U.S. tops Ukraine 3-0 in sitting volleyball
LONDON – The U.S. women dominated in their sitting volleyball semifinal on Wednesday at ExCel, crushing Ukraine in three sets (25-14, 25-13, 25-19) to move on to the final.
Heather Erickson led Team USA in scoring, going 11 for 14 in spikes, and Monique Burkland was a solid defender with four successful blocks in five attempts.
Nichole Millage, who played on the team when they won silver in Beijing in 2008, was thrilled with the outcome.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I knew going into it that we’ve beat them several times, so as long as we played our game and we played it well, we’d be just fine.”
The team’s libero Kari Miller cited the team’s drive and determination as the source of their success. “It feels like we’re doing exactly what it is that we’re supposed to be doing,” she said. “That’s what we came here for and we’re just following our game plan.
“We have some dedicated players here. We’re hungry, we want it,” she added.
Immediately following their semifinal win, the U.S. wasn’t sure who they would be facing in the final since China and Netherlands played in a later semifinal game.
William Hamiter, the head coach, says it’s going to take a lot to beat the U.S. at this point in the tournament.
“We had a lot of confidence going in,” he said of the matchup against Ukraine. “We felt like we had a good game plan. The nice thing was the ladies just executed it perfectly and we kept expecting some answers. We just stayed aggressive and stuck to the game plan.”
No matter what happens in the final, the U.S. will take home a medal, but their focus is on winning gold.
“We believe it’s within our grasp,” Hamiter said. “We’ve just got to go out there and execute to earn it.”
Millage and some of the veterans on the team have been in this position before, and says she’s more excited than nervous for what’s ahead in the final.
“We’ve worked four years to get to this very spot, to this very day,” she said. “We’re going to take everything that we’ve learned and just apply it, go out and do our best.”
The gold medal final is set to take place Friday at 9 p.m. local time.