Pac-12 All-Star team drops three to Chinese Junior National team

Pac-12 Conference

BEIJING, China – In front of 1,000 fans, the Pac-12 All-Star Volleyball team faced off against the Chinese Junior National team. After two hard-fought sets, the Pac-12 fell to the Chinese team 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-14).

“Kalei, Kalei, Kalei, Kalei,” sang the Pac-12 bench, inserting Arizona’s Kalei Mau’s name into the popular “Olei” chant of soccer fans around the world. Mau opened the first match with a powerful spike to the far right corner of China’s court to go up, 1-0.

The two teams traded points back and forth, with the Pac-12 taking the lead 16-13 on two consecutive kills from Utah’s Adora Anae. 

Anae finished the match with 12 kills and one ace but the Chinese Junior National team clinched the first set 25-22 to go up, 1-0.

In the second set, the Pac-12 found themselves quickly down, 10-5. After UCLA head coach and head coach of the all-star squad Mike Sealy called a timeout, the Pac-12 rallied with four-consecutive points to get China to within three. After battling for the final points of the match, China won, 25-22.

The Pac-12 began the third set with a new starting lineup but the Chinese Junior National team had made adjustments, taking the lead, 8-3. Arizona’s Mckenzie Jacobson tallied four kills off the bench in the Pac-12’s final effort before falling 25-14 in the final set.

 “I think that the Chinese National team is really good,” said Taylor Whittingham from USC. ‘They definitely are very cohesive and have a great system going. They had great serving throughout the match and they’re just great all-around players.”

When asked about the Pac-12 team’s performance, Taylor answered, “I think we’ve definitely improved in our cohesiveness, getting to know each other and learning each other’s tendencies in such a short amount of time.”

“I thought it was probably the best we played so far,” said Sealy. “We followed some assignments and I think we were better around the ball and we gave ourselves an opportunity to win a set.

“By the third set, [the Chinese coach] put in his different lineup and we had players coming off the bench, so that was a challenge for them. But overall I was happy with the performance.”

On Thursday, the Pac-12 team takes the court for their final game of the China tour before heading back to the U.S.

“For our last game in China, it’s about having fun and going out for a win and making memories together as a team,” said Whittingham.

They will face-off against Bayi Army, the Beijing professional team they defeated 3-0 on Tuesday. Tip-off is set for 4pm, Beijing time.

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.

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