COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 9, 2015) – The U.S. Parapan Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team breezed by host Canada 25-1, 25-14, 25-11, utilizing a 21-1 aces advantage on Sunday afternoon in both team’s opening Parapan American Games match in Toronto.
Team USA, already qualified for next summer’s 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, returns to Parapan American Games action on Monday against Cuba with a 3:05 p.m. ET first serve. The Americans close out the preliminary round on Tuesday against Brazil at 7 p.m. ET.
Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.) led the Americans with 13 points, including seven kills on 12 attacks, four aces and two blocks. Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) chipped in eight kills on 12 swings, one block and one ace for 10 points. Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.) contributed six kills on 11 attacks and two aces for eight points.
Team USA converted 50 percent of its attacks with Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minn.) sharing the setting duties. Kanahele was credited with 16 running sets on 19 set attempts in starting the first and third sets, while Shifflett turned in 11 running sets on 16 attempts in starting the third set. The Americans held a .306 hitting efficiency for the match.
Tia Edwards (Skiatook, Okla) tallied all six of her points in the first set alone, all on six aces on 14 serves. Kanahele pocketed two blocks, two aces and a kill from her setting position. Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) collected five points with four kills and an ace.
"We played well for our first match maintaining our focus and intensity," U.S. Parapan Women's Sitting Volleyball Team Head Coach Bill Hamiter said. "Three of our players gained their first international experience at a major event and had solid performances. Tia Edwards played exceptionally well in the first set, especially from the service line where she had six aces. We had a few missed setter-hitter connections through the second and third sets as we were working on some new offensive attacks, but that will correct itself in time. I was pleased with our performance."
"I was actually really nervous, but it helped to know my team had faith and confidence in me," Edwards said. "My first international match was a great experience and I just tried to perform like I was in practice and have done thousands of times."
Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.) charted three kills and an ace in starting the third set, while Angela Palacio totaled three aces in just the second set. Courtney Baker (Crofton, Ky.), who subbed into the match in the second set and started the third set, rounded out the scoring with two kills and an ace for three points.
Libero Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.), who started the first and third sets, was credited with three digs, three excellent receptions on three chances and one running set on her only set attempt. Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.), a two-time Paralympic Games silver medalist who just returned to the team, started the second set at libero and piled up five excellent receptions on five chances to go with four digs.
Holloway added four digs and six running sets on eight chances. Burkland was credited with seven excellent receptions on eight chances to go with three digs. Nieves amassed five digs from her middle blocker position.
As a team, the U.S. held a 5-2 block advantage and a 31-6 kill margin. The Americans held Canada to a 12.2 kill percent and negative .143 hitting efficiency.
The U.S. cruised through the opening set in just only Canada one point on a USA error. Edwards notched six aces in the set. As a team, the Americans racked up seven kills on nine attempts and three blocks with Kanahele doing the setting.
Team USA gained a 10-3 advantage in the second set on a 6-1 scoring run. The Americans did not hold back in increasing their margin to 17-4. Canada gained some momentum in closing to 19-11 with four unanswered points as part of a 7-2 run. The U.S. closed out the set at 25-14. The Americans were 41.7 percent on attacks with Shifflett setting to go with nine aces in the set.
Canada rolled to an early 5-3 lead in the third set as three new U.S. players started the frame. Team USA responded on a 5-0 run to reach the first technical timeout leading 8-5. The U.S. reached the second technical timeout leading 16-7. The Americans finished out the set at 25-11.
U.S. Parapan American Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team Roster
#- Name (Position, Hometown, Height)
2 – Bethany Zummo (L, Dublin, Calif., 5-2)
3 – Lexi Shifflett (S, Waseca, Minn., 5-4)
5 – Katie Holloway (OH, Lake Stevens, Wash., 6-3)
6 – Heather Erickson (OH, Fayetteville, N.C., 5-11)
7 – Monique Burkland (MB, Ardmore, Okla., 5-9)
8 – Angela Palacio (OH, Yuba City, Calif., 5-8)
10 – Kari Miller (L, Washington, D.C., 5-6)
13 – Nichole Millage (OPP, Champaign, Ill., 5-8)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele (S, Oklahoma City, Okla., 5-6)
16 – Nicky Nieves (MB/OH, Kissimmee, Fla., 5-8)
17 – Tia Edwards (OH/MB, Skiatook, Okla., 5-7)
18 – Courtney Baker (OPP, Crofton, Ky., 5-8)
Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Lazaro Beltran
Assistant Coach/Stats: Jeff Hicks
Team Leader: Dr. Laura Finch
Athletic Trainer: Patrick Lawrence
U.S. Parapan American Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team Schedule (times listed as ET)
Aug. 9: USA def. Canada 25-1, 25-14, 25-11
Aug. 10: USA vs. Cuba, 3:05 p.m.
Aug. 11: USA vs. Brazil, 7 p.m.
Aug. 13: Semifinals, TBA
Aug. 14: Medal Rounds, TBA