LONDON – The U.S. women’s sitting volleyball team claimed the silver medal Friday at ExCel, falling to China in a thrilling gold medal match.
Team USA started strong, winning the first set 25-22. China struck back quickly and won the next three sets in a row (15-25, 30-32, 15-25) to capture their third consecutive gold. In the history of sitting volleyball at the Paralympic Games, the U.S. and China have always met in the gold medal final, always with the same result.
“Today’s match was absolutely a battle,” Katie Holloway said. “We went out there confident; we left it all on the floor. I feel good with our play – it wasn’t good enough. China brought the best game we have seen throughout the tournament, so you have to give it up for that.”
Holloway was the team’s leading scorer through the Paralympic tournament, and had 28 spikes and 3 blocks in tonight’s match. She said the initial win and China’s semifinal game against Netherlands were both confidence boosters.
“They’re a great team,” she explained. “We knew exactly how they play, and we knew we could control the outcome of this game if we played our absolute best. Unfortunately that best was not good enough, and you can’t see that coming.”
Heather Erickson, who is a veteran of the team and also a top contributor in scoring, said the team hoped to leave it all out on the court, which she believes they did, even though their overall goal was to win the gold.
“It’s not what we came here for, but I still feel so privileged to have this medal around my neck,” she said.
The U.S. and China have played many times, though the U.S. has not been able to best China in international competition. Team USA is proud of its efforts, but there is unfinished business where the gold medal is concerned.
"I definitely want that gold. I want USA’s national anthem to be played and a gold medal around my neck,” said Erickson. “That’s always everybody’s expectation and goal. We’ll see what happens in Rio – I’ll be back."