Pac-12 Volleyball Falls Short to Shanghai in Three Sets

SHANGHAI, China – After a day of travel from LA to Shanghai and exploring the city, the Pac-12 volleyball all-stars competed in their first match of the 2016 China tour. The Shanghai professional team topped the Pac-12 with a three set victory (25-17, 25-14 and 25-21).

The Pac-12 team was off to a strong start in the first set, taking an early 6-1 lead over their hosts. As the team worked to find their rhythm, Shanghai pulled away with strong hitting from their middle blockers and held on to put the Conference team at an early deficit.

In the second set, Shanghai took an early and decisive lead that proved to be too much for the Pac-12 to overcome, clinching the second set 25-14.

The team seemed to settle-in during the third set of the day with a strong defensive performance from several Conference players. Sumeet Gill from Oregon led the team with two blocks and Adora Anae of Utah finished with a team-high 14 receptions. A late set surge helped Shanghai win the third and final set of the day.

“I think the girls did a great job and it was exactly what I expected for the first match,” said Coach Mike Sealy of UCLA. “We just haven’t had enough time in the saddle together to really solidify not only the personal connections but our team identity and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

“I think the third set was exponentially better than the first two so it was good that we started making adjustments and started to gel together a bit which is great.”

Taylor Whittingham of USC was also positive about the team’s efforts moving forward. “I think we’ll work on the little things like communication and getting to know who’s good at what and overall getting to know each other a little better.”

The game was hosted at one of the Shanghai professional team’s private training facilities. “It was really interesting playing today’s team from Shanghai. They’re very good and have a lot of experience as they have played together for a while. It was an honor to get to play them,” said Whittingham.

Next up for the Pac-12 is a match against the Jiangsu professional team on Saturday in Nanjing.

The tour is another milestone for Pac-12 Global, an initiative to promote goodwill and transformative life experiences through student-athlete exchanges and sport, and to showcase the Conference and its member institutions in China. Student-athlete tours have been organized in the sports of men’s and women’s basketball, as well as women’s volleyball. Coaching clinics have also been organized with Pac-12 coaches sharing their knowledge of sport with Chinese groups both abroad in China and at member campuses, as well as hosting exhibition games with some of China’s top teams in women’s volleyball and women’s soccer. This past November, the Conference hosted the Pac-12 China Game in Shanghai, becoming the first ever league - college or professional - to host a regular season basketball game in China. For more information about Pac-12 Global, visit http://pac-12.com/global.