COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 19, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s Sitting Team opened the World ParaVolley World Super 6 tournament in Tabriz, Iran on Thursday with a 25-15, 25-16, 25-23 loss to Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Several U.S. players withdrew from the trip at the last minute, leaving the United States with a seven-person roster.
The teams were tied in kills (28-28) and blocks (2-2). Bosnia & Herzegovina led in aces (6-2) and scored 39 points on U.S. scoring errors while committing 22.
Team Captain Eric Duda led the U.S. Men in scoring with eight points on seven kills and one ace. Zach Upp added seven points on six kills and one block. Upp was credited with 16 receptions, 62 percent positive.
Patrick Young scored six points on five kills and one block. Dan Regan had five points. James Stuck and Charlie Swearingen each scored three.
Despite that, the United States led 23-21 in the third set before succumbing to the No. 4-ranked team in the world.
Setter: Eric Duda
Outside hitters: Dan Regan and Zach Upp
Middle blockers: Patrick Young and Charlie Swearingen
Opposite: James Stuck
Libero: John Kremer
Kills: Duda 7, Upp 6, Regan 5, Young 5, Stuck 3, Swearingen 2
Blocks: Young 1, Upp 1
Aces: Duda 1, Swearingen 1
SITTING VOLLEYBLOG by Charlie Swearingen
As an eight-year veteran on Team USA, I have seen athletes come and go. Some leave before their prime and some gems fizzle out. That is life for an athlete; you are playing on borrowed time.
Injury or fading ability are the devils to which we will all succumb. It’s a fearful thing, but also serves as a fantastic carrot that keeps our focus on the now. We try to take advantage of each touch, each play, and each tournament.
One experience that surprisingly hasn’t scared me is the brilliant emergence and abilities of a young-blood phenom. Recently, I have had the privilege of playing alongside a young man with incredible talent. Zach Upp, 18, will be fun to watch develop and I suspect he will be a team leader and effective scorer.
As a boy, Zach impressed parents and players in Little League baseball. Zach was a pitcher. As a kid missing his lower right arm, his left arm developed rapidly. He grew powerful, developing an effective curveball, along with a strong fastball and circle changeup. While not all of us on the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team are baseball fans, all of us appreciate these formative years because they benefit our current play.
Elliot Blake, our team manager, conducts clinics throughout the country, partially to grow the awareness of sitting volleyball, but also to recruit players, including 14-year-olds. Elliot mentioned that it was great seeing a Zach four years ago playing and exceling at the standing version of the game. Some of us were transplants who came from other sports and transitioned into sitting volleyball. Zach was already playing and competing in traditional volleyball exceptionally well.
“He already comes with the volleyball IQ and skill set,” Elliot said. “I knew he would transition easily.”
That he has. Zach co-led scoring today, taking seven points from Bosnia.
I was on the same flight as Zach from Chicago to Istanbul, Turkey as we headed to Tabriz, Iran for the Super 6 tournament. He had this unbreakable smile as we boarded, most likely from uncontrollable excitement. I asked him how he felt going so far away to play the best teams in the world, knowing he was going to be starting (he just turned 18, mind you). He replied, “I’m so ready to go crush some swings!” He said this without fear, because as a very early adult he doesn’t know any better.
Coach Greg Walker mentioned this as well when I asked him what he thought was one of Zach’s greatest features. “He has a great ability to refocus himself after he makes a bad play. He just moves on to the next play and tries to score.”
Every athlete possesses the fear of the end of their career. Along the way, you need to live in that moment and take in as much as you can. I actually enjoy watching the young bloods come in and develop. Zach Upp is one to watch with a powerful swing, fearless attitude, and fierce appetite for scoring points. Keep your eye on this young man, or “the kid” as we call him.
World ParaVolley World Super 6
April 19-24, 2018 in Tabriz, Iran
U.S. Men’s Sitting National Team
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
2. Dan Regan (MB, 6-0, Edmond, Okla.)
5. Eric Duda (OH, 6-5, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
8. James Stuck (MB, 6-5, New Kensington, Pa.)
12. Patrick Young (OH, 6-4, Albuquerque, N.M.)
13. Charlie Swearingen (OH, 6-3, Gulfport, Miss.)
14. John Kremer (L, 5-9, Buford, Ga.)
17. Zach Upp (Opp, 6-5, Bartlett, Ill.)
Head Coach: Greg Walker
Assistant Coach: Joe Skinner
Assistant Coach: Kyle Homeyer
Team Leader: Elliot Blake
Athletic Trainer: Brian Farr
Competition Schedule (All times local)
Ukraine def Germany, 25-13, 25-18, 25-12
Bosnia & Herzegovina def USA, 25-15, 25-16, 25-23
Iran def Russia, 25-22, 25-20, 25-17
10 a.m. USA v Ukraine
3 p.m. Russia v Germany
6 p.m. Iran v Bosnia & Herzegovina
10 a.m. Iran v Ukraine
3 p.m. USA v Germany
6 p.m. Bosnia & Herzegovina v Russia
10 a.m. Iran v Germany
3 p.m. Russia v USA
6 p.m. Bosnia & Herzegovina v Ukraine
10 a.m. Ukraine v Russia
3 p.m. Bosnia & Herzegovina v Germany
6 p.m. USA v Iran
10 a.m. 5th place match
3 p.m. Bronze final
6 p.m. Gold final