ANJI, China (March 22, 2016) – After months of preparation, the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team got the match-up it wanted.
The Americans play China for the World ParaVolley Intercontinental Cup gold medal at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in China (1 a.m. ET) after defeating Brazil 25-10, 25-14, 25-20 in Tuesday’s semifinals. Fans can watch a live-stream at http://www.kktv1.com/10025.
On Friday, the U.S. Women defeated China, 25-22, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17, hoping for a second opportunity to play their long-time rival.
“We have a really good camaraderie with them, and both teams look at it that we’ll compete as hard as we can,” U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Head Coach Bill Hamiter said. “We celebrate the best of friendships and both programs have supported each other.”
The U.S. Men’s Sitting team fell to Germany 25-16, 25-13, 25-18 in the consolation playoff bracket, ending the tournament with an 0-6 record.
Tuesday’s U.S. Women’s Sitting Team victory came barely 24 hours after the U.S. defeated Brazil, 25-21, 25-15, 25-18, in the final pool play match. Middle blocker Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Florida) said the Americans weren’t fazed at the rematch; rather, the team welcomed it.
“Brazil is a team that’s going to get us up on our emotions and make us fight a bit more,” Nieves said. “I’m glad we had this match because I think it really helped us get ready for China.”
The U.S. controlled the pace of the match behind strong defense and aggressive plays at the net; the team out-blocked Brazil 15-10, recording 27 kills to Brazil’s 18.
“Yesterday, I thought I was taking away enough cross against (their hitters), but I wasn’t; so today it was great to be able to make those little corrections so quick after playing them,” Nieves said.
Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Washington) and Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, North Carolina) led the American attack with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Erickson had a team-high nine kills, three aces and one block, while Holloway dominated the net with seven blocks, six kills and two aces.
The Americans also benefited from consistent serving, recording three service runs of at least five points. Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Oklahoma) and Nieves helped Team USA outscore Brazil 16-2 in the second set with long runs of nine and seven points, respectively.
“Across the board, I couldn’t stay there was a player who didn’t play well. Last night we had a few players I needed to make adjustments with, but tonight everyone really played well,” Hamiter said.
U.S. Men’s Sitting Team Head Coach Greg Walker said despite the disappointing record, he and the coaching staff feel positive about the team’s chances to grow and learn from matches against some of the top teams in the world.
“Every other team played their starting lineups and best players, and now we have all the information on them as we’re making that final push for Rio,” Walker said. “Everyone is going to get better, but our ceiling is so high right now.”
The U.S. again stayed competitive early in sets against Germany, but struggled to keep building momentum as each set wore on. The team also had trouble against Germany’s offense, recording just three blocks in the match.
James Stuck (New Kensington, Pennsylvania) led the team with nine points (seven kills, one block, one ace), while Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) added six points on as many kills.
As team captain, Duda said he was pleased to see the team continue to support each other, even as matches produced disappointing results.
“Like a couple of my teammates have said, this is one of the best cohesive groups we’ve had in a very, very long time,” Duda explained. “Unfortunately the outcomes didn’t match (what we wanted), but the fact that we stuck together throughout this whole thing, it bodes well for the future.”
U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Statistics vs. Brazil
Starters: Lora Webster, Katie Holloway, Heather Erickson, Monique Burkland, Kaleo Kanahele, Nicky Nieves, Bethany Zummo
Points: Holloway 15, Erickson 13, Burkland 9, Webster 7, Nieves 5, Kanahele 2, Michelle Schiffler 1
Kills: Erickson 9, Holloway 6, Burkland 4, Nieves 4, Webster 3, Kanahele 1
Blocks: Holloway 7, Webster 4, Burkland 2, Erickson 1, Schiffler 1
Aces: Erickson 3, Burkland 3, Holloway 2, Nieves 1, Kanahele 1
U.S. Men’s Sitting Team Statistics vs. Germany
Starter: Dan Regan, Eric Duda, James Stuck, Roderick Green, Charlie Swearingen, Chris Sielkop, John Kremer
Points: Stuck 9, Duda 6, Ben Aman 4, Regan 3, Seilkop 3, Josh Smith 1, Green 1
Kills: Stuck 7, Duda 6, Aman 4, Regan 2, Kremer 2, Green 1
Blocks: Stuck 1, Seilkop 1, Smith 1
Aces: Regan 1, Stuck 1
U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Roster for the Intercontinental Cup (March 17-23)
# – Name (Position, Hometown, Height)
1 – Lora Webster (MB, Phoenix, Arizona, 5-11)
2 – Bethany Zummo (L, Dublin, California, 5-2)
3 – Alexis Shifflet (S, Waseca, Minnesota, 5-4)
4 – Michelle Schiffler (MB, Lake Wales, Florida, 6-0)
5 – Katie Holloway (OH, Lake Stevens, Washington, 6-3)
6 – Heather Erickson (OH, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 5-11)
7 – Monique Burkland (MB, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 5-9)
10 – Kari Miller (OPP/DS, Washington D.C., 5-6)
13 – Nichole Millage (OH, Champaign, Illinois, 5-7)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele (S, Edmond, Oklahoma, 5-6)
16 – Nicky Nieves (OH, Kissimmee, Florida, 5-10)
17 – Tia Edwards (OH/MB, Skiatook, Oklahoma, 5-7)
Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Cara Lang
Assistant Coach: Lazaro Beltran
Team Manager: Dr. Laura Finch
Athletic Trainer: Patrick Lawrence
U.S. Intercontinental Cup Women’s Sitting Team Results and Schedule
March 17: USA def Rwanda, 25-9, 25-10, 25-7
March 18: USA def China, 25-22, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17
March 18: USA def Iran, 25-18, 25-13, 25-18
March 19: USA def. Ukraine 25-13, 25-21, 27-25
March 20: USA def. Canada 25-8, 25-9, 25-8
March 21: USA def. Brazil 25-21, 25-15, 25-18
March 22: USA def. Brazil 25-10, 25-14, 25-20
March 23: USA vs. China, 1 p.m. (1 a.m. ET)
U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team Roster for the Intercontinental Cup (March 17-23)
# – Name (Position, Hometown, Height)
1 – Travis Ricks (DS, San Diego, California, 5-7)
2 – Daniel Regan (MB, St. Louis, Missouri, 6-0)
3 – Sam Surowiec (OH, Kirkland, Washington, 6-2)
4 – Ben Aman (OH, Tacoma, Washington, 6-5)
5 – Eric Duda (OH, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 6-5)
8 – James Stuck (S, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, 6-5)
9 – Hugo Storer (L, Greensboro, North Carolina, 6-0)
11 – Roderick Green (MB, West Monroe, Louisiana, 6-3)
13 – Charlie Swearingen (MB, Gulfport, Mississippi, 6-3)
14 – John Kremer (L, Buford, Georgia, 5-9)
15 – Chris Seilkop (OH, DeLand, Fla., 6-6)
16 – Josh Smith (MB/OPP, Riverside, California, 6-2)
Head Coach: Greg Walker
Assistant Coach: Joe Skinner
Assistant Coach: Mike Hobson
Team Manager: Dixie Collins
Athletic Trainer: Katherine King
U.S. Intercontinental Cup Men’s Sitting Team Results
March 17: China def USA, 22-25, 25-19, 25-12, 25-18
March 18: Germany def USA, 25-14, 25-9, 25-21
March 19: Iran def USA, 25-10, 25-17, 30-28
March 20: Egypt def. USA 25-13, 25-22, 25-18
March 21: Brazil def. USA 25-15, 25-20, 25-17
March 22: Germany def. USA 25-16, 25-13, 25-18