Volleyball team to travel overseas for competition in China


Matthew Dyer

Sacramento State senior Madeline Cannon spikes the ball past two Eastern Washington blockers at the Nest on Oct. 22. The Sac State volleyball team will travel to China to play against youth, college and professional clubs in cities such as Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai. (Photo by Matthew Dyer)

Alec Romero

After a conference title for indoor competition and a 3-2 record to start the beach volleyball season, Sacramento State will take a five-game road trip to China this May.

The Hornets will play these matches over the course of 11 days against a variety of youth, college and professional clubs in cities including Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.

“It’s an opportunity for us to train more and get the different style of playing experience overseas,” Sac State coach Ruben Volta said.

Sac State was informed of the trip last April after nearly a decade of discussions with the program and the university since Volta succeeded longtime volleyball coach Debby Colberg in 2008.

“We became really excited when we were told of the opportunity to travel overseas,” junior outside hitter Shannon Boyle said.

The choice of China for the foreign tour was made in honor of former assistant coach Weidi Zhang who was affiliated with Sac State volleyball for 23 seasons according to Assistant Media Relations Director Ryan Bjork.

Before helping the Hornets to 11 Big Sky championships, Zhang coached for the Shanghai men’s professional volleyball team from 1980-83 and 1985-87. He also coached the Shanghai women’s professional team from 1985-87 and spent time (1983-85) as the assistant coach for the Chinese national team.

“(Zhang is) very supportive of our team (while) watching our games and is such a nice guy,” sophomore outside hitter Mikaela Nocetti.

The trip will cost $3,000 per student-athlete, which brings the Hornets’ total fundraising campaign goal to $65,000.

Hornet Athletics has a fundraising website which has a section for the trip with a YouTube video of interviews from Volta, Nocetti, junior setter Kennedy Kurtz and senior outside hitter Madeline Cannon.

“I think it’ll definitely help us bond more as a team since we’re going to be spending a lot more time together,” Nocetti said in the video. “We’re going to get to play more matches, especially when we’re there, and I think that whole team experience of playing in another country will be amazing.”

The program has raised $32,216 from 58 different supporters with 12 days left to reach its campaign goal.

“We’re still getting some funds in, but we have camps over the summers to help cover whatever doesn’t come in beforehand,” Volta said.

Sac State will complete its beach volleyball season on April 29, but the dates for traveling and competing in China are to be announced.

“Our alumni are amazing and we’re just very fortunate to have people that are so invested in this program and want to give Sac State volleyball an opportunity like this,” Kurtz said in the video. “This is a once in a lifetime thing (and) most college teams don’t get to do this.”