“We are excited to build a relationship with them since we are playing for the same goal right now, which is gold in London,” said Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.), a member of the U.S. Women’s National Sitting Team. “It is great to watch the men’s team and see this level of play from all the international teams.”
Both U.S. teams have qualified for the 2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games and are down to their last few weeks of preparation before taking the next step in winning the gold medal for Team USA.
“It’s exciting because it’s joining together the USA Volleyball family,” said Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.), a member of the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team. “We are here to support the men’s teams who have our same volleyball roots and competitive urgency to be the best.”
The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team is going to the Olympic Games to defend their 2008 gold medal, while the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team will look to finish their cycle with a first-ever Paralympic gold-medal finish after capturing silver in 2008 and bronze in 2004. Both teams have been working tirelessly on and off the court to improve their game and increase the awareness of the sport in the United States.
“It is important that we support each other,” U.S. Women’s Sitting Team player Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) said. “It is an amazing feeling to know that our standing teams support us and recognize us. We can all relate to the need and want to grow the game of volleyball as a whole.”
With such hectic schedules and training centers half a country apart, the teams unfortunately do not get the chance to interact as much as they would like to.
“More than anything it is awesome for us to meet the team face to face,” said Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), a member of the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team. “We are never in the same place at the same time and our home bases are far from each other with us in Anaheim, Calif., and them in Oklahoma City. They arrive in London after we go home so this weekend gives us a unique opportunity to show our mutual support for each other as we both attempt to play for the same country, play for the same people and support the same sport.”
The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team continues to lead Pool C of the FIVB World League. The squad defeated Korea on June 29 and will face France on June 30 and Italy on July 1. Both matches start at 7:30 p.m. CT. If Team USA outplays France, the Americans will secure a spot in the FIVB Final Round in Bulgaria to be held July 4-8.
“I’m highly impressed and inspired watching these guys,” said Michelle Gerlosky (Lake Wales, Fla. ), a member of the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team. “It was great to watch them win last night’s match in three and it honestly just gets me pumped up for London.”
There are 27 days before the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and 59 before the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. Though the teams will not be able to support the other in person at the Games, their well wishes have been communicated and the common goal of bringing home the gold across all disciplines is understood without any reservations.
For more information about the FIVB World league Tournament, click here.
For more information about the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team, click here.