WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – The Pac-12 Conference announced Wednesday that University of Oregon junior Lauren Plum and sophomore Liz Brenner were selected to an all-star team of Pac-12 volleyball players that will play this summer in China.
The returning First- and Second-Team All-Americans are among 12 league players that will play at least six matches in two weeks against Chinese professional club teams in Beijing and Shanghai.
USC head coach Mick Haley will direct the squad, and will be assisted by Beth Launiere and Jen Greeny - head coaches at Utah and Washington State, respectively.
This team was selected by the coaching staff and a Pac-12 liaison and features five All-Pac-12 returnees. The squad is balanced between two freshmen, four sophomores, five juniors and one senior.
Position-wise, the roster includes two setters, one libero, three middle blockers, and six outside hitters from 10 of the conference’s 12 teams.
The 2012 Pac-12 Setter of the Year, Plum led the nation in assists (13.37 per set) last fall, and directed UO to the nation's top kills per set team average (15.95) and a .289 hitting mark that tied the school record and stood ninth nationally.
A recent Sullivan Award top-three finalist, Brenner stood top 70 nationally in both kills (69th, 3.92 per set) and points (70th, 4.39 p/s) in 2012, and ninth and eighth in the Pac-12 in points and kills, respectively.
In addition to matches, student-athletes will enjoy cultural and sightseeing visits at the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and other attractions.
“This type of tour can be a transformative moment for our student-athletes,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “In addition to the competition on the court, they will return to their teams with a meaningful life experience of visiting another country and learning more about another culture.”
Competition against Chinese club teams is nothing new for many Pac-12 volleyball players. In addition to international play like the Olympics, four Pac-12 teams hosted the Jiangsu Volleyball Team from Nanjing, China, one of the leading professional volleyball teams in China, for matches during the 2012 season.
“I think, certainly, our Pac-12 athletes and the Conference will benefit from the competition and the cultural exchange,” head coach Mick Haley said. “What's exciting about this trip is the experience of new foods, different rules, differing styles of play and of course the opportunity to make new friends. The quality of play in China should be exceptional. China has over 100,000 club teams and university teams that play in leagues all over the country. Chinese fans are extremely loyal with a great national spirit for competition."
The Pac-12 has a storied history in volleyball with 14 NCAA titles, the most of any conference nationally, while seven league programs have advanced to the national semifinals since 2001. Seven Pac-12 teams received NCAA Tournament bids in 2012, tied for the most of any conference in the country.
En route to a best-ever 30-5 overall mark, the University of Oregon advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championship - the third-straight year a Pac-12 team has played in the national finale. In the year-end AVCA Coaches poll last fall, No. 2 Oregon was one of five Pac-12 teams that ranked top 15 nationally.
2013 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL ALL-STAR TEAM ROSTER
NAME COLLEGE YEAR IN SCHOOL HEIGHT POSITION
Inky Ajanaku Stanford Freshman Middle Blocker
Liz Brenner Oregon Sophomore Outside Hitter
Hayley Crone USC Junior Setter
Shelby Dalton Utah Sophomore Outside Hitter
Kelcey Dunaway Washington Senior Middle Blocker
Macey Gardner Arizona State Freshman Outside Hitter
Marcelina Glab Washington State Junior Middle Hitter
Natalie Hagglund USC Junior Libero
Madi Kingdon Arizona Sophomore Outside Hitter
Arica Nassar Oregon State Sophomore Outside Hitter/Middle Blocker
Lauren Plum Oregon Junior Setter
Kelly Reeves UCLA Junior Outside Hitter
Head Coach: Mick Haley, USC
Assistant Coaches: Jen Greeny, Washington State; Beth Launiere, Utah
Closer to home this Saturday, April 20, the Ducks look ahead to their second of four spring scrimmages, and will play Western Washington in Beaverton at 10 a.m.
In May, Oregon wraps up its exhibition slate by hosting Portland State on Saturday, May 4, then plays at Oregon State, Saturday, May 11.
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