Women's Sitting Splits with Russia Again

By Bill Kauffman | Feb. 28, 2015, 11:43 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 28, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball National Team, ranked third in the world, split a pair of matches against No. 7 Russia on Saturday for the second day in a row at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver as part of the Colorado Crossroads, one of 12 national qualifiers to the 2015 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships.

The series concludes on Sunday at 9 a.m. MT with each team owning two victories in the first four matches.

Team USA won Saturday’s morning match 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 25-13. Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) picked up a team-high 16 points with 12 kills on 30 attacks to go with three blocks and an ace. Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.) chipped in 12 points with four aces, four blocks and four kills. Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.), who started just the first two sets, contributed six points with three aces, two kills and a block. Captain Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) totaled six points with four kills and two blocks.

DataVolley Stats: Feb. 28 Morning Match | Feb. 28 Afternoon Match

Lora Webster (Phoenix) and Angie DeHaan Palacios (Yuba City, Calif.) pocketed five points each and Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minn.) rounded out the scoring with a point as she set the team to a 29 kill percent. Libero Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.) handled 15 receptions with a 73 positive percent and 67 excellent percent.

The Americans took advantage of 24 Russia hitting errors in the match while limiting their own to nine errors. The U.S. held a slim 10-9 margin in aces and both teams had 14 blocks.

Russia rallied to win the afternoon contest 23-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16, 15-13. The U.S. nearly came back from a 10-4 deficit in the tiebreaker set, closing to within 12-10 before falling 15-13.

Erickson collected 12 kills on 19 attacks and six blocks for a match-high 18 points. Burkland charted 15 points with 10 kills on 28 attacks, four blocks and an ace. Holloway nailed 11 points with eight kills and three blocks.

Webster reached eight points with three kills, two aces and two blocks. Nieves added seven points, followed by DeHaan Palacio’s six points. Shifflett put up three blocks in the match, while Tia Edwards (Skiatook, Okla.) served seven times with an ace in a reserve role the first three sets. Zummo handled 33 of the team’s 92 reception attempts with a 58 positive percent, while Holloway was 67 percent positive on 15 chances.

While the U.S. out-blocked Russia 25-16 in the second match, Russia’s serve netted a 17-8 margin.

The teams also split Friday’s matches with the U.S. winning the series opener 25-18, 13-25, 25-23, 11-25, 15-8. However, Russia came back to win the afternoon match 31-33, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-5.

While Team USA qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games based on its second-place finish at the World Championship, Russia just missed out qualifying for the Paralympics with a bronze finish at World Championships. The U.S. defeated Russia 3-1 in the World Championship semifinal round to secure its Paralympic Games berth.

The Americans will later play at the ParaPan American Games, an event for teams from North and South America held every four years, in Toronto Aug. 7-16. The Russians will use the upcoming five-match series with the U.S. to help prepare for its European Championships in October, which is the next chance for them to qualify for the Paralympics.

Rosters for USA vs. Russia in Denver

U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball National Team
1 – Lora Webster (Phoenix, Ariz.)
2 – Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.)
3 – Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minn.)
5 – Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.)
6 – Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.)
7 – Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.)
8 – Angie (DeHaan) Palacio (Yuba City, Calif.)
13 – Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.)
16 – Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.)
17 – Tia Edwards (Skiatook, Okla.)
18 – Courtney Baker (Crofton, Ky.)

Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Cara Lang
Team Manager: Laura Finch
Statistician: Jeff Hicks
Therapist/Trainer: Patrick Lawrence

Russia Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team
Irina Smirnova
Tatiana Ivanova
Yulia Zakrevskaya
Irina Panina
Ekaterina Chepkiy
Iulia Mednikova
Elizaveta Kuntsman
Liubov Permiakova
Marina Karaseva
Olga Arbatskaya
Natalia Kolbasova