COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 7, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team, 18-0 in 2019 and nine months from defending its Paralympic Games title next summer in Japan, will have an early chance to acclimate to conditions in Japan during the 2019 Nomura World Super 6 Tournament held Nov. 13-17 in Tokyo.
The 12-player Team USA roster includes nine Paralympic Games veterans. Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.), Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) and Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.) are three-time Paralympians leading the veteran crew along with two-time Paralympians Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.) and Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (Honolulu, Hawaii).
Bill Hamiter, head coach for the U.S Women’s Sitting Team, feels the team has a variety of goals to accomplish in the season-ending tournament.
“Our goals for the Super 6 tournament are to get as many of our players classified and eligible to compete in the Paralympics as possible, to gain valuable quality play time against high ranking teams and to experience matches in Tokyo where we will play in the Paralympics in August 2020,” Hamiter said. “Besides these main goals we will be using the Super 6 to evaluate acclimation procedures and other tactics we want to put in place for the Paralympics. This trip will serve as a good test run and give the team and players valuable information for our preparation for Tokyo next year.”
Hamiter said the Super 6 event has an added incentive for the team.
“We want to play as well as we can and win the tournament,” Hamiter said. “The Super 6 is the only money tournament that World ParaVolley sanctions, so our athletes are looking forward to possibly winning some money as well.”
Annie Flood (Salem, Ore.) and Emma Schieck (Statesville, N.C.) will be making their world-level tournament debuts while also becoming eligible for selection to the American Paralympic Games roster.
“Two of our youngest players, Annie Flood & Emma Schieck, are on the Super 6 roster,” Hamiter said. “I am very interested to see how they will perform at a high-level tournament requiring such long travel.”
The Super 6, normally a six-team round-robin event, has been reduced to four teams in 2019 with two teams pulling out prompting a double round-robin pool play. Team USA faces Ukraine to open the tournament on Nov. 13, followed by matches against host Japan and Russia on Nov. 14. The Americans challenge Ukraine on Nov. 15, then conclude the tournament versus Japan and Russia on Nov. 16. The tournament concludes on Nov. 17 with the medal rounds.
The U.S. Women are ranked No. 1 in the world and are defending Paralympic Games champions from 2016. Russia ranks sixth in the World ParaVolley world rankings, mostly due to their absence from the 2016 Paralympic Games. Ukraine ranks fourth and Japan is 11th.
USA, Russia and Japan have qualified for the eight-country 2020 Paralympic Games, though Russia’s inclusion is pending its sanctions being lifted by the International Paralympic Committee. Ukraine will compete in the Women’s Paralympic Qualifier next year.