U.S. Women's Sitting Team holding gold medals at the Paralympic Games

TOKYO (Sept. 5, 2021) – The journey didn’t go the way the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team had planned, but the destination was better than they imagined.

The U.S. Sitting Team beat China, 3-1 (25-12, 25-20, 22-25, 25-19) on Sunday to win its second straight Paralympic Games gold medal at Makuhari Messe event hall The U.S. and China have now played each other four times in the Paralympic final with each team winning two golds.


U.S. outside hitter and Team Captain Katie Holloway was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Bethany Zummo was named Best Libero and Best Receiver. Kaleo Kanahele Maclay was named Best Setter and Monique Matthews took Best Blocker.

The U.S. Women arrived in Japan two weeks later than planned due to COVID exposure in the United States and could not train together. Two players from the original roster had to be replaced for health reasons.

“I think that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Holloway said. “This journey has been so challenging. We showed up here totally changed from the past six weeks of our experience. I still can’t believe what we did.”

The U.S. Women lost to China 3-0 during pool play and the team had to rally and set the loss aside. They cleaned up their play in the gold-medal match, giving up only 15 points on errors, the same number as China.

“I think the match today came down to who can execute in the moment more consistently,” U.S. Head Coach Bill Hamiter said. “I thought it was a high-level match; very well played on both sides.”

The U.S. led China in kills (58-51), blocks (18-7) and aces (6-3) The U.S. hitting efficiency was .436 behind Maclay. China hit 315.

Opposite Heather Erickson, playing in her fourth Paralympics, led all scorers with 21 points on 17 kills, three blocks and one ace. Holloway, also playing in her fourth, scored 20 points on 15 kills, four blocks and one ace. Matthews, playing in her third Paralympics, totaled 19 points on 14 kills and a match-high five blocks.

“Today, we did a really good job of refocusing ourselves, especially after we lost that third set,” Erickson said “Knowing that’s not the end. We just have to refocus and play our game.”

Middle blocker Jillian Williams, who made her Paralympic debut in Tokyo and ended up as an unexpected starter, finished with nine pints on seven kills and two blocks.

Middle blocker Lora Webster, who played in her fifth Paralympic Games while pregnant with her fourth child, finished with six points on two kills, three blocks and one ace. Maclay scored six points on a match-high two aces, three kills and two blocks. She set the U.S. to a .436 hitting efficiency.

Outside hitter Emma Schieck, making her Paralympic debut, played as a substitute and served an ace for the final point of the match.

U.S. Paralympic Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team

No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
Lora Webster (MB, 5-11, Point Lookout, N.Y.)
Bethany Zummo (L, 5-3, Dublin, Calif.)
Lexi Shifflett (S/L, 5-4, Waseca, Minn.)
Katie Holloway (OH, 6-3, Lake Stevens, Wash.)
Heather Erickson (OPP, 5-11, Fayetteville, N.C.)
Monique Matthews (MB/OH, 6-0, Ardmore, Okla.)
Whitney Dosty (OH/OPP, 6-3, Tucson, Ariz.)
11 Jillian Williams (MB/OPP/OH, 5-10, Odem, Texas)
12 Emma Schieck (OH, 5-7, Statesville, N.C.)
13 Nichole Millage (OPP, 5-7, Champaign, Ill.)
14 Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (S, 5-6, Edmond, Okla.)
15 Annie Flood (S/OPP, 5-8, Salem, Ore.)

Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Michelle Goodall
Athletic Trainer: Kat King
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Hicks
Team Manager: Mark Herrin
Sport Psychologist: Adam O’Neil

Pool A
Brazil 3-0
Canada 2-1
Italy 1-2
Japan 0-3

Pool B
China 3-0
USA 2-1
Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) 1-2
Rwanda 0-3

U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Paralympic Schedule

Saturday, August 28
USA def Rwanda, 3-0 (25-11, 25-9, 25-11)

Monday, August 30
China def USA, 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 26-24)

Wednesday, September 1
USA def RPC, 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-22)

Friday, September 3 – Semifinals
USA def Brazil, 3-0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-23)
China def Canada, 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-15)

Saturday, September 4 – Medal Matches
Bronze: Brazil def Canada, 3-1 (25-15, 24-26, 26-24, 25-14)
Gold: USA def China, 3-1 (25-12, 25-20, 22-25, 25-19)