COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 3, 2012)-
The U.S. Men's Sitting Volleyball Team defeated Iraq, 25-21, 25-21, 18-25, 25-21 in its first match of the Intercontinental Cup on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt.
"This was an important Pool A win and more importantly a win against another non-qualified team," U.S. Head Coach Bill Hamiter (Bethany, Okla.) said. "Both pools have four non-qualified teams. The highest non-qualified finishers in each pool will play in crossover matches to determine who will gain the last bid for London."
Hamiter started J Dee Marinko (Newcastle, Okla.) and Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Edmond, Okla.) at outside hitter, Roderick Green (West Monroe, La./Edmond, Okla.) and Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo./Edmond, Okla.) at middle blocker, James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa./Edmond, Okla.) and Charles Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss./Edmond, Okla.) at right side and Ed O'Neil (Amherst, Mass./Edmond, Okla.) at libero. The team hit .214 for the match and out-blocked Iraq 18-8.
"The team stepped up and played well under pressure with good control shots and great blocking," Stuck said. "We are focused on giving ourselves a shot at playing for a bid in London."
The American high scorer was Duda with 18 points. Stuck charted 14 points while both Swearingen and Green posted 10 and Regan and Marinko scored eight.
The 14 teams will be competing in two separate tournaments during their play, one for Paralympic qualification and one for the Intercontinental Cup (ICC). Matches will only count for the London qualification if they are against non-qualified opponents. On the contrary, all matches leading up to the London qualification semis and finals, even those against Egypt, Iran and Brazil will count toward the Intercontinental Cup standings. Each tournament will have its own set of winners and results.
Next up for the United States will be Kazakhstan at 11:30 a.m. local time on the March 4.
The last time the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team qualified for the Paralympic Games was in 2004 when it defeated Brazil at the Parapan American Games in Argentina for a bid to the Athens Paralympics.
2012 U.S. Men's Sitting Team Roster
Name (Hometown/Resident athletes at the University of Central Oklahoma are noted)
Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Edmond, Okla.)
Roderick Green (West Monroe, La./Edmond, Okla.)
J. Dee Marinko (Newcastle, Okla.)
Ed O'Neil (Amherst, Mass./Edmond, Okla.)
Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo./Edmond, Okla.)
James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa./Edmond, Okla.)
Hugo Storer (Greensboro, N.C.)
Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss./Edmond, Okla.)