COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team struck Parapan American Games gold Wednesday night, downing Brazil 25-16, 25-19, 25-13 at Callao Sports Center in Lima, Peru.
Team USA, the world’s top-ranked team, repeats as the Parapan Am Games gold-medalist having won the most recent recent edition at the 2015 Toronto Parapan Am Games. The Americans finished the 2019 edition with a 5-0 record and dropped only one of 16 sets – that to Brazil in the preliminary round phase. Brazil is ranked third in the world.
After not scoring a single point in USA’s semifinal round victory over Peru, Heather Erickson lit up the scoreboard on Wednesday in the gold-medal match en route to being named the most valuable player and Best Attacker. She secured 19 points with 11 kills on 22 attacks, two blocks and four aces. Erickson also had a match-high 19 serves and 21 receptions with an 81 positive reception percent.
And while Erickson is known for her powerful swings, she said it is not always the volleyball skills that carry the team on to victory.
“There is a lot more to the game than just hitting the ball hard,” Erickson said. “During this game, I really focused on communicating with my teammates and being vocal the whole time. In volleyball, momentum is so huge and if you let another team come back and get that energy, then it can really go downhill fast. I’m out there with noise on the court consistently and communicating on what to look for and what’s going on. I did my best to make sure that everyone felt together.”
Nicky Nieves, Kissimmee, Florida) contributed seven kills and a block for eight points. Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Oklahoma) charted four kills, two blocks and an ace for seven points. Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Washington) chalked up five kills and a block for six points.
Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (Honolulu, Hawaii), selected the Best Setter of the tournament, picked up three blocks and two aces for five points. Lora Webster (Point Lookout, New York) rounded out the scoring with two kills anda block for three points.
Libero Bethany Zummo (Dublin, California) handled seven receptions. Burkland was perfect on her seven reception attempts.
Kanahele Maclay set the U.S. to a 38 kill percent and .250 hitting efficiency (30-10-80). The American defense limited Brazil to a 24 kill percent and negative .021 hitting efficiency (23-25-95).
Team USA out-blocked Brazil 11-8 and had a 7-3 margin in kills. The Americans also recorded a 30-23 kill advantage. Brazil committed 38 errors in the three-set match while Team USA had 17 total errors.
Erickson said the team’s value extends beyond the six players inside the white lines as the bench lends so much support.
“We have an amazing team in the sense that our bench is just as important as the people who are on the court,” Erickson said. “We have awesome support on the bench where they are looking for shots on the court. So Tia [Edwards] is an outside hitter with me, so she is talking to me and seeing what’s open for me. We all really focus on our position and who is in the position on the court and make sure we are giving information both on and off the court.”
Sydney Satchell (Windsor, Connecticut/Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), in just her first year on the U.S. Women’s National Team and back-up libero, said the reserve players have a huge role in making the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team players tick.
“One of the greatest things about my role on this team right now with not being a starter is how my energy off the court supports those on the court,” Satchell said. “My job is to make sure my team is fired up and ready to go. I believe everyone plays a crucial role on this team in wins and losses, and I’m excited to be a part of this team for this big win today.”
While the Parapan American Games winner earns a berth into the 2020 Paralympic Games, Team USA had already secured its spot into the Tokyo Games by finishing second at the 2019 World ParaVolleyball World Championships last summer. Hence, Brazil earned a spot into the 2020 Paralympics as the second-place finisher.
U.S. Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team at Parapan American Games
# – Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
1 – Lora Webster (Middle, 5-11, Point Lookout, N.Y.)
2 – Bethany Zummo (Libero, 5-3, Dublin, Calif.)
3 – Lexi Shifflett (Setter, 5-4, Waseca, Minn.)
5 – Katie Holloway (Outside Hitter, 6-3, Lake Stevens, Wash.)
6 – Heather Erickson (Opposite, 5-11, Fayetteville, N.C.)
7 – Monique Burkland (Middle/Outside Hitter, 6-0, Ardmore, Okla.)
10 – Sydney Satchell (Libero, 5-2, Oklahoma City, Okla.)
11 – Jillian Williams (Middle/Opposite, 5-10, Odem, Texas)
13 – Nichole Millage (Opposite/Setter, 5-7, Champaign, Ill.)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (Setter, 5-6, Honolulu, Hawaii)
16 – Nicole Nieves (Middle/Outside Hitter, 5-10, Kissimmee, Fla.)
17 – Tia Edwards (Outside Hitter/Middle, 5-7, Skiatook, Okla.)
Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach/Team Leader: Michelle Goodall
Assistant Coach: Jon Aharoni
Athletic Trainer: Patrick Lawrence
Technical Coordinator: Elliot Blake
U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Schedule at Parapan Am Games (times listed as ET)
Aug. 24: USA def. Peru 25-6, 25-3, 25-10
Aug. 25: USA def. Brazil 25-12, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21
Aug. 26: USA def. Canada 25-14, 25-17, 25-12
Aug. 27: Brazil (Group 2nd) def. Canada (Group 3rd) 25-11, 25-16, 25-21 (Semifinals)
Aug. 27: USA (Group 1st) def. Peru (Group 4th) 25-3, 25-4, 25-12. (Semifinals)
Aug. 28: Canada vs. Peru 25-7, 25-14, 25-14 (Bronze Medal Match)
Aug. 28: USA def. Brazil 25-16, 25-19, 25-13 (Gold Medal Match)