by Dianna White
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - On June 7 two of Santa Clara's outside hitters from the Bronco volleyball team Katherine Douglas and Kayla Lommori, will have the chance of a lifetime when they travel to China and participate in a tournament in Beijing and Tainjin. This BIP/USA Development team is composed of 24 women from multiple schools all over the United States.
Tim Kelly, a friend of the program contacted the Santa Clara coaching staff in regards to needing a couple more quality outside hitters for the tournament. The coaches then approached Lommori and Douglas about this opportunity and both women were very interested.
The women will play in the first annual China-USA Challenge Invitational, competing against the top Chinese collegiate and club teams from Beijing and Veifeng City as well as the Chinese Youth National Team. Douglas and Lommori will be traveling with other top U.S. collegiate players, six coaches and Bring it Promotions representative Tim Kelly. The women will be separated into two teams, with three coaches each. "We don't know any of the women we are going to play with," said Lommori. "It will be exciting to get to see different personalities on the court."
Prior to heading to Beijing, Douglas and Lommori will train for two days with the other athletes at Anaheim Sports Center (ASC) in Anaheim, Calif., which is home of the USA Men's and Women's National Teams. The group will then spend 10 nights in China.
Beyond the obvious privilege of being able to play volleyball in China, these women have the opportunity to visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and get to go shopping at some of the best markets that China has to offer. "I am really excited to be able to sightsee in China," said Douglas, a redshirt-sophomore from Woodside, Calif. "Seeing the Great Wall and things like that is going to be really special."
"This is a terrific opportunity for Kat and Kayla," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "I know they will learn a lot on the volleyball court and they will also come back with many stories about their adventures and of the Chinese culture. This is a great step in their maturation process both as volleyball players and young adults. They will see international volleyball at the highest level in China and a whole new world as well. Kat and Kayla will come back better for it I am certain. I really look forward to following them on our website as well with their blogs on their experiences."
The women have been preparing on their own by practicing twice a week with hitting and passing, as well as doing weights three times a week. "Since we've had some time off in the spring, we are trying to get some reps in before we leave," said Lommori, a junior from Yerington, Nev.
The women look forward to having unique learning opportunities on the court. "I think playing with other women is going to be really beneficial," said Douglas. "It will be good to play with a different set of people, learning how they play the game, and learning how to play together with new people."
"I think it will be really interesting playing against another country in China," Lommori added. "Especially seeing how they play compared to how we play."
Both women are very excited to be able to experience the Chinese culture. Lommori has never been outside the country before and this will only be Douglas' second trip outside the United States. Tim Kelly has sent information regarding the culture of China to the women so they will be prepared for their journey overseas. The thing Douglass and Lommori say they are most nervous about is the food. "I have already packed two boxes of power bars because I don't want to get sick from anything," said Douglas. Lommori plans to bring stomach medicine as well.
The women plan to come back from their trip with knowledge that will prepare them for success in the fall season. "I think we are going to get a lot of experience playing over there," said Douglas. "We are excited to go into double days ready to play, and ready to win."
Both have their sights set on the WCC title in 2011, but first the Great Wall of China beckons.