July 2, 2014
BEIJING, China -- University of Michigan head volleyball coach Mark Rosen and senior setter Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) were part of a 10-day trip to China with USA Volleyball's Collegiate National Team. The squad went 5-2 in stops in Sanming and Beijing, China.
Rosen, who was the co-head coach with James Madison's Lauren Steinbrecher, helped pick the 12-player squad after a tryout in late January. Dannemiller was one of two setters on the team and joined Michigan State's Kori Moster and Minnesota's Hannah Tapp as Big Ten players on the trip. The team started the journey with practice at the University of Southern California for two days before flying to Hong Kong, then to Shanghai and busing to Sanming.
After a long travel day and a scrimmage, the Collegiate National Team fell in its first match to Fujian, a professional team in Sanming. They then rattled off three straight wins, including defeating the Chinese Junior National Team twice to go 3-1 in the tournament and tie the Pac-12 All-Star team in the event.
The tour wrapped up in Beijing at the Beijing Super Women's Volleyball Challenge. Dannemiller and the squad defeated a pro team in Beijing in straight sets before splitting with the Chinese Junior National team.
Rosen had great things to say about Dannemiller's play during the trip.
"Lexi play phenomenal during the entire tour," Rosen said. "I thought she connected with her teammates really well. She did extremely well execution-wise, she did a good job from a leadership standpoint, and she just did a great job."
"She did a great job of adjusting to her new teammates," Rosen said of the senior captain. "It was funny, during the first couple of days; it was a very quiet team so we tried to get them to be more communicative and more connective, which was a challenge. Lexi, especially knowing her and knowing the style and the process, started being more vocal by the third day. By the middle of the China trip, they were all good friends and playing hard together and being unselfish. It was really impressive."
The athletes not only played seven matches, but did some sightseeing in China, visiting the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Dannemiller has this international experience under her belt heading into her senior year.
"I think she saw that she has the ability to play at the next level and really has a better appreciation of how talented and good she can be," Rosen said of Dannemiller. "I think I saw a new level from her, that she's seeing herself in a better light. It was good to see how she adjusted to being around new players very quickly, especially being a setter. She connected well with players she had never played with before, and within a couple days, looked like she had been playing with them forever."
Rosen and Dannemiller joined sophomore Abby Cole (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) and assistant coach Erin Virtue in participating in USA Volleyball events this summer. Cole played in the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., this past week while Virtue will be an assistant coach for the U.S. Women's Junior National Team at the NORCECA Women's U-20 Continental Championship July 6-14 in Guatemala.
"We feel it's great to give back to our national governing body and our national program, but it also speaks volumes to the level of respect our program has gained from the national team that they want us and our players to get involved," Rosen concluded. To have Lexi and Abby playing and to see them in USA jerseys is just huge. Erin has worked very hard to work her way up that program and to have her coaching the international team this year makes me proud. I think it's great for our program, but it's also a great statement to how far our program has come."
Contact: Kent Reichert