Pac-12 announces 2016 Pac-12 volleyball tour to China

SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Conference announced its 12-member volleyball all-star team that will travel to China this summer from June 18-July 1. The team, which will be led by UCLA head coach Michael Sealy, features representatives from 11 of the Conference’s institutions, including four All-Pac-12 performers.

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.

The 12-member all-star volleyball team includes a player from 11 of the Pac-12 institutions and will play six matches while in China from June 19-July 1 against Chinese club and national teams. In addition to the matches, the student-athletes will enjoy cultural and sightseeing visits to Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing. Previous all-star teams have made visits to the Great Wall, Forbidden City and other attractions.

“I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to coach the Pac-12 All Star team,” said sixth-year UCLA head coach Michael Sealy, who was named head coach of the squad. “I am looking forward to spending time with a great group of athletes and coaches and accepting the challenge of coming together in a very short period of  time to play against very talented opponents in a place that celebrates and supports volleyball. It is going to be an amazing life experience.”

The head coach of the 2011 NCAA Champion UCLA squad, Sealy led the 2015 Bruins to a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12. He will get assistance from current assistant coaches ARIZONA’s Charita Stubbs and UTAH’s Malia Shoji.

Leading the way on the all-star team is UTAH’s Adora Anae (Laie, Hawai’i), an All-Pac-12 honoree as a sophomore. Anae was fourth in the Conference with a 4.25 kills per set average, while ranking second in points per set (4.71), as well as honorable mention AVCA All-American Taylor Whittingham (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) of USC. All-Pac-12 performers Kalei Mau (Kahaluu, Hawai’l) of ARIZONA and WASHINGTON STATE’s Kyra Holt (Hercules, Calif.) were also picked. Mau ranked third in the Pac-12 in kps (4.33) and pps (4.71), while Holt had a service aces average of 0.32 to rank fourth in the Pac-12 and the sixth-best kills average at 3.91.

Mau will be joined by teammate McKenzie Jacobson (Fresno, Calif.), as well as ARIZONA STATE’s BreElle Bailey (Highland, Utah), CALIFORNIA’s Jenelle Jordan (Houston, Texas) and COLORADO’s Gabby Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Simpson was also ranked among the Conference’s top hitters, averaging 3.41 kps and 3.97 pps, good for 10th- and ninth-best in the league, respectively.

The only freshman to be selected is OREGON’s Sumeet Gill (Elk Grove, Calif.) after playing in 21 matches in the fall, while starting in 18 and averaging 0.77 blocks per set. STANFORD’s Kelsey Humphreys (Newport Beach, Calif.), UCLA’s Reily Buechler (Del Mar, Calif.) and WASHINGTON’s Bailey Tanner (San Clemente, Calif.) will also wear the Pac-12 uniform in China.

Also making the trip to China is Emily Johnson who has been a member of the UA athletic training staff for eight years working with the women’s volleyball and beach volleyball teams.

The Pac-12 has a storied history of women’s volleyball with 14 NCAA titles to its credit, the most of any conference. League teams earned seven NCAA Tournament bids in 2015, marking the the fifth-consecutive year at least seven Pac-12 teams earned bids.

Below is the schedule for the Pac-12 All-Star team with opponents being announced at a later date.

June 18 - Team meets in Los Angeles for practice
June 19 - Team departs Los Angeles for Shanghai 
June 21-22 - Practice and sight-seeing in Shanghai 
June 23-25 - Team will be in Nanjing; Games vs. Opponents (TBD)
June 26-July 1 - Team will be in Beijing; Sight-seeing and games vs. opponents (TBD) 
July 1 - Return to the U.S.

Fast Facts about Pac-12 Global:

  • Since starting the initiative in 2011, the Pac-12 has sent two men’s (UCLA, Arizona State) and the Cal women’s basketball teams, two all-star women’s volleyball teams, and one all-star men’s basketball team to compete in China.
  • In November 2015, the Pac-12 became the first U.S. sports league, collegiate or professional, to host a regular season contest in China with the Pac-12 China Game - a men's basketball contest between University of Washington and University of Texas
  • In the U.S., the Pac-12 has hosted three U.S.-China Symposiums on Collegiate Sports Development at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Pac-12 Basketball Tournaments. 
  • Across Pac-12 institutions (undergrad and graduate), international students make up roughly 14 percent of the student body. 
  • More than 21,000 students (undergrad and grad) at Pac-12 institutions are from China.