COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 17, 2018) – Paralympian Bethany Zummo had finally made her way back from one injury when she suffered another blow.
Luckily, sitting volleyball players are used to picking themselves up, dusting themselves off and getting back to work.
On Tuesday, Zummo and the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team continued their dominance at the Sitting Volleyball World Championships in Netherlands, beating Japan, 25-14, 25-13, 25-12 to finish pool play 3-0.
Zummo was credited with eight receptions, 88 percent positive. Outside hitter Monique Burkland led all players in scoring with 15 points on a match-high 11 kills, three blocks and one ace. Middle blocker Lora Webster had four blocks. Setter Lexi Shifflett had four aces.
The U.S. Women led in kills (34-20), blocks (11-3) and aces (15-2).
The team will travel to Rotterdam on Wednesday and will play Ukraine in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 5 a.m. ET.
Zummo, a libero, suffered a concussion while warming up for a match in the sitting division at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships in May in Dallas. She hit her head on the floor while ducking from a ball.
“Coming back from an injury I was really nervous and excited to get back to competition,” she said from Netherlands. “Even with these feelings I know that I have a supportive team who will be there no matter what.”
The concussion happened just as Zummo was coming back from an injury to her hip.
In 2017, after competing with the U.S. Women at the World Super 6 tournament in China, Zummo was diagnosed with a torn labrum. Doctors considered surgery, but worried that the labrum would just tear again from the rigors of sitting volleyball.
“I did physical therapy for three months,” Zummo said. “I didn’t play volleyball at all. The said, ‘If you don’t let it chill out and let the inflammation go down and start building some muscle about it to buffer, it won’t get better.’”
She had learned about the importance of rest and physical therapy from two previous shoulder surgeries. Now she understands its importance for her hip.
“I feel stronger in my hip in a way that I didn’t know I needed to,” she said. “This sport is pretty new in development. The way that (Head Coach) Bill Hamiter had trained me to sit, not many people had done that before. Eight years later, my hip wore down.”
Zummo, whose right foot was amputated when she was a toddler due to two congenital disorders, started with the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team before the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. She was an alternate for that team that took the silver medal. She kept playing and won the Paralympic gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
She was also with the team for the 2014 World Championships, when it finished second to China.
“I remember when we lost, and it was heart wrenching,” Zummo said. “I think that’s the thing that motivated us to get gold in Rio.
“But Worlds is the one thing we haven’t won, so let’s go get it.”
U.S. STARTERS VS JAPAN
Outside hitters: Katie Holloway and Monique Burkland
Middle blockers: Lora Webster and Nicky Nieves
Setter: Lexi Shifflett
Opposite: Heather Erickson
Libero: Bethany Zummo
Substitutes: Jillian Williams (OH), Nichole Millage (MB), Tia Edwards (MB)
U.S. STATISTICS VS JAPAN
Kills: Burkland 11, Holloway 6, Erickson 6, Webster 4, Williams 3, Nieves 2, Edwards 2
Blocks: Webster 4, Burkland 3, Shifflett 1, Holloway 1, Millage 1, Nieves 1
Aces: Shifflett 4, Webster 3, Nieves 3, Millage 2, Erickson 1, Burkland 1, Edwards 1
U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
1. Lora Webster (MB, 5-11, Point Lookout, N.Y.)
2. Bethany Zummo (L, 5-2, Dublin, Calif.)
3. Lexi Shifflett (S, 5-4, Waseca, Minn.)
5. Katie Holloway (OH, 6-3, Lake Stevens, Wash.)
6. Heather Erickson (OH, 5-11, Fayetteville, NC)
7. Monique Burkland (OH, 5-9, Ardmore, Okla.)
8. Whitney Dosty(OH, 6-3, Tucson, Ariz.)
11. Jillian Williams (Opp, 5-10, Edmond, Oka.)
13. Nichole Millage (OH, 5-7, Champaign, Ill.)
14. Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (S, 5-6, Edmond, Okla.)
16. Nicky Nieves (MB, 5-10, Kissimmee, Fla.)
17. Tia Edwards (OH, 5-7, Skitatook, Okla.)
Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Lazaro Beltran
Assistant Coach: Jon Aharoni
Athletic Trainer: Patrick Lawrence
Team Manager: Michelle Goodall
Technical Coordinator: Jeffery Hicks
Team Psychologist: Emily Clark
U.S. Women’s Schedule for World Championships
Arnhem, Netherlands (All times ET)
July 15: USA def Hungary, 25-7, 25-3, 25-8
July 16: USA def Russia, 25-14, 25-16, 25-23
July 17: USA def Japan, 25-14, 25-13, 25-12
Rotterdam, Netherlands (All times ET)
July 19 at 5 a.m.: Quarterfinals – USA v Ukraine
July 20: Semifinals and classification matches
July 21: Placement and medal matches