Ari Sinay, Broadside Correspondent

Freshman outside hitter Ran Yin of the George Mason University women’s volleyball team has traveled long distances to play the game she loves.

Yin, an only child, has lived in Beijing, China her whole life with her parents, YanJun and ChangXin Yin.
Traveling to Mason to play volleyball and to receive an education is Yin’s first time leaving China and her life behind.

Yin started playing volleyball at the age of 12 when her middle school primary teacher suggested the sport to her.

“I used to play Chinese traditional music, but that was boring and I didn’t enjoy it, so I listened to my teacher and started to play volleyball,” said Yin.

The rest was history. Yin blossomed into a standout on the court and by the time she finished her career playing for her high school Beijing 101 team, which boasted an undefeated record and a top 10 placing in China, Yin was a highly talented commodity.

Yin’s abilities on the court also propelled her into international competition as she competed in the 2004 young Olympic games in Australia against countries like Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia.

“As a team, our results weren’t so good, but I had an amazing time traveling and it was a good experience for me and my game,” said Yin.

At this point, one of Yin’s former coaches, Sean Rong Liu, had been coaching at the University of Maryland and was well-known with many coaches and teams around the collegiate sphere.

Liu suggested to Yin to contact Mason and express her interest in playing overseas.

“I e-mailed back and forth with [Head Coach Pat Kendrick], and we took it from there,” said Yin.
For the first time in her life, Yin would travel outside of the country to America and begin a journey like none other.

“Coming here was very exciting for me – America is so nice. I like the people and my teammates. Being international, it’s hard to find people, but I was able to find some international friends here as well as [to] stay in touch with my friends back home,” said Yin.

By joining the women’s volleyball team at Mason, Yin became the newest addition to the growing international flare already in place.

Australian seniors Rebecca Walter and Sam Simmonds and Fernanda Bartels, a junior from Brazil, have paved the way for an easy transition for Yin.

“I like to talk to my teammates, especially Bec, Fernanda and Sammy and their situations as internationals. They have gone through the same sort of thing and after talking with them, I feel better,” said Yin.

This past weekend, Yin was in action as the team swept the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks on Friday night and the Georgia State Panthers on Saturday night where the Patriots sported their pink jerseys in honor of the Dig Pink fund to raise awareness for breast cancer.

The Patriots improved their record to 19-7 and 8-3 in conference play with the victories.

During the weekend, Yin recorded seven kills and 11 digs, helping her team to two key victories en route to the upcoming Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

The team leapfrogged the William & Mary Tribe for third place in the conference after accomplishing the weekend sweep.

“I feel sometimes I can play well and sometimes [I] play bad, but now it is time to focus on doing well and playing my best for the team, with CAAs coming up. I feel very proud to be a Patriot and represent Mason,” said Yin.

Coming from the Far East, Yin is already making her impact on and off the court as the newest edition to the women’s volleyball team.