U.S. Women Take Silver at Sitting Worlds

By Bill Kauffman | June 21, 2014, 12:34 p.m. (ET)

ELBLAG, Poland (June 21, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team was within a point of capturing its first major international title, but its nemesis China came away with a hard-fought 23-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 17-15 victory Saturday to claim the ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championships gold medal in Elblag, Poland.

No. 1 China and No. 3 United States have faced each other in the gold-medal match of the last four major events (2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games, 2010 and 2014 World Championships), and each time the Chinese have pulled out the victory.

By reaching the title match of the World Championships, both the U.S. and China had already qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games to take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

In the fifth set, China held the early lead at 5-4, but the U.S. scored eight of the next 12 points to assume a 12-9 advantage and closing in on the title. The Americans held match point at 14-13, but the Chinese answered and took the lead at 15-14 and went on to win 17-15.

Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) scored a team-high 24 points with 23 kills on 62 attacks. Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) chipped in 14 points via 12 kills and two blocks. Michelle Schiffler (Lake Wales, Fla.) chipped in 13 points with a team-high six blocks, five kills and two aces. Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.) charted 10 points with six kills, two blocks and two aces. Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.) each scored seven points in the match.

Erickson handled 26 receptions with a 69 positive reception percent. Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.) was credited with a 59 positive reception percent on a team-high 34 reception chances. Holloway had a 71 positive reception percent on 14 chances.

China held slim margins in blocks (17-15) and aces (8-7) during the match. Both teams converted 32 percent of its attacks into points. Team USA had a 59 positive reception percent for the match to China’s 54 percent.

China’s Sheng led all scorers with 31 points, including 22 kills on 64 attacks, seven blocks and two aces.

The U.S. led much of the first set, including a 16-13 advantage at the second technical timeout. However, China stayed close and tied the set at 23-all before the Americans scored the final two points. China led by as many as four points in the second set, but the U.S. took a 15-13 advantage prior to China netting three straight points to grab a 16-15 margin at the second technical timeout. China went on to win 25-22 as the U.S. could not regain the advantage.

In the third set, China rushed out to an 8-2 advantage at the first technical timeout. The U.S. responded with 14 of the next 19 points to take a 16-13 advantage into the second technical timeout. Team USA cruised into a 25-19 victory in the third set. China led nearly the entire fourth set with as big a lead as five points at 16-11 at the second technical timeout before closing the frame at 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

Women’s World Championship Schedule
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, 25-3, 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: United States def. Netherlands 26-24, 25-16, 25-13 (semifinals)
June 21: China def. United States 23-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 17-15 (gold-medal match)

Men’s World Championship Schedule (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: Netherlands def. United States 21-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-18 (9th Place Match)