U.S. Sitting Teams Open Season with Victories

March 21, 2009, 7:54 p.m. (ET)

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

DENVER, Colo. (March 21, 2009) Updated March 26, 2009 – The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Sitting Volleyball Teams won their first international matches of the season on Friday when they each played Canada as part of the Colorado Crossroads Tournament at the Colorado Convention Center.

First the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team defeated Canada 25-9, 25-11, 25-18. Later in the evening, the U.S. Men beat Canada 25-13, 25-19, 18-25, 25-21. They also played an extra set, which the United States won 25-13.

Both the United States and Canada were using the matches to warm up for the Parapan American qualifier in May in Montreal.

The teams played again on March 21, with the U.S. Women sweeping two matches: 25-17, 25-21, 25-7 and 25-13, 25-15, 25-18. The U.S. Men also swept the two March 21 matches: 25-17, 25-11, 25-13 and 25-21, 25-15, 26-24.

The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team won the silver medal at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing under Coach Mike Hulett. However Bill Hamiter (Bethany, Okla.) is now coaching both teams.

 “This is the first time the women have played since Beijing. We need international matches,” Hamiter said of the U.S. Women. “They are learning a new system under me.”

Canada started its women’s sitting program in 2008. Both teams were more focused on their own improvement than beating the other.

“I’m stressing movement, transition and receiving,” Hamiter said. “Overall, I thought we served well. We picked our holes. We had a few unforced errors.”

“It was fun seeing the girls out there,” Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.) said. “It’s the first time most of them have been back since Beijing.”

“We played good,” Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) said. “We’re learning a new system. But I thought we played like a team.”

The U.S. Men will have one primary goal on their minds for the next four years: the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. A heartbreaking loss to Brazil in the gold medal match at the 2007 Parapan American Games meant the men’s team did not qualify for Beijing. Canada took the bronze medal at the 2007 Parapan Ams.

“We learned a lot of things (in 2007),” said Brent Rasmussen. “In tight situations, we have to step up.”

Hamiter thought that the crowds that stopped to watch the teams play at Crossroads might have led to the third-set loss to Canada.

“There was a crowd here and that was both good and bad,” Hamiter said. “Some of these guys want to impress people and that can lead to errors.

“It was nice to see our guys come back in the fourth set. We were down 4-8 at the first technical timeout, but were leading 16-4 at the second. I like that comeback.”

View a photo gallery of the matches at www.usavolleyball.org/multimedia/photo_gallery/590.

U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team

Allison Aldrich
Katie Holloway
Alex Gouldie
Michelle Gowalsky
SuGui Kriss
Hope Lewellen
Brenda Maymon
Gina McWilliams
Nichole Millage
Karri Miller

U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team

Eric Duda
Josh Franklin
Roderick Green
Akbar Hussein
Brad Johnson
Matt Johnson
Edgar Laforest
Brent Rasmussen
Dan Regan
James Stuck
Jose Zabala