– Beginning Saturday, Razorback head coach Robert Pulliza
and senior outside hitter Jasmine Norton
will spend two weeks representing the USA at the 2nd Annual China-USA Challenge Invitational in China. The American group, comprised of two teams of top collegiate and professional players, will compete against top clubs from the host country.
“I am extremely excited for Jasmine to have this opportunity,” Pulliza said. “I think it will help her grow as a person and a player. Very few athletes have the opportunity to represent their country in an international competition of this caliber, and it will be something she will never forget.”
To start the trip, the team will have training sessions in Anaheim, Calif., which is the home of the USA Men’s and Women’s National Teams. Tournament play begins July 5-7 in Tianjin and concludes with another three-day competition in Beijing on July 9-11. The event is scheduled to feature the club teams from Liaoning, Shanghai and Tianjin. Each team will play six matches during the trip with at least four of the tournament matches being televised in China.
“Being able to represent the USA is such an honor,” Norton said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of international volleyball during our trip to China. I’m also really excited to be in a competitive environment as I get ready for my senior season with Arkansas.”
Among non-volleyball activities, the teams will tour the Beijing National Stadium (the Bird’s Nest) and Olympic village, along with sightseeing trips to the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square. There will also be social mixers with the Chinese teams.
“On a personal note, I am grateful to be able to represent the USA and the Razorback Nation on such a great trip,” Pulliza added. “There will be some great players on this trip and I am looking forward to helping them reach their goals as well as learning from them.”
During the trip, Pulliza and Norton will share their experiences through the Razorbacks’ website with blog entries and pictures. For more updates, fans can also follow Pulliza on Twitter (@RobertPulliza) or visit www.bringitusa.com. For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.