Lincoln - While many students are beginning summer break, the Nebraska volleyball team is spending this week preparing for an upcoming trip to China. The trip, which runs from May 18 to June 4, provides the Huskers a unique opportunity to both play and experience another culture at the same time.
"It is typically hard for college volleyball players to go overseas for an extended time, so this trip allows us to unlock opportunities for them," Nebraska Coach John Cook said. "Our team is going to visit places and do things that a typical student visiting China would not experience. That is what makes a trip like this so unique."
The team will spend time in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xi'an and Beijing during its time in China, spending time with UNL's sister schools Xi'an Jiaotong University City College and Zheijiang University City College, as well as sightseeing around the country. This is the Huskers' third trip to China, as the team took foreign tours prior to the 2000 and 2006 seasons as well.
"We are having the team take a one-credit class as part of the trip and we are using this week to prepare our team for what it is going to be like over there," Cook said. "We want to make this an educational experience for them, so we are going over the country, culture, traditions and history of China, but want this to be much more than opening a book and reading about it. We want them to learn everyday things that they will experience over there. We are going to learn about Tai Chi and not only want our players to be able to do it, but to know the history and the significance of it. They are excited about the opportunity to be immersed in the culture, and it goes by so fast, so we want them to understand what it is all about before we leave next week."
In additional to the educational and cultural experiences, the Huskers will also be challenged on the court with scrimmages against some of the best university and club teams they can face, and Cook said the competition the Huskers will face will test them for the upcoming season.
The Huskers will have their full 2010 roster on the trip, as the Huskers welcome back six starters, including All-Americans Sydney Anderson, Brooke Delano and Tara Mueller. In addition, newcomers Lauren Cook and Morgan Broekhuis will both participate in the trip, since they were both enrolled in the spring semester.
"This is the first time we've ever taken our entire team and everyone on our roster will benefit from this trip," Cook said. "Second, we get to play against great teams under difficult conditions and that provides a great opportunity for our team to get tougher and learn how compete when everything is against you on the road against some very good opponents.
"As a staff, we are looking at it as an extra third of a season with the training and playing in China, and that is something you just can't measure. We are going to have to pull together and learn how to compete as a team in difficult environments. The bonus is that we also get to see a great part of the world as well."
Media Information for this week: The Huskers will practice throughout the week, including two-a-days on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The best time for media availability with student-athletes and coaches is prior to the afternoon practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, which are both tentatively scheduled from 3-6 p.m. at Mabel Lee Hall. Other times can be arranged, depending on availability. Since the team will be doing team activities following the evening practices, they would be unavailable at that time.
2010 China Trip Itinerary
Shanghai - May 19-23
Hangzhou - May 23-25
Xi'an - May 26-27
Beijing - May 28-June 4