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The Sacramento State women's volleyball team's final full day in China started with a visit to the Olympic Green, site of numerous stadiums used in the 2008 Olympics. The Green, built in 2007-08, is home to the Beijing National Stadium (referred to as the Bird's Nest) and the National Aquatic Center (The Cube).

Following lunch at the Olympic Green, the team travelled to the campus of Beihang University for its final volleyball match of the 11-day trip.

The Hornets fell to Beihang, 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 25-15, 23-25), hitting a trip-low .125 as a team. Morgan Stanley led the team offensively with 11 kills. Madeline Cannon and Shannon Boyle each had eight kills as the threesome combined for 27 of the team's 40 kills.

Boyle (18) and Brigitte Murdock (13) both had double figures in digs, and Brie Gathright had a team-high three blocks. Murdock had two of the Hornets' five aces.

Stanley, Cannon, Courtney Dietrich and Lexie Skalbeck were playing their final matches in a Sacramento State uniform as the four were each seniors this past season. Cannon, Dietrich and Skalbeck graduated last month while Stanley will graduate in the fall.

Sacramento State concluded its final full day in China dining al fresco at an Italian restaurant in the city's Russian District.

The Hornets will begin the journey home on Saturday - a day that will last 39 hours due to the 15-hour time change.


Senior Madeline Cannon

Today is the last full day in China. Unfortunately, Weidi had to depart back to Shanghai a day early. Perhaps the one day we all desperately needed to sleep in, the Great Wall stair master did quite the number on our bodies and we rose early to say our good byes to Weidi. Some background -- Weidi played for the Chinese national team and eventually came to California and coached for 20-plus years at Sacramento State. A big reason we chose China as a destination is because of Weidi's integral role in our volleyball program.
Whether Weidi realizes it or not, maybe he will after reading this, he holds such a dear place in all of our hearts. Personally, Weidi reminds me so much of my own family, my mother's side being Japanese. He reminds me of my grandmother specifically. She had passed away right after I graduated high school, so when I came to Sacramento State my freshman year meeting Weidi was like seeing a familiar face again.

We often talk about our favorite Asian stores in Sacramento, the food we both like, and the many similarities between Japanese and Chinese culture. His presence in my life has brought me a sense of home that has often comforted me. His coaching, friendship and endless support means the world to all of us players, each one of us having our own unique reason as to why Weidi has fostered a special niche in our hearts.

Later in the day, we roamed around the outside of the Beijing Olympic Center getting to see all of the futuristic event centers. Once again, we were surrounded by hoards of Chinese citizens taking photos of us. I'd say, by now, we are finally used to the paparazzi treatment!

After the center, we boarded the bus to head to our final match. Just like the Nest prior to 2016, the training gym we played in absorbed all of the outside summer heat and jump started the speed at which we sweat! I was a little worried about how we would be jumping after yesterday's 1,000 stairs, but I thought we did a pretty good job competing.

After a quick bus ride back to the hotel and an extra quick shower break, we were back on the road and heading for dinner! Throughout the trip, we have flip flopped between Chinese meals and American meals, but tonight we dined at an Italian restaurant called Annie's. A perfect way to cap the trip, we sat roof top and got to enjoy the beautiful Beijing skyline. It was a perfect summer evening to be outdoors, only to be accompanied by an even more delicious meal. I couldn't have imagined a more picturesque night to end our unforgettable trip.

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