COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 6, 2012) -In 2008 the U.S. Paralympic Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team took home the silver after falling to China, 25-17, 25-16, 26-24 in the Beijing Paralympic Games gold medal match.
This year Team USA wants a different outcome. They want gold.
"This match is the most important match we have played in four years," Katie Holloway said. "All the sacrifice of training and living away from our families comes down to this one match."
China, currently ranked No. 1 in the world and USA, ranked No. 2 will compete for the gold in front of a sold out ExCeL London crowd at 9 p.m. London time (1 p.m. PT) in a 2008 Paralympic rematch. The match will also be live streamed at Paralympics.org for the rest of the world to watch.
"Up until this time, China have been largely uncontested as the number one ranked team in the world for sitting volleyball competition," U.S. captain Kendra Lancaster (Westfield, Ind.) said. "But this year we hope to change that. Our team have been training for this exact moment for the last four years, and we are going into this game extremely well-prepared to take them on. This is our chance to prove to the world what we've known all along: that WE are the best sitting volleyball team in the world."
During the 2012 London Paralympics the U.S. holds a 3-1 record with its only loss coming from China (4-0) who edged the U.S. in its first match of the tournament, 22-25, 32-30, 25-17. Since that match the Americans have not dropped a set, sweeping Slovenia, Brazil and Ukraine to advance into the final match.
"The only thing we need to make sure to execute is our game," Holloway said. "We are in control out there and that is the best feeling in the world. We are ready to fight for it. We are definitely hungry for that Gold!"
China, two-time defending Paralympic gold medalists (2004, 2008), came back from a 2-0 set deficit to The Netherlands to advance into the finals with a 17-25, 25-14, 13-25, 25-16, 15-11 final score.
Team USA is led by Head Coach Bill Hamiter (Bethany, Okla.) and includes Lancaster, Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.), Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla./University of Central Oklahoma Resident Athlete), Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C./UCO Resident Athlete), Michelle Gerlosky-Schiffler (Lake Wales, Fla./UCO Resident Athlete), Holloway, Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Brenda Maymon-Jenson (Charlestown, Ind.), Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill./UCO Resident Athlete), Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.) and Lora Webster (Phoenix, Ariz.).
Eight athletes will return from the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team: Aldrich, Erickson, Holloway, Maymon-Jensen, Webster, Millage, Miller and Lancaster.
Aldrich, Maymon-Jenson, Webster and Lancaster are making their third Paralympic appearance as they also competed at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, where the United States won the bronze medal.
Burkland, Gerlosky-Schiffler and Kanahele will look to make their Paralympic debuts.
Joining Hamiter on the staff for London will be assistant coach Cara Lang, team leader Cecile Reynaud, athletic trainer Brian Choate and statistician Elliot Blake.
Vying for the bronze will be Ukraine vs. defending bronze medalists, The Netherlands at 7 p.m. London time (11 a.m. PT).
The medal ceremony will follow the conclusion of the gold match at approximately 10:45 p.m. London time (2:45 p.m. PT).
"We surprised everyone in Athens by winning Bronze against much more experienced teams and improved upon that by beating the Netherlands for a berth in the gold medal match in Beijing," Lancaster said. "We lost to China and brought home Silver, and it was the same story in 2010. None of us are interested in duplicating that feeling, nor the result. We're a much better team than we were in the past. We're stronger, more experienced, more mature and more determined, and we're tired of being in second place."
2004 Athens Paralympic Results
Gold - China
Silver - Netherlands
Bronze - United States
2008 Beijing Paralympic Results
Gold - China
Silver - USA
Bronze - Netherlands
2012 U.S. Women's Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Team
#- Name (Hometown/UCO Resident Athlete)
#1 - Lora Webster (Phoenix, Ariz.)
#3 - Brenda Maymon-Jensen (Charlestown, Ind.)
#4 - Michelle Gerlosky (Lake Wales, Fla./UCO Resident Athlete)
#5 - Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash./UCO Resident Athlete)
#6 - Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C./UCO Resident Athlete)
#7 - Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla./UCO Resident Athlete)
#10-Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.)
#11-Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.)
#13-Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill./UCO Resident Athlete)
#14-Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
#15-Kendra Lancaster (Westfield, Ind.)
Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif./UCO Resident Athlete)
Angela DeHaan (Yuba City, Calif.)
Head Coach: Bill Hamiter (Bethany, Okla.)
Assistant Coach: Cara Lang (Sartell, Minn.)
Statistician: Elliot Blake
Athletic Trainer: Brian Choate
Team Leader: Cecile Reynaud
2012 London Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Schedule
Times are in local time in London and in (Pacific Standard Time).
Friday, Aug. 31
Ukraine def. Great Britain 25-9, 25-20, 25-14
China def. USA 22-25, 32-30, 25-23, 25-17
Netherlands def. Japan 22-25, 25-18, 25-13, 25-14
Saturday, Sept. 1
China def. Brazil 26-24, 25-15, 20-25, 25-16
Netherlands def. Great Britain 25-13, 25-12, 25-15
USA def. Slovenia 25-8, 25-15, 25-8
Sunday, Sept. 2
Ukraine def. Netherlands 26-24, 15-25, 25-11, 25-19
Brazil def. Slovenia 25-17, 30-28, 19-25, 21-25, 15-7
Japan def. Great Britain 25-11, 25-21, 25-14
Monday, Sept. 3
China def. Slovenia 25-12, 25-15. 25-16
Ukraine def. Japan 25-20, 25-9, 25-16
USA def. Brazil 25-13, 25-20, 25-19
Tuesday, Sept. 4
Brazil def. Great Britain 25-19, 25-10, 25-7
Slovenia def. Japan 25-19, 25-22, 25-20
Wednesday, Sept. 5
USA def. Ukraine 25-14, 25-13, 25-19
China def. Netherlands 17-25, 25-14, 13-25, 25-16, 15-11
Thursday, Sept. 6
Japan def. Great Britain 25-23, 25-19, 25-13
Brazil def. Slovenia 25-16, 25-14, 21-25, 25-21
Friday, Sept. 7
Ukraine def. Netherlands 25-14, 25-21, 25-16
USA vs. China 9 p.m. (1 p.m. PT) Gold Medal Match