Lincoln – The Nebraska volleyball team left Lincoln on Tuesday for a 19-day trip to Japan and China where the Huskers will have the unique opportunity to both play against international competition and experience another culture.
The team will spend time training in Tokyo, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Tianjin and Beijing as well as sightseeing around Japan and China. This is the Huskers’ fourth trip to Asia, as the team took foreign tours prior to the 2000, 2006 and 2010 seasons as well.
In additional to the educational and cultural experiences, the Huskers will also be challenged on the court with scrimmages against some of the best pro teams in the world. Cook expects the competition the Huskers will face will test them for the upcoming season.
In the Huskers’ previous trips to Asia, the team played mostly university and junior teams without fans attending the matches. This year they will play in front of fans and possible sell-out crowds. In Japan the Huskers will play the NEC Red Rockets and Ageo Medics of the Japan Premier League, while NU will face the Shanghai Dunlap, Zhejiang New Century, Tianjin Bohai Bank and Bayi in China.
Twelve Huskers will make the trip for NU, while Cook expects the competition to continue to help the Huskers through their training for the 2014 season.
“If you were a tennis player and got to play against Venus Williams every day, your game is going to get better. For us, that’s what I’m looking for,” Cook said. “We’ve been talking about it and training it, but until you actually play it. ... All of a sudden, you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, now I get it. Now I see how fast they are. Now I see how good they pass and play defense. Wow, I've got to serve tougher now because it’s like free balls for them.’ There is a lot of learning that goes on this trip, and I think that’s why our teams have been so successful post-Asia trips.”
The Huskers won NCAA titles following international trips in 2000 and 2006 and advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinal in 2010.
Fans can follow along with the team through player blogs that will be posted on Huskers.com. The Huskers will also be documenting their experience on the official Nebraska Volleyball Instagram account, HuskerVolleyball.
2014 Japan and China Trip Itinerary
Tokyo (Kawasaki City) – June 19-21
Tokyo (Ageo City) - June 21-24
Shanghai- June 25-26
Zhejiang (Cixi and Deqing)- June 27-28
Tianjin- June 29-July 2
Beijing- July 2-4