COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 19, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Sitting Volleyball Teams begin competition at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, on Aug. 24 with two distinctly different missions.
The Parapan American Games is a qualification event to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, and the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team must win the event in Peru to qualify for Tokyo without having to go through a last-chance tournament in 2020. The Americans, ranked seventh in the latest World ParaVolley rankings, are feeling confident heading into the Parapan Ams with three events under their belt in 2019. The U.S. won four of five matches versus Canada in a five-match exhibition series at the end of May in Columbus, Ohio.
Following a training trip to Germany in June, the U.S. Men finished third place with a 4-3 record at the Dutch Tournament held June 21-23 in Assen, Netherlands. The Americans defeated Germany for the first time in program history, adding to the confidence level that they are on the right path.
“Our trip to the Netherlands has been a turning point for our team,” said Eric Duda, captain of the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team. “With the first program win against Germany, we are feeling very confident heading to Peru.”
The U.S. Men open group play on Aug. 24 against host Peru and second-ranked Brazil at 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, respectively. Team USA doubles up on Aug. 25 again with matches versus Colombia at noon ET, followed by Costa Rica at 8 p.m. ET. The U.S. finishes group play on Aug. 26 against rivals Canada at 6 p.m. ET.
“In order for us to qualify for Tokyo we need to win this tournament,” Duda said. “The last five Parapan Am Games has had Brazil and the United States in the finals and I am anticipating that to be the case again. Having said that, the path to Tokyo goes through Brazil and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
The Parapan Am Games semifinals are on Aug. 27, followed by medal matches on Aug. 28.
The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team, ranked No. 1 in the world, is not under the same qualification pressure as their U.S. Men’s counterparts. Team USA qualified for the 2020 Paralympics by finishing second at the 2018 World ParaVolley World Championships last summer. The Americans are also reigning Paralympic Games champions.
However, the team is using the Parapan Am Games to further strengthen itself heading into Tokyo 2020 for a second consecutive title run.
“The team goal for Lima is to execute at a high level and familiarize ourselves with a Paralympic multi-sport competition with a lot of potential distractions,” said Katie Holloway, captain of the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team. “Our team is always working on playing at our highest level and being the bar.”
The U.S. Women will have one group match each day from Aug. 24-26. Team USA opens with host Peru on Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Brazil on Aug. 25 at 4 p.m. ET and Canada on Aug. 26 at noon ET.
The Parapan Am Games women’s sitting division semifinals are on the evening of Aug. 27, with the medal-round matches on Aug. 28.