Lang Ping returns to
China as USA begin World Grand Prix
USA, June 23, 2005 – The first weekend of the World
Grand Prix is also a homecoming for “Jenny” Lang Ping as
the first-year head coach guides the USA women’s
national Volleyball team into action beginning on Friday
in Ningbo, China.
The trip marks the first time Lang Ping has returned to
her homeland since she was hired by USA Volleyball on
Feb. 7 of this year, and media interest in the
homecoming is obviously at its peak.
“I hope my players won’t be affected by all of the
attention,” admitted Lang Ping before the team departed
for China. “I hope they are able to concentrate on the
games and do what they’re supposed to do. This is an
important tournament for our team. These 12 players have
never played together yet. It’s really hard to divide
the work and the other stuff…the interview requests. But
I can’t avoid it.”
Pic: USA and China split their two matches in last
year's World Grand prix
The 12-team Grand Prix field is broken into three pools
that will change slightly on each weekend of pool play.
On the first weekend (June 24-26) the United States will
be a member of “Group C” along with 2004 Olympic gold
medalist China, the Netherlands and Thailand and play
its matches at the Ningbo Beilun Gym.
After playing against the Netherlands and Thailand in
the first two matches of the Grand Prix, all eyes will
be on Lang Ping and the Americans as they compete
against the Chinese on Sunday.
“I will look at it as just another Grand Prix match,”
she said. “That’s the only way I can stay calm and focus
on the game. I just try to concentrate on our team and
our game. I don’t think about it being a big deal. If
you take it too personally you cannot really work.
“I am the coach for the USA,” Lang Ping added. “I have
to concentrate on my team. I have studied videotape of
China. Of course, they are much stronger than we are
right now, but we still want to take this opportunity to
learn a lot of things from them. We still have three
years to catch up.”
On the second weekend of pool play (July 1-3), the USA
will play the Dominican Republic, Japan and Korea in
Seoul, Korea, as a member of “Group D.” On the third
weekend of pool play (July 8-10), the USA will play
Japan, Poland and Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand, as a
member of “Group I.”
The top five ranked teams after pool play will advance
to the championship round along with the host team,
Japan, from July 13-18 in Sendai, Japan.