U.S. Women’s Sitting National Team competing in exhibition matches versus Russia and Brazil at Colorado Crossroads
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 7, 2020) – The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball National Team, ranked No. 1 in the world, opened its 2020 season with exhibition wins over No. 6 Russia and No. 3 Brazil on Saturday in Denver as part of the Colorado Crossroads. Team USA has now won 27 consecutive matches dating back to the start of 2018.
“I thought today was a good start in the sense that we had really good competition,” U.S. captain Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Washington) said. “It was a good opportunity for us to wake up and start the year.”
USA vs Russia
Team USA opened the day with a 25-18, 25-16, 25-23 victory over Russia, followed by a 25-20 win in a bonus fourth set. Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Washington) scored a match-high 15 points. She connected for 11 kills on 23 attacks and added two blocks and two aces. Monique Burkland Matthews (Ardmore, Oklahoma) added six kills, three blocks and two aces for 11 points while holding a 67 positive reception percent on 12 chances. Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, North Carolina) chipped in seven points in the win. Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (Honolulu, Hawaii) and Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Florida) each scored five points in the victory.
Jillian Williams (Odem, Texas) paced the Americans in the bonus set with five points and compiled nine total for the four sets. Lora Webster (Point Lookout, New York), Maddie Ball (Delray Beach, Florida), Nieves and Tia Edwards (Skiatook, Oklahoma) all scored five points in the extra frame. For Ball, the USA-Russia match marked her first appearance in an international match.
During the official three sets, both teams record 14 blocks. The Americans’ attack netted a 31-25 advantage in kills and a 7-4 margin in aces.
“In the first match I thought that we all felt comfortable and played our game and just played the level that we wanted to play,” Holloway said.
USA vs Brazil
The Americans were pushed to the limit in their second match of the day and avoided having its win streak snapped by topping Brazil 25-14, 24-26, 25-16, 20-25, 15-4. Holloway again led Team USA with 20 points coming with 11 kills and an eye-opening nine blocks. Erickson totaled 18 points with 13 kills, four blocks and an ace while Williams popped in seven blocks, five kills on nine errorless attacks and two aces for 14 points. Burkland Matthews contributed 11 points in the win.
Nieves added seven points including five blocks. Nichole Millage (Champaign, Illinois) accounted for five points, all in the third set. Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minnesota) scored four of Team USA’s 10 aces in the match.
“In the second match I thought we had a really good opportunity to be challenged – and we need that,” Holloway said. “Going into this year, we need to be challenged as much we possibly can. I thought that is what happened today. We pulled out the wins. We hunkered down and played the best we could with the challenges.”
The Americans out-blocked Brazil 29-18 for the match and held a 47-32 advantage in kills. The U.S. converted 36 percent of its attacks into points to the Brazilians’ 25 percent.
The U.S. hosts Russia on Sunday at 9 a.m. MT followed by Brazil at 1 p.m. Brazil and Russia meet on Sunday at 5 p.m. after Russia won the opening contest 25-19, 25-19, 25-18. The exhibition series concludes on Monday with Russia meeting Brazil at 8 a.m. followed by Team USA facing Russia at 10 a.m.
Team USA has held sitting volleyball matches at Crossroads in 10 of the past 12 years. Large crowds of junior athletes and their parents have flocked to the sitting volleyball court during Crossroads to watch the top-ranked women’s sitting team in the world compete.
The U.S. will hold autograph sessions after its matches where fans can interact directly with the top stars of the sitting volleyball game.
The U.S. has now won 53 of its last 54 matches, the only setback coming to Russia in the 2018 World ParaVolley World Championship gold-medal match.
Stats USA vs Russia (official 3 sets)
Points: Katie Holloway 15, Monique Burkland Matthews 11, Heather Erickson 7, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay 5, Nicky Nieves 5, Lora Webster 4, Jillian Williams 4, Tia Edwards 1.
Kills: Katie Holloway 11, Monique Burkland Matthews 6, Heather Erickson 5, Lora Webster 3, Nicky Nieves 3, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay 2, Jillian Williams 1.
Blocks: Monique Burkland Matthews 3, Jillian Williams 3, Katie Holloway 2, Nicky Nieves 2, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay 1, Tia Edwards 1
Aces: Katie Holloway 2, Monique Burkland Matthews 2, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay 2, Lora Webster 1.
Stats USA vs Brazil
Points: Katie Holloway 20, Heather Erickson 18, Jillian Williams 14, Monique Burkland 11, Nicky Nieves 7, Nichole Millage 5, Lexi Shifflett 4, Tia Edwards 3, Lora Webster 2, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay 2
Kills: Heather Erickson 13, Katie Holloway 11, Monique Burkland Matthews 9, Jillian Williams 5, Nichole Millage 5, Nicky Nieves 2, Lora Webster 1, Tia Edwards 1
Blocks: Katie Holloway 9, Jillian Williams 7, Nicky Nieves 5, Heather Erickson 4, Tia Edwards 2, Lora Webster 1, Monique Burkland Matthews 1
Aces: Lexi Shifflett 4, Jillian Williams 2, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay 2, Heather Erickson 1, Monique Burkland Matthews 1