From California, to Texas, to Florida, students have travelled from across the country to play volleyball at the University at Rhode Island. However, none have travelled quite as far as Live Lunde Fossdal. The Norwegian freshman has experience travelling across Europe playing both beach and indoor volleyball and has already brought new maturity and skills to the team.

“She’s brought some steady skills and she’s brought some experience,” said head coach Steve Santonastaso. “She’s played volleyball at a high level. I think she’s brought some intrigue too, just as a new person from a new country which I think is something our players are curious about.”

“To bring somebody in that has that kind of experience into your program as a freshman is important,” Santonastaso said. “She’s also a little bit older, she’s just been alive longer so there’s a little more maturity that goes along with that. Even though this is all brand new to everybody that comes as a first year student, when you are used to traveling around Europe and competing with your partner and having volleyball be a priority it makes it a little bit easier.”

Volleyball has always been a part of Fossdal’s life. Both of her parents played volleyball and introduced her to it at a young age and her love of the sport took off from there.

“I like that you don’t do one thing, it’s so dynamic and you have to have a lot of different skills to be good at it,” said Fossdal. “It’s just fun.”

The outside hitter has competed in various leagues across Europe, including the Mizuno League, which is the highest level of volleyball in Norway, where she placed second. As a three year player for the Norwegian National Indoor Team, she has helped her team to win the Novotel Cup against Luxembourg, Albania and Lichtenstein. Fossdal was also named the MVP of her match against Montenegro during the 2016 European Qualification WC U20 matches.

Fossdal also has extensive experience as a beach volleyball player. She is a two time winner of the U19 Norwegian Championship and won the championship third time as a U21 player. She has also competed in the European Championship four times.

While Fossdal has had extensive international success, it’s the morale of the URI women’s volleyball team that convinced her to come here.

“I liked the communication with the coach [Santonastaso] through email,” Fossdal said.  “I got a very good impression of him as the coach and he described the school in a good way, and the location is nice. It’s on the east coast closer to home. I visited in february and I got a good impression of the teammates and people. Everybody is so nice, they’ve taken good care of me as a foreigner. I just really like the team spirit and that everybody is close.”

The team is off to a strong starts, winning their most recent match to Siena College at the Holly Young Invitational with a final score of 3-0.

“She wants to bring what she can to the team,” Santonastaso said. “She always puts out a great effort and practices hard and plays hard. You can tell that she wants to do well for her teammates and is invested in them. I’ve enjoyed the seven or eight weeks that she’s been here and I look forward to many, many more opportunities to interact with her.”