Wildcats Host Top Chinese Professional Team

April 18, 2011

Kansas State Wildcats Chinese T-shirt - Purple

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Volleyball fans will have the opportunity to see one of the best teams in the world play for free this week when the Kansas State Wildcats host Bridgestone Tianjin at 5 p.m. Thursday in Bramlage Coliseum. Tianjin is the top rated professional Chinese club team and has won its league championship seven of the last 10 years.

"We're very excited to host the Tianjin club team here at K-State. It's going to be a tremendous opportunity for our girls to train with and play against such a high level team," said head coach Suzie Fritz. "We also get the chance to show off our amazing campus and extend some mid-western hospitality to our guests. K-State fans will really enjoy the fast-paced international style volleyball competition in Bramlage on Thursday and we hope to see as many of them there as possible."

The Tianjin club is on an American tour travelling through the country and playing a number of matches against university teams. Following its match against K-State Tianjin will travel north to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

K-State Athletics worked to find host families to house the Chinese players and staff. Ten families have volunteered their homes to welcome the visitors to Manhattan and the United States. K-State also worked closely with International Student and Scholar Services to find translators to assist the host families to assist with the initial meetings and meals with the players.

The match is set to start at 5 p.m. from Bramlage Coliseum and will be free admission. There will be reserved seating for season ticket holders, host families, Purple Pit members and K-State volleyball's Fort Riley partner unit Combat Aviation Brigade. Fans are encouraged to arrive before 5 p.m. as the national anthems for both nations will be played and host families will be recognized prior to first serve.

There are more than 1,000 students and staff from China at the university so this event represents a good opportunity for many of them to see their own countrymen competing. Director of International Student and Scholar Services Sara Thurston-Gonzalez said she is excited about the match and proud of the partnership developed while organizing the day's events.

"We are so pleased to have worked together with K-State Athletics on this event," Thurston-Gonzalez said. "What an exciting opportunity to have this caliber of an international team come to K-State. Students and staff alike are anxiously anticipating the match on Thursday."

The two teams will have lunch together prior to the match Thursday with fans able to come for a meet and greet at the International Student Center from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Other events have been planned for Tianjin to experience Manhattan and K-State.

Part of the partnership with K-State Athletics and the International Student and Scholar Services was to get the entire international student body involved in the event as this week also is the annual International Championships at the K-State Recreation Complex. During the match, champions of the International Championships will be recognized and championship events still to be contested will be announced.

Fans unable to attend the match in person can catch it online with a free webcast of the match at kstatesports.com. The match will follow international play rules with no long intermission following the second set. Instead, the teams will take a shorter break after each set, and to get more time on the court competing for both teams the match will be played the full five sets no matter the score.