USA Gets Two Big Wins at Sitting Worlds

By Bill Kauffman | June 16, 2014, 2:56 p.m. (ET)

ELBLAG, Poland (June 16, 2014) – Both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Sitting Volleyball Teams recorded victories Monday during pool play at the ParaVolley Sitting World Championships Monday in Elbag, Poland.

The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team improved to 2-0 in Pool A with a convincing 25-5, 25-8, 25-8 victory over host and No. 18 Poland. The U.S. will look to move to 3-0 on Tuesday against Finland (0-2) at 2:30 a.m. ET Meanwhile, the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team (1-1) earned its first win of the tournament with a 25-17, 25-22, 25-22 victory over Iraq (0-2), but will have a tough challenge ahead on Tuesday as it faces No. 1 Iran at 8 a.m. ET. Matches can be watched online at

J. Dee Marinko (Norman, Okla.) paced the U.S. Men with 15 points that included 13 kills with a 59 attack percent. Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) came off the bench to spark the Americans with nine kills on 19 attacks and a block. Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.) added eight points with four kills, three blocks and an ace.

Edgar LaForest (San Juan, Puerto Rico) totaled six points in the victory, while Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo.) added four points. Sam Surowikiec (Everett, Wash.) and Jese Schag (Sheridan, Ill.) each pocketed one point. Duda handled 18 of the team’s 59 service receptions with a 56 excellent reception percent.

Team USA held slim advantages over Iraq in blocks (9-8) and aces (6-4), but its ability to put balls away on offense proved to be one of the main differences. The Americans converted 40 percent of their attacks with James Stuck (North Kensington, Pa.) doing most of the setting. Meanwhile, Iraq converted just 33 percent of its attacks.

The U.S. Men continue Pool B on Tuesday against No. 1 Iran. Quarterfinal play-in matches and 13-16 classification matches are scheduled for June 18, followed by the quarterfinal round and classification matches on June 19, semifinals and classification matches on June 20 and final classification matches on June 21.

The U.S. Women had a much easier time on the court. After Poland scored the first point of the match, the No. 3 U.S. scored 16 straight points on Michelle Schiffler’s (Lake Wales, Fla.) serve and never looked back in the victory. Schiffler tallied 22 points in the match, including 17 aces, four kills on six attacks and a block. Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) turned in 13 points with 11 kills on 15 errorless attacks and two blocks. Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.) added 10 points including nine aces.

“We prepare the same way for each match, regardless of the opponent,” U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Head Coach Bill Hamiter said in reference to the first to matches in the tournament and getting ready for bigger challenges later on. “That doesn’t change for us. We will still review our stats, video and scouting information. We are looking at these first two matches, even though they were some lopsided scores, as a good precursor for us to continue to get ready, get a good rhythm going. We are getting a lot of a players in different situations, which will help us in the tournament.”

Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.) chipped in seven points, followed by Abby Mueller (Houston, Texas) with six points, Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.) with five points and Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) with four points.

Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minn.) and Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.) shared the majority of the setting duties as Team USA convert 70 percent of its 37 attacks with a .568 hitting efficiency. Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.) handled a team-high seven receptions.

Team USA totaled 33 aces for the match and out-blocked Poland 8-4.

Team USA continues Pool A against Finland on Tuesday, followed by Slovenia on June 18 and Russia on June 19. The top two teams from both pools advance to the semifinal round on June 20, while the remaining teams compete in the classification round. The tournament concludes on June 21 with all final classification matches.

U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team
2 – Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.)
3 – Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minn.)
4 – Michelle Schiffler (Lake Wales, Fla.)
5 – Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.)
6 – Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.)
7 – Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.)
9 – Abby Mueller (Houston, Texas)
13 – Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
16 – Nicole Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.)
Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coaches: Cara Lang, Jeffery Hicks
Therapist: Patrick Lawrence
Team Manager: Laura Finch

U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team
1 – Travis Ricks (San Diego, Calif.)
2 – Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo.)
3 – Sam Surowiec (Everett, Wash.)
4 – Benjamin Aman (Edmond, Okla.)
5 – Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
6 – Jese Shag (Sheridan, Ill.)
8 – James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa.)
9 – Hugo Storer (Greensboro, N.C.)
10 – Edgar Laforest (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
11 – Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.)
13 – Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss.)
18 – J. Dee Marinko (Norman, Okla.)
Head Coach: Quinton Kraeer
Assistant Coaches: Greg Walker, Joseph Skinner
Therapist: Katherine King
Team Manager: Dixie Collins

U.S. Women’s World Championship Schedule for Pool A (times local)
June 15: United States def. Great Britain 25-11, 25-11, 25-10
June 16: United States def. Poland 25-5, 25-8, 25-8
June 17: United States vs. Finland, 9:30 a.m., Court 3
June 18: United States vs. Slovenia, 9:15 a.m., Court 2
June 19: United States vs. Russia, 1:30 p.m., Court 3
June 20: Semifinals and Classification Rounds
June 21: Final Classification Matches

U.S. Men’s World Championship Schedule for Pool B (times local)
June 15: Egypt def. United States 25-21, 25-20, 25-16
June 16: United States def. Iraq 25-17, 25-22, 25-22
June 17: United States vs. Iran, 3 p.m., Court 1
June 18: Quarterfinal Play-in and 13-16 Classification matches
June 19: Quarterfinals and 9-16 Classification matches
June 20: Semifinals and 5-16 Classification matches
June 21: Final Classification matches