DENVER, Colo. (March 6, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team completed its five-match exhibition series with Canada on Monday morning at the Colorado Convention Center with one last victory over its neighbor to the north (25-15, 25-16, 25-9).
Four players from the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games did not play in Denver, giving some new players a chance for some much-needed international experience.
Whitney Dosty (Tucson, Ariz.) was competing with the team for the first time. Dosty was a standing volleyball player at the University of Arizona and played professionally overseas before an ankle injury ended her career. She joined the Sitting Team at the beginning of the season and said she learned a lot from the matches against Canada.
“Practice is one thing. Games are completely different,” Dosty said. “I’m still trying to adjust to the speed of the game. But I’m enjoying it. It’s a lot of fun to be out there with these girls.”
U.S. Head Coach Bill Hamiter is hoping that a new World Paravolley disability classification system that is in the works will not hurt the 6-foot-3 Dosty’s chances of playing on the team.
“Whitney, with the volleyball background she has, would be really helpful to us,” he said. “She’s got a big block, she hits well and she passes really well.”
Courtney Baker (Crofton, Ky.), who trained with the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team in 2016 but did not make the Paralympic Team, was happy to be back on the court in Denver.
“It was about two months that I didn’t get to play,” she said. “I was so excited to see everybody. I really have been able to grow with the team. Just getting back on the court and being around them has been so much fun.”
Hamiter also credited Paralympians Tia Edwards (Skitatook, Okla.), who did not see much playing time in Rio de Janeiro, and Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.), who is looking to move from libero to outside hitter, for their play in the exhibitions.
The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team’s next competition will be the World Paravolley World Super 6 Tournament on May 16-21 in Hangzhou City, China where they will face teams from China, Ukraine, Russia, Japan and Netherlands.
On March 20-25, a U.S. youth sitting team will compete at the Youth Parapan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
U.S. Starters vs. Canada
Kari Miller, Heather Erickson, Nicky Nieves, Monique Burkland, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay, Courtney Baker and Bethany Zummo
U.S. Statistics vs. Canada
Kills: Erickson 8, Nieves 6, Whitney Dosty 4, Burkland 3, Lexi Shifflett 2, Miller 1, Tia Edwards 1, Courtney Baker 1
Blocks: Erickson 2, Nieves 2, Shifflett 1, Burkland 1, Maclay 1
Aces: Nieves 4, Shifflett 2, Dosty 2, Maclay 2, Edwards 2, Erickson 1, Burkland 1, Baker 1
U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team Roster for Colorado Crossroads Exhibition Matches
No. – Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
2 – Bethany Zummo (L, 5-2, Dublin, California)
3 – Alexis Shifflett (S, 5-4, Waseca, Minnesota)
6 – Heather Erickson (OH, 5-11, Fayetteville, North Carolina)
7 – Monique Burkland (OH, 5-9, Ardmore, Oklahoma)
8 – Whitney Dosty (OH, 6-3, Tucson, Arizona)
10 – Kari Miller (L, 5-6, Washington D.C.)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (S, 5-6, Edmond, Oklahoma)
16 – Nicky Nieves (MB, 5-10, Kissimmee, Florida)
17 – Tia Edwards (OH, 5-7, Skitatook, Oklahoma)
18 – Courtney Baker (OPP, 5-8, Crofton, Kentucky)
Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coaches: Lazaro Beltran, Jon Aharoni
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Hicks
Team Leader: Michelle Goodall
Athletic Trainer: Patrick Lawrence