tepavacs watch each match, even when meaning tuning in at three a.m.
“Earlier than each recreation, they message me ‘good luck,'” Tepavac stated. “I all the time need to reply to them.”
Merseli and Tepavac nonetheless have loads of postgame love on the Betty Engelstad Sioux Middle, although their mother and father aren’t capable of come to Grand Forks.
That is as a result of whereas strolling via the Columbia Mall final yr, the 2 UND Serbian gamers overhead a household talking their native language.
Merseli and Tepavac struck up a dialog, then a friendship. Now, these households—the women estimate as much as 15 households from the overall Serbia or Bosnia areas—come to the Betty to observe volleyball.
“They have been big supporters,” Merseli stated. “It is good to have somebody hug you after a recreation, whether or not you performed good or dangerous. Having somebody from your personal tradition, it is an enormous a part of ethical help.”
Pryor stated Serbia is understood for high quality volleyball. The youngsters begin enjoying at a youthful age than America, he stated.
Pryor additionally stated coaches are sometimes…