March 17, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - UCLA women's volleyball player Nellie Spicer, a member of the U.S. Women's National Training Volleyball Team, will take part in the squad's three-week training tour of China, which runs from March 17 to April 6.
The U.S. team will play in four different locations for training sessions and exhibition matches against Chinese club teams.
U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach "Jenny" Lang Ping will use the tour as an evaluation tool for the young squad. The U.S. Women's National Team has qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, thanks to a bronze medal finish at the 2007 FIVB World Cup. However, the Team USA Olympic Games roster will not be determined until early July.
"We will test this group's level of volleyball, especially in how they can transfer what they are learning here in Colorado Springs into a competition setting against top international players," Lang Ping said. "We will have a clearer picture in a game situation for each athlete after this tour."
The tour will also expose many of the players to the international world of volleyball with limited substitutions and higher caliber of play.
"This group has been training together in Colorado Springs for two months," Lang Ping said. "We really needed to take them to play some international games and gain international experience, especially since some players have only played at the NCAA level. They have not experienced a different world of volleyball with the international rules."
Team USA is scheduled to arrive in China on March 18 and travel to Tiajin in He Bei Province and remain there through March 22. The U.S. will have an autograph session on March 19 and train through March 20. The Americans will play matches in Tiajin on March 21 and March 22.
The U.S. will fly to Changsha in Hunan Province on March 23 with matches tentatively set for March 24 and March 26. Team USA travels to Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province on March 27 with two matches to be played sometime between March 28 and March 30.
The Americans' final training stop will be at Nanjing in Jiangsu Province on either March 30 or March 31. Team USA will play matches at Nanjing on April 1 and April 2, before traveling to Beijing on April 3 for two days, visiting the site of the 2008 Olympic Games. The U.S. leaves Beijing on April 6 and arrives back in the United States on the same day.
Team USA will make a second trip to China in May for the four-team, round-robin China Invitational Tournament. The first round will be held May 23-25 at Ningbo, while the second round will be played at site to be announced May 28-30. The U.S. roster for the second trip to China will be heavily weighted with a veteran group who are currently overseas playing in professional leagues.
Other 2008 tournaments on the U.S. schedule include the Pan American Cup held May 28 to June 8 in Mexico and the FIVB World Cup June 20 to July 13.