Sitting Women Down Russia, Men Over Croatia

By Bill Kauffman | June 19, 2014, 12:35 p.m. (ET)

ELBLAG, Poland (June 18, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team, ranked third in the world, defeated No. 7 Russia 25-19, 12-25, 25-20, 25-17 on Thursday afternoon to conclude the ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championships Pool A with a 5-0 record in Elblag, Poland.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team defeated Croatia 25-22, 30-28, 25-21 Thursday to advance to Friday’s ninth-place match against Netherlands at 8 a.m. CT.

As for the U.S. Women, they will face an opponent to be determined later today in its semifinal match at 6:15 a.m. CT on Friday. Russia, which finished second in Pool A, will face Pool B winner China, which is ranked No. 1 in the world. At the most recent Sitting World Championships in 2010 and the last two Paralympic Games, China has defeated the United States in the gold-medal match. All Sitting World Championships matches can be watched online at

Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) led all players with 17 points via 11 kills, four blocks and two aces in the victory. Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.) pocketed 13 points with eight kills, three aces and two blocks. Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) collected nine points with seven kills and two blocks.

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Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.) tallied six kills on eight attacks. Michelle Schiffler (Lake Wales, Fla.) and Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.) charted five points each. Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.) came off the bench to add four kills, while Abby Mueller (Houston) rounded out the scoring with two points.

Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.) was credited with a 42 positive and 39 excellent service reception percent, handling 31 of the team’s 72 receptions.

The Americans converted 37 percent of their attacks into points compared to Russia’s 27 percent with 26 attack errors. However, the Russians held advantages in blocks (13-11) and aces (11-7).

The match was a battle of momentum in each set. The U.S. led the first set 7-2, only to have Russia tie the score at 9-all and hold a slim 16-15 advantage at the second technical timeout. However, the Americans would score 10 of the final 13 points for a 25-19 victory. In the second set, Russia broke a 7-all tie and tallied 18 of the last 23 points of the second set for a 25-12 victory.

Russia continued to surge in the third set, taking an 8-3 lead at the first technical timeout. The momentum swung back to the U.S. out of the break as the Americans scored 13 of the next 15 points to take a 16-10 advantage at the second technical timeout and cruised to a 25-20 victory. Like the third set, Russia started the fourth set with an 8-3 lead at the first technical timeout. Team USA clawed its way back into the set and trailed 16-15 by the second technical timeout. Russia would only score one more point as the Americans closed the set with a 10-1 run.

The U.S. Men won for the second time in the tournament and has opportunity to better their 2010 World Championship finish of 10th place.

Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) paced Team USA with 14 points via 13 kills and an ace. Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.) tallied a team-high five blocks to go with six kills on 14 swings. J. Dee Marinko (New Castle, Okla.) contributed six kills and two aces for eight points in the victory, which Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo.) matched with five kills, two aces and a block.

James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa.) charted four kills and three blocks for seven points. Edgar LaForest (San Juan, Puerto Rico) added five kills in the victory.

Team USA closed out the first set with an 11-6 run to win 25-22. Croatia led most of the second set, including a 21-18 late advantage. However, the U.S. battled back to tie the score at 24-all and saved several set points before winning 30-28. Croatia rallied from an 8-5 deficit in the third set to take a 16-15 edge heading into the second technical timeout, only to have the U.S. charge back in front 21-18 with six of the next eight points and going on to win 25-21.

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 (New Castle, 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 def. Finland 25-9, 25-23, 25-13
June 18: United States def. Slovenia 25-10, 25-14, 25-14
June 19: United States def. Russia 25-19, 12-25, 25-20, 25-17
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: Iran def. United States 25-7, 25-15, 25-17
June 18: Germany def. United States 25-22, 25-17, 25-18
June 19: United States def. Croatia 25-22, 30-28, 25-21
June 20: United States vs. Netherlands (9th Place Match)
June 21: Final Classification matches for Position 1-8