BERKELEY – After spending time on her third continent in less than a month, Cal middle blocker Lillian Schonewise plans on getting in some quality relaxation time – in Las Vegas.
Schonewise was selected to play on the Pac-12 All-Star Team that will tour China later this month, the conference office announced Wednesday. She leaves Friday for Los Angeles, where the 12-member team will gather, practice and then fly together the next night to Shanghai.
This comes five days after Schonewise and the Bears returned from a two-week trip to Europe, where the team visited Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, playing six matches in 12 days. The Pac-12 team is scheduled to play seven matches in two weeks.
When the All-Star team returns to the United States on June 27, Schonewise won’t be heading back to Berkeley or her hometown of Papillion, Nebraska. She is going to meet her family in Las Vegas for a week of vacation.
“I honestly don’t know what to expect,” Schonewise said. “I’ve never really traveled that far before and really don’t know what back-to-back flights like that will be like. But I’m not too worried about it.”
This marks the second straight summer the Pac-12 has sent a group of all-stars to China as part of the conference’s Globalization Initiative, an effort to promote goodwill and showcase the Pac-12 and its institutions through student-athlete exchanges and sport. Last year, Cal setter Alyssa Jensen was a part of the team.
“I have talked to her a lot,” Schonewise said. “She let me know what to expect, what to pack, what the competition is like, what it’s like to play with the other girls. It’s been really helpful.”
Oregon coach Jim Moore will coach the team, which will play pro teams as well as the Chinese Junior National Team. Schonewise and the Bears played the Chinese Junior National Team in a tournament in Slovenia during their European Tour.
In addition to matches, the Pac-12 team will be exposed to cultural experiences and will do its share of sightseeing. Planned highlights include visits to the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Silk Market.
“I’m very excited that Lillian will be representing Cal and the Pac-12 on the All-Star trip to China this summer,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “Based on her performance on our European trip, I think she will have a great amount of success. She will complete a circumnavigation of the globe. It will add to Lillian’s very exciting summer.”
Fans can follow the trip on Chinese social media, including Weibo – the Chinese equivalent of Twitter – and Renren, the equivalent of Facebook. Also, follow Cal volleyball social media for updates throughout the trip.