Tickets on Sale for U.S. Women vs. China

By Bill Kauffman | April 21, 2015, 8:53 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 21, 2015) – The women’s USA Volleyball Cup has finalized its four-match schedule between the reigning world champion U.S. Women’s National Team and No. 3 China with UC Irvine and California State San Bernardino hosting matches on June 9 and June 12, respectively.

As announced earlier this year, the world’s No. 1 Team USA will play China in the first two matches of the USA Volleyball Cup held on June 5-6 at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center. The match at UC Irvine will take place at the Bren Center, while the Cup finale will be played at Coussoulis Arena on the CSUSB campus. All four matches of the USA Volleyball Cup will be played at 7 p.m. local time.

This year’s USA Volleyball Cup is a rematch of 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship gold-medal match in which the U.S. defeated China 3-1. The title match pitted two of the youngest teams in the tournament with legendary coaches leading their squads. U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly became only the fourth person to win a gold medal as a player and coach at the World Championship. China’s head coach Jenny Lang Ping, the only female head coach of a national team in the top 20 teams in the world, was trying to accomplish the same feat.

“We’re thrilled to bring the Chinese Women’s Team here to compete in 2015,” Kiraly said. “They’re a strong young team, and we had a battle that tested both teams in the gold-medal match of 2014 FIVB World Championships.”

“It is a special honor to participate in the 2015 USA Volleyball Cup, and even more so this year as we will be competing alongside the 2014 USA Women’s FIVB World Champions!” Lang Ping said. “This is a great opportunity to develop our young players.

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This year marks the third annual USA Volleyball Cup series. In the inaugural event held in July 2013, the U.S. Women beat Japan in a three-match series held in Southern California. Last year Team USA defeated then-No. 1 Brazil in all four matches of the USAV Cup with two matches played in Southern California and two matches in Hawaii. Team USA is therefore currently undefeated in the USA Volleyball Cup, and will try to maintain that record against China.

“Since the first year of USA Cup in 2013, we have all cherished this special opportunity to compete against the world’s best so close to home,” Kiraly said. “That first match in SoCal against Japan happened to be the first-ever match on home soil for many of our players, and frankly we knew almost nothing about playing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. We know far more now, and are thoroughly enjoying the support.”

The Team USA-China clash sets up many interesting side stories for two of the world powers of the last four decades.

  • Both the U.S. and China squads are young in comparison to most national teams, yet ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the world. At the 2014 FIVB World Championship, Team USA had an average age of 26 with five players in either their first or second years playing on the National Team. Kim Hill, who came out of an open tryout in 2013 to make the National Team, was selected most valuable player of the World Championship at the age of 24 (now 25). China was even younger with an average age of 23, including star player Ting Zhu at age 20.
  • Lang Ping, who led China to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games gold medal with a victory over China in the title match, led the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team from 2005-2008. She coached Team USA to a silver medal finish in her home country at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
  • U.S. Women lost to China in the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles and 31 years later the two teams will again meet in the Los Angeles area.
  • Kiraly and Lang Ping won gold medals at the 1984 Olympic Games for their respective countries on the men’s and women’s side – 30 years before reuniting on the volleyball court as coaches for their respective teams playing for the 2014 FIVB World Championship gold medal.
  • China played the U.S. in Hawaii during a preliminary round of the 1995 FIVB World Grand Prix, and this marks their first return to the United States since the 1996 Olympic Games as Lang Ping served as coach of the team that won the silver medal. In those same 1996 Olympic Games, Karch Kiraly was on his way to winning the inaugural beach volleyball Olympic Games gold medal.
  • Both Kiraly and Lang Ping are inductees into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.
  • Cal State San Bernardino’s Coussoulis Arena hosted a USA-China match back in 1996, its second year after opening in 1995.
  • China won that contest in four sets as part of a four-match series with the U.S. in Southern California.

Christa Dietzen, captain of Team USA that won the World Championship last fall over China, added: “I think it is wonderful for our sport to play China in this year's USA Volleyball Cup. One of the main purposes of hosting these USA Volleyball Cups is to have the opportunity to play the top teams in the world and that makes us better. But it also allows us to display our level of talent, which is among the best in the world, to our fans here in the United States.”

“Under the leadership of Coach Kiraly, the USA Women’s team has progressed tremendously in terms of technical skills and playing strategies,” Lang Ping said. “The team has a good balance between offense and defense, with additional quick attack on both sides. With the new additions on the U.S. team, we surely believe they are on the right track to become the next volleyball stars. We would love to learn from and share our advance techniques and strategies with each other, while presenting exciting games to the fans.”

The City of Anaheim is the Official Host City for the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Volleyball Teams where the teams train at the American Sports Centers. The USA Volleyball Cup was launched as an initiative to draw elite teams to the United States to compete in an annual tour series with the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Teams. Such events help foster local community ties to the two National Team programs and the City of Anaheim.