Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pac-12 | Kelcey Dunaway “really excited” at chance to play in China


Washington senior part of a June Pac-12 excursion to Beijing and Shanghai

Washington's Kelcey Dunaway
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann
Kelcey Dunaway has a passport, but she’s never had to use it for anything other than crossing back and forth between Washington and British Columbia.

This June, however, that passport will finally get its first overseas stamp. The University of Washington senior middle blocker will join 11 other Pac-12 players on what the conference is calling an All-Star volleyball tour of China’s two most prominent cities, Beijing and Shanghai.

Dunaway got the word from Washington head coach Jim McLaughlin. “He asked if I’d like to play in China,” Dunaway remembers. “I thought he was kidding.”

The Pac-12—and particularly its fledgling network—has been open about its interest in cultivating Chinese connections. Last season, a professional team from Nanjing came to the west coast for preseason matches against Stanford, Cal, UCLA, USC and Arizona. The team, called Jiangsu, went undefeated against Pac-12 competition.

Back in 2006, Washington’s national champion team toured Beijing and Shanghai, winning two of three matches against a mix of college, professional and Chinese Olympic development teams.

This June, Washington will tour Serbia and Italy, making most of its players unavailable for the Pac-12 China tour. But Dunaway is set to graduate, and was thrilled at the chance to represent the Huskies.

“I’m really excited,” she said, “especially now that I’m graduating from college and getting ready to study for my MCAT (medical school entrance exams.)

“I like playing volleyball. This is an opportunity to play at a competitive level.”

Veteran USC coach Mick Haley will lead the team, with Utah’s Beth Launiere and Washington State’s Jen Greeny assisting. Twelve players were selected, one each from 8 schools, and 2 each from USC and Oregon. Colorado and Cal are not represented.

“They wanted our setter, Nicole Edelman,” says Colorado head coach Liz Kritza, “but she had prior commitments. They needed a setter, and we have no other setters on our roster.”

Another of Kritza’s players, sophomore hitter Alexis Austin, will be going to China, but with a different group. Austin will be part of a development team, assembled by a company called Bring It Productions, known as BIP. BIP is a regular provider of college tours to Europe and Asia, including Washington’s trip to Europe this summer. It also is one of the largest agencies representing professional Americans who play in overseas leagues after college graduation.

Kritza says Austin’s development team will have a similar itinerary as the Pac-12 team, “so the Buffs will be represented in China this summer.”

Meantime, we’re still chasing down the reason why Cal will not be represented. One source tells us that each Pac-12 athletic department was asked to pay the travel costs for any of its athletes selected.

Dunaway has competed against all her future China tour teammates, but says does not yet know any of them personally. “Although we have matches against them over and over, we don’t get a chance to connect.”

“I’ve seen ‘em all play, of course,” she says. “They’re incredible.”

2013 Pac-12 Volleyball China Tour Team Roster
NAME
COLLEGE
YEAR
HEIGHT
POSITION
Inky Ajanaku
Stanford
Fr.
190 cm
Middle Blocker
Liz Brenner
Oregon
So.
185 cm
Outside Hitter
Hayley Crone
USC
Jr.
175 cm
Setter
Shelby Dalton
Utah
So.
185 cm
Outside Hitter
Kelcey Dunaway
Washington
Sr.
188 cm
Middle Blocker
Macey Gardner
Arizona State
Fr.
182 cm
Outside Hitter
Marcelina Glab
Washington State
Jr.
188 cm
Middle Hitter
Natalie Hagglund
USC
Jr.
175 cm
Libero
Madi Kingdon
Arizona
So.
185 cm
Outside Hitter
Arica Nassar
Oregon State
So.
185 cm
Outside Hitter/
Middle Blocker
Lauren Plum
Oregon
Jr.
175 cm
Setter
Kelly Reeves
UCLA
Jr.
182 cm
Outside Hitter
Head Coach: Mick Haley, USC
Assistant Coaches: Jen Greeny, Washington State; Beth Launiere, Utah

Don’t miss …

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have your friends discovered Volleyblog Seattle? Number of unique visits: