Watch Live: Sitting Teams Compete in Zonal Champs

By Darci Miller | Oct. 09, 2013, 11:11 a.m. (ET)


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 9, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Sitting Volleyball Teams are gearing up to compete in the 2013 ParaVolley Pan American Sitting Volleyball Zonal Championships, being held in Edmond, Okla., from Oct. 11-13.

Teams from Brazil and Canada are also scheduled to compete. The top women’s team and the top two men’s teams qualify for the 2014 ParaVolley World Championships in Poland. The U.S. women will take part in a best-of-three series against Brazil, with one match being played each day. The U.S. men will compete in a round-robin tournament against Brazil and Canada on Friday and Saturday morning, with semifinals on Saturday afternoon and the finals on Sunday morning. All matches will be live streamed on

Both U.S. teams are led by Head Coach Bill Hamiter (Bethany, Okla.).

The U.S. women’s squad is comprised of eight players that won the silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London: Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.), Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.), Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.), Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.), Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.), Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.) and Michelle Schiffler (Lake Wales, Fla.). Also joining the roster are Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.), Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minn.), Abby Mueller (Houston, Texas) and Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.).

Kaleo Kanahele
  Kaleo Kanahele serves for the U.S. Women's Sitting Volleyball
  Team as it competes at the 2013 Colorado Crossroads Junior
  National Qualifier in March.

The team most recently competed in the Moscow Open Cup, where it won gold after defeating current Paralympic champion China for the first time. But Hamiter is reluctant to say that this victory gives the team momentum going into the Zonal Championships.

“I don’t know that I really like to talk about momentum, per se,” Hamiter said. “I think they’re prepared, they’re confident in what they can do and that comes across when they’re on the court.”

The U.S. men’s team is also a veteran group, as eight members from the 2010 Sitting World Championship team return to the court: Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.), Edgardo LaForest (San Juan, Puerto Rico), J. Dee Marinko (Norman, Okla.), Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo.), James Stuck (New Kensington, Penn.), Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss.) and Hugo Storer (Greensboro, N.C.). They are joined by Jese Schag (Sheridan, Ill.), Travis Ricks (San Diego, Calif.), Steven Doudt (Pendleton, Ind.) and Benjamin Aman  (Portland, Ore.).

“Our men have a lot of confidence to play right now,” Hamiter said. “We played Canada earlier in the year. This is the first time with Brazil this year, but every time we play them it’s usually a close, hard-fought battle. So [they’re] excited and ready to play.”

The tournament takes place at the University of Central Oklahoma, which is where the U.S. Sitting Volleyball Teams train year-round. Both teams are looking forward to playing in front of their home crowd.

“I think that it’s a big thing for us,” Hamiter said. “Being able to play on our home court is a little bit of an advantage. And then also to have it here at UCO, where we train all the time and where we have people around that know us and can be here. It’s always good to have that fan base and to be able to be able to play in front of them and continue to build that support.”

The U.S. women will face Brazil first on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. CT, followed by matches on Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. CT and Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. CT. The men take on Canada on Oct. 11 at 10 a.m. CT, then Brazil on Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. CT. The semifinal match will take place on Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. CT and the final will be held on Oct. 13 at 9 a.m. CT.

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)
10 – Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.)
11 – Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.)
13 – Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
16 – Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.)

Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Cara Lang
Assistant Coach: David Mullane
Team Manager: Dixie Collins
Trainer: Kazuma Akehi
Statistician: Jeffery Hicks

2013 ParaVolley Pan American Sitting Volleyball Zonal Championships Schedule

Oct. 11: USA vs. Brazil, 2 p.m. CT
Oct. 12: Brazil vs. USA, 11 a.m. CT
Oct. 13: USA vs. Brazil, 11 a.m. CT

U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team

1 – Travis Ricks (San Diego, Calif.)
2 – Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo.)
3 – Samuel Surowiec (Everett, Wash.)
4 – Benjamin Aman  (Portland, Ore.)
5 – Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
6 – Jese Schag (Sheridan, Ill.)
7 – Steven Doudt (Pendleton, Ind.)
8 – James Stuck (New Kensington, Penn.)
9 – Hugo Storer (Greensboro, N.C.)
10 – Edgardo LaForest (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
11 – Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.)
13 – Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss.)
18 – J. Dee Marinko (Norman, Okla.)

Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Dixie Collins
Assistant Coach: Quinton Kraeer
Team Manager: Dixie Collins
Trainer: Patrick Lawrence
Statistician: Jeffery Hicks

2013 ParaVolley Pan American Sitting Volleyball Zonal Championships Schedule

Oct. 11: USA vs. Canada, 10 a.m. CT
Oct. 11: Brazil vs. Canada, 4 p.m. CT
Oct. 12: Brazil vs. USA, 9 a.m. CT
Oct. 12: Semifinal, 3 p.m. CT
Oct. 13: Championship, 9 a.m. CT