July 18, 2011
Dayton volleyball returning lettermen Yvonne Marten
and Rachel Krabacher
spent part of the summer competing in China with Bring It Promotions
in conjunction with USA Volleyball. The organization took the top collegiate players to compete in the China-USA Challenge Invitational Tournament.
Below, Marten and Krabacher blog about their experiences in competing for the BIP/USA Development Blue Team
Off-the-Court Experiences > by Rachel Krabacher
On Wednesday, June 6, Yvonne and I flew to Los Angeles, California with 22 other volleyball players and six coaches. After two days of practices, we went to LAX to prepare for our flight to Beijing. Our flight took off at 12:50 a.m. on Thursday – Yvonne’s birthday! Due to the time changes that occurred flying to the other side of the world, Von only got to celebrate her birthday for fifty minutes, which doesn’t allow for a very eventful 23rd. At 4:00 p.m., Dayton time – or 5:00 a.m., Korea time – we arrived in the Korean airport. During our four-hour layover, many of us chose to nap on the benches in the airport. When I woke up to a bunch of people standing around me speaking a foreign language, I realized I truly wasn’t in Dayton anymore. A couple hours later we arrived in Beijing with a twelve hour time difference from home.
A major difference we soon realized in China was in the bathrooms. They only have a few normal toilets over there, the rest are ceramic holes in the ground that flushed. Although initially weirded-out by these, the team eventually realized that we must figure out a way to use these toilets!
After this experience, we found a KFC in the airport. Finally we had found something we were used to, or we thought. Once we arrived to the KFC, the menu was in Chinese, the prices were in Chinese money, and the menu items looked quite interesting. For example, on the dessert menu there were beans with crushed ice and jelly. Finally we got on our bus and headed to Weifang. This bus trip was supposed to be about five hours, and ended up being around nine. After many hours of driving through fields and traffic jams with terrible drivers, as well as reversing on the highway ramps, we finally arrived at 8:30 p.m., local time. Although it was rock hard, we finally had a bed where we could relax our swollen ankles due to an incredibly long trip.
The hotel provided us with all of our meals, these were pretty typical Chinese dishes served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They even served us rice and chicken for breakfast. Some of the dishes were quite interesting, for example fish was served with the head still attached, and the chicken, although carved, was served with the head on the platter.
On Saturday afternoon after practice, all the teams in the tournament had a welcome banquet. This consisted of a dinner and a talent show with many interesting acts. Being in Weifang, the people do not see very many Americans. Many of the people took pictures of us as well as asked for autographs. It was like we were famous.
The next morning, we went to the vegetable garden. This market is very famous in Weifang and had many different sculptures made out of rice, peppers and beans. Yvonne even commented that these gardens were like Willy Wonka’s factory except everything was made out of vegetables.
When we were finished in Weifang, we travelled the long bus trip back to Beijing, which was much more Americanized. Upon our arrival, we went to the Silk Market. At this market, we had to bargain with the vendors as they tried to rip us off. Our interpreter taught us some phrases which would help us in making many great deals over the next few days!
In Beijing we also got to see some of the culture as we went to an acrobatic show, a famous duck restaurant and even got to climb the Great Wall. This wall really is massive and was pretty tough to climb with the steep steps and slopes. Another major tourist attraction we got to see was the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. These sites had very intricate buildings that showed the history of the country.
Overall, China was a great experience. Although we definitely did not blend in at all, we learned as best as we could to interact with the people. The trip ended with an extremely long flight home and many wonderful memories not only of volleyball but also the Chinese culture.
See you in Frericks this Fall!!!
On-the-Court Competition > by Yvonne Marten
The competition was great. There were three American teams traveling together: the Blue Team, the Red Team and Stanford University's team. The three American teams never played each other in competition but in both tournaments our team finished above the rest of the American teams.
In the first tournament in Wiefang we finished fourth behind the three Chinese teams even though our record was 1-2, the way the ranking worked out we got fourth. Our win was over the Shandong Normal University team. In our second tournament in Beijing we finished with a record of 2-1. Our only loss was in a hard-fought five-set match against BUAA Bei Hang University.
We came together much better at the end of our trip than we initially started off. The Chinese teams were very good. Many of them ran extremely fast offenses and had remarkable floor defense. Even out of system their setters were pushing the tempo and keeping things quick. It was an adjustment from the high balls that many girls on our team were accustomed to seeing out of system. Our ability to adapt and adjust as the games progressed contributed to our success in the end.
One of the Chinese teams, Shandong – who our team lost in three sets in the first tournament – was also competing in our second tournament. The second time we played them we came out much stronger and were able to defeat them in four games.
It was such a great experience and was fun to play with new people against opponents with very different styles of play than us.