U.S. Women's Sitting Team Advances to Semifinals

Sept. 10, 2008, 1:15 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

Katrina Shaklee of the University of Central Oklahoma contributed to this release

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 10, 2008) – In a repeat of the 2004 Paralympic semifinals for women’s sitting volleyball, the United States will play Netherlands in Friday’s semifinals and China will face Slovenia.

The winners will play for the gold medal on Sunday.

The United States advanced to the semifinals by defeating Latvia on Wednesday, 25-12, 25-17, 25-11 in 57 minutes before a crowd of 800 at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium in Beijing. The United States finished second in Pool B with a 2-1 record. China won the pool with a 3-0 record.

Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.) led all scorers with 13 points on a match-high six kills, a match-high six aces and one block.

“I thought the team came together really well and we all got to play,” Aldrich said. “I was really mentally focused and had my goals in mind every time I hit the ball.”

Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) added nine points on five kills, two blocks and two aces. Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) scored seven points, including two blocks. Brenda Maymon (Sellersberg, Ind.) scored six points, including four kills. Gina McWilliams (The Colony, Texas) scored five points. Kendra Lancaster (Westfield, Ind.) added three points. Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.), Lora Webster (Cave Creek, Ariz.) and Sugui Kriss (Ravena, N.Y.) each scored two points. Kriss’ points came on two aces.

U.S. Head Coach Mike Hulett (Des Plaines, Ill.) started Erickson, Aldrich, Maymon, Holloway, Lancaster and Webster. Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.) was the designated libero.

Every player on the U.S. roster saw time on the court as the United States overwhelmed Latvia. Team USA finished with 27 team kills, converting 40 percent of its attempts. Latvia had nine team kills, converting 13 percent of its attempts.

The United States out-blocked Latvia 8-7 and had 14 team aces as compared to four for Latvia.

The U.S. Sitting Women committed 20 team errors while Latvia had 26.

When the U.S. Sitting Women face Netherlands on Friday, it will be the sixth time the teams have played this year. In March, the Netherlands traveled to the Chicago area and played four friendly matches against the United States, with the United States winning three.

The teams played again in April at the World Organization Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD) Intercontinental Cup in Ismailia, Egypt. This time, Netherlands defeated the United States in the semifinals, 26-24, 25-15, 28-26, and went on to win the tournament by defeating Slovenia in the gold medal match.

"As a team, we know the Netherlands well," Hulett said. "We have a slight advantage because they had to send one of their starters home due to illness. But of course, we still have to elevate our game."

The U.S. Sitting Women lost to Netherlands in the semifinals of the 2004 Paralympic tournament in Athens. China beat Slovenia in the other semifinal. China defeated Netherlands to win the gold medal in Athens, while the United States beat Slovenia, 25-20, 10-25, 25-18, 25-20 to capture the bronze. 

There will be daily live and delayed highlight shows of the Paralympic Games on Sept. 6-17, on www.UniversalSports.com and www.usparalympics.org, and there will be a special NBC broadcast on Oct. 18.

U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team
Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.)
Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.)
Alex Gouldie (St. Paul, Neb.)
Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.)
SuGui Kriss (Ravena, N.Y.)
Kendra Lancaster (Westfield, Ind.)
Hope Lewellen (Palos Park, Ill.)
Brenda Maymon Team Captain (Sellersberg, Ind.)
Gina McWilliams (The Colony, Texas)
Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.)
Kari Miller (Washington D.C.)
Lora Webster (Cave Creek, Ariz.)

Head Coach: Mike Hulett (Des Plaines, Ill.)
Assistant Coach: Denise Van De Walle (Bowling Green, Ohio)
Assistant Coach: Cara Bartolic (Sartell, Minn.)
Team Leader: Roger Neppl (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Women’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic Teams:
1. China as host nation (No. 2 at 2006 World Championship)
2. Netherlands as No. 1 of 2006 World Championship
3. Slovenia as No. 3 of 2006 World Championship
4. Lithuania as No. 4 of 2006 World Championships
5. USA, replacing Afro Arab CVD Champion as No. 5 of 2006 World Championships
5. Ukraine, replacing Pan American CVD Champion as No. 6 of 2006 World Championship
6. Japan as No. 2 of Asia Oceania CVD Championship
7. Latvia as No. 5 of European CVD Championship

Competition Results and Schedule:

Pool A
Netherlands 3-0
Slovenia 2-1
Ukraine 1-2
Japan 0-3

Pool B
China 3-0
USA 2-1
Lithuania 1-2
Latvia 0-3

Day 1 Sunday: (9/7)
USA def. Lithuania, 25-15, 25-18, 25-9
Netherlands def. Japan, 25-4, 25-21, 25-18
China def. Latvia, 25-4, 25-7, 25-16

Day 2 Monday: (9/8)
Slovenia def. Japan, 25-19, 21-25, 25-19, 25-9
Netherlands def. Ukraine, 25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19
China def. Lithuania, 25-18, 25-17, 25-14

Day 3 Tuesday: (9/9)
Slovenia def. Ukraine, 11-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-22
Lithuania def. Latvia, 16-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-19
China def. USA, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19

Day 4 Wednesday: (9/10)
Ukraine def. Japan, 25-16, 25-14, 25-18
USA def. Latvia, 25-12, 25-17, 25-11
Netherlands def. Slovenia, 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 22-25, 15-11

Day 5 Thursday: (9/11)
10:00-11:30 Women's Team 5-8
16:00-17:30 Women's Team 5-8

Day 6 Friday: (9/12)
10:00-11:30 Women's Team Semifinal 1
16:00-17:30 Women's Team Semifinal 2

Day 7 Saturday: (9/13)
10:00-11:30 Women's Team 7-8
16:00-17:30 Women's Team 5-6

Day 8 Sunday: (9/14)
16:00-17:30 Women's Team Bronze Medal
18:00-19:30 Women's Team Gold Medal Match
19:45-20:05 Women's Gold Medal Ceremony