COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 13, 2012) – For a second straight year, Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) has been named the USA Volleyball Female Athlete of the Year for sitting volleyball.
Holloway’s 2012 season with the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team included a silver medal at the Paralympic Games in London and a gold medal at the Volleyball Masters in The Netherlands.
She earned Best Spiker honors at the Paralympic Games and was named Most Valuable Player of the Volleyball Masters. The Women's Sports Foundation nominated her for ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ in the team sport category.
“I am very honored to be named Player of the Year,” Holloway, 26, said via e-mail from Louisville, Ky., where she was attending the AVCA Convention and NCAA Women’s Division I Championship. “I am so thankful to USA Volleyball for all the support throughout the last four years and leading up to London.”
After Holloway and the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team finished second to China at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, winning gold in London became the team’s focus. The team played exhibition matches against Chinese club teams both in the United States and China over the past four years.
In 2012, the team visited Shanghai for exhibition matches and also played against the team from Netherlands in the United States.
The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team opened the Paralympics with a loss to China in pool play. It came back to defeat Slovenia, Brazil and Ukraine before losing to China again, 22-25, 25-15, 32-30, 25-15, in the gold medal match.
“My highlight for 2012 was the semifinal round against Ukraine,” Holloway said. “I felt we played some of the best volleyball during that match. The low point was losing the third set to China in the gold medal round. It hurt my heart.”
Holloway started all 17 sets that the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team played in at the Paralympic Games. She led the U.S. Women in scoring in four Paralympic matches, finishing with 98 points on 80 kills, nine blocks and seven aces. Her best match was the gold medal game against China, where she scored 33 points on 28 kills, three blocks and two aces.
“I absolutely could not have been where I am without the help of (U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Head Coach) Bill Hamiter, our athletic trainer Brian Choate and the team,” Holloway said. “Bill has created an amazing program that has helped us become faster and stronger and helped us develop a greater volleyball IQ. Brian has made me the healthiest I can be and was of utmost importance to my mental and physical well-being.
“My teammates have been critical in getting us to the top and I couldn't imagine finishing the way we did without all of us together.”
Holloway plans to stay with the team, but may take some time off after recently accepting a position as a recreational therapist with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Palo Alto, Calif.
“This sport is so close to my heart, I definitely couldn't live without it,” Holloway said. “But as I transition into the next chapter of my life and my career, I will probably spend some time off getting settled into my new position. I am very excited to see how the program blossoms from here, we already have so many new players who look promising.”