The Sacramento State women's volleyball team set out early on Thursday for a morning match on the campus of Beijing Sports University.

Led by Shannon Boyle's 13-kill, 15-dig performance, the Hornets stayed close throughout the match before ultimately falling in four sets, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20.

Boyle, who will be a senior in the fall, also hit .355 and had a pair of aces. Madeline Cannon added nine kills and a team-best .571 hitting percentage, and Morgan Stanley finished with 13 kills. Brie Gathright had a team-best five blocks and a .333 hitting percentage, and Brigitte Murdock rounded out the Hornets with double figures in digs as she finished with 10. As a team, Sacramento State finished with a .252 hitting percentage.

After the early match, the afternoon was reserved for a trip to the Great Wall. The team set for the one-hour journey to the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall and this steep stretch took their breath away both figuratively and literally. With a climb from the base to the highest point coming in at over 1,000 meters, the team set out to make the climb after having played a morning match. The team was up to the challenge and made the difficult trek look easy.

Sacramento State will play its final match in China on Friday at 1 a.m. PDT (4 p.m. local time) against Beihang University. The match will be broadcast live on the internet, and information will be released later today on how to obtain the video stream. Today marked the ninth day of the Hornets' 11-day tour of China. The team returns to the United States on June 10.

Editor's note: As the Hornet volleyball team has found out over the last two days, the scope and size of just about everything in Beijing is big - really, really big. With a population of 24.9 million, the city of Beijing covers 16,800 square kilometers, or about 6,500 square miles. Interestingly, the city won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, joining a very small fraternity of cities to host both a Summer and Winter Olympics. The actual venue for the games is located outside the province that houses Beijing, so the city did the only logical thing it could do - expand its rural footprint to now include the Winter Games within its outlying area.


Junior Hannah Meadows

As usual, the Hornets did not get a punctual head start to begin the day as Brie forgot her shoes (no pat on the back for you this time Brie) before we left the hotel. So, 7:30 a.m. really turned into 7:53 a.m. On our way to the game, we were informed that today cars with license plates that end in numbers 1 or 6 could not drive between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. which we all though was pretty bizarre. It randomly changes every day and it limits the amount of cars on the road.
When we arrived at the gym, the other coach was generous enough to give us extra time to warm up since we were very late getting there. The game didn't go as we would have liked, but we have been playing better than previous games. After the match, we ordered pizza that was brought onto the bus and was devoured within minutes as we ventured to The Great Wall.

When we arrived at The Great Wall, I don't think anyone was expecting what we were going to do exactly, I definitely did not. We got dropped off and our tour guide walked us to the start of the stairs and said he was going to wait at the bottom for us since he's been so many times. Because we were all so eager to get going, all of our adrenaline was pumping as we began our adventure to the top. I didn't realize how many flights of stairs we were going to be climbing so I decided to run halfway up the first flight of stairs...thinking back now, that was a terrible idea. We all kept stopping to take "picture" breaks which were really meant to catch our breath. About halfway up, there were souvenir shops which Paige and I stopped at for a little bit to grab some water and take a break. The flights of stairs are extremely deceiving. After a while of climbing, you think you've gone far but look up and realize there's still so much more to go.

After about an hour and a half of PURE stairs, we all made it. Some were a little faster than others (Lana & Julia), some took the scenic route (myself & Paige), and some had to take a break because their lunch did not sit well and was coming back up (I'll leave those unnamed). But once we got up there...holy cow, it was so beyond worth it. The view was unbelievable and we got quite the workout as well. Our legs were burning and we were out of breath, but that all seemed to go away once we reached the top. A few of us were saying that we were unsure if we wanted to go all the way up to the top, but since we were standing on one of the seven Wonders of the World, we figured it had to be done. I think we would have regretted it if we didn't force ourselves up all of those stairs to view the city from that high. The Great Wall definitely lived up to the name and expectations. As a reward for this cardio workout, Ruben decided it was appropriate to buy ice cream before we headed back to the hotel. Some of us came back with souvenirs that confirmed we did, in fact, climb The Great Wall of China.

Although our bodies are going to be hurting tomorrow and probably the day after that, we were able to experience something that we have learned about in history class. I am so grateful to have seen something so amazing and done something the majority of the world will never be able to do. I'm beyond thankful to everyone who helped make this trip happen, there aren't enough words for how this trip to China has changed my entire perspective of the world. Today, along with all of the other days, will forever be engraved in our memories. Stingers Up in China!

Sophomore Skyler Takeda

Today was another early day with breakfast at 7:00 a.m. I had a lot of carbs....a chocolate croissant,  sliced beget, toast with Nutella, and then potato fries that were really good. I happened to be looking at the right people at the right time, because I saw Courtney and Hannah both trip but luckily save the food on their plate and drinks in their hands.

We were supposed to leave the hotel at 7:30 after breakfast but we managed to leave a little late. Before we got on the bus, Sarah asked Brie if she brought her volleyball shoes and running shoes since she was wearing slides and Brie (with confidence) said she had them. We get on the bus, and Brie whispers to Aven that she forgot her shoes so we had to wait a little bit for Brie to find them.

Our match was against Beijing Sports University and they had a lot of control throughout the game. They won, but we were able to push the game to four sets. Each game that we have played, we are getting better and more aggressive.

After our game, we stopped to pick up pizzas at Pizza Hut and surprisingly the pizza place didn't make cheese pizzas. Cheese pizzas are the easiest ones to make and you would think it would be on the menu. I'm just happy we ate American food today considering that I am a very picky eater. I had Hawaiian pizza and it was good. Definitely the most I have eaten for lunch so far this trip.

The Great Wall of China was unquestionably the best part of the day and one of the better experiences of our trip to China. The hikes that I took before we came to China did not come close to preparing me for walking the Great Wall. It was pretty difficult at times and several breaks were taken, but it was totally worth it. The view was beautiful and so many good pictures were taken. It was also funny at times because we tried different ways of walking like going backwards, but after 30 seconds we started feeling the burn even more so we went back to walking normal. Some of the team, including myself, tried running up the steep steps at times but that also lasted for a short period of time. After everyone got back down from the Great Wall, Ruben bought everyone ice cream. I had an ice cream shaped like a pineapple and it was very good.

Once we got back to the hotel, I ended up going to the hot tub and swimming with Erin and Mikaela, which was nice, relaxing and very well needed. Today has definitely been one remarkable day and it's surreal because I never thought I would be in Beijing or ever get the opportunity to walk the Great Wall of China.

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