U.S. Sitting Women Secure Paralympic Silver Medal

Sept. 14, 2008, 9:25 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 14, 2008) – The U.S. Sitting Women’s Volleyball Team won the silver medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games on Sunday after falling to defending champion China in the final match, 25-14, 25-19, 25-15, before 5,500 spectators at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium in Beijing.

The U.S. Sitting Women finish the Paralympics with a record of 3-2, with their only other loss coming to China in pool play. Gold medalist China, which did not lose a set in the competition, is 5-0. Netherlands defeated Slovenia, 25-17, 25-16, 26-24, in the bronze medal match.

“It wasn’t the match we wanted to play,” said Lora Webster (Cave Creek, Ariz.). “But we worked extremely hard to get here and there is still nothing like having a medal hang around your neck.”

Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) led the United States with eight points on five kills, two blocks and one ace. Webster added six points on four kills, one block and one ace.  Brenda Maymon (Sellersberg, Ind.) tallied five points on three kills and two blocks.

Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) scored four points, including two aces. Gina McWilliams (The Colony, Texas), Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.) and Kendra Lancaster (Westfield, Ind.) each scored two points. McWilliams’ points both came on blocks. Nicole Millage (Champaign, Ill.) had one point.

Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.) was the United States’ designated libero.

U.S. Head Coach Mike Hulett started Aldrich, Webster, Erickson, Maymon, Holloway and Lancaster. Millage substituted in all three sets. McWilliams came in as a substitute in the second set and started the third for Lancaster.

China’s Yuhong Sheng led all scorers with 28 points on 22kills and six aces. Lijun Zhang added 12 points, including on two kills, four blocks and five aces.

China completed 33 kills on 76 attempts while the United States had 19 on 86 tries. China had 11 aces as opposed to the United States’ four. Team USA had seven blocks while China had eight. China also took advantage of 23 U.S. team errors while committing only 18.

The United States scored the first point of the first set with a powerful kill by Maymon. The set remained close and after the first technical timeout the score was tied at eight. China then began to pull away. Team USA marched back until China called a timeout with the U.S. sitting women trailing by two (14-12). After the timeout, Team USA managed only two more points in the set. The United States committed 13 hitting errors in the first set and struggled to keep the ball in play with their serves.

The teams played evenly to open the second set and the U.S. took a 7-5 lead. China responded with a 6-0 run and the United States could not regain form.

The teams were tied 3-3 to open the third set when China came on with strong hits and fast movement; ready to claim its gold medal. With China leading 21-15, it scored four unanswered points to finish the set and match.

“Playing the former gold medal team in their home country – that is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Assistant Coach Denise Van deWalle (Bowling Green, Ohio) said. “We have improved a lot and we’ve come so far but we were simply out-played today. It was just not our day.”

 “I wanted to win so badly,” a tearful Erickson said. “I think that we didn’t execute our plan and we had a lot of unforced errors. But I am going to keep playing and hopefully come back in four years and beat them.”

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.

The Beijing Paralympic Web site is http://en.paralympic.beijing2008.cn.

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

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:

Final Standings

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)
Ukraine def. Latvia, 25-22, 25-20, 25-20
Lithuania def. Japan, 25-19, 25-15, 22-25, 25-16

Day 6 Friday: (9/12)
Semifinal 1: USA def. Netherlands, 19-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-27, 15-10
Semifinal 2: China def. Slovenia, 25-21, 25-12, 25-19

Day 7 Saturday: (9/13)
Women's 7-8: Latvia def. Japan, 25-17, 10-25, 9-25, 25-19, 15-12
Women's 5-6: Ukraine def. Lithuania, 25-16, 25-16, 25-19

Day 8 Sunday: (9/14)
Women's Bronze Medal: Netherlands def. Slovenia, 25-17, 25-16, 26-24
Women's Gold Medal: China def. USA, 25-17, 25-16, 26-24