Men's Sitting Update: 5th Place in Parapan Tuneup

By Bill Kauffman | June 20, 2015, 8:50 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 20, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team finished the Sarajevo Open 2015 with a 2-3 record and in sixth place at the end of May. The tournament was a combination of national teams and organized club teams from Europe.

“This was a good tournament for us to get some new players a lot of playing time and for the staff to get together and look at some new systems we've been looking to implement,” U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Head Coach Quinton Kraeer said. “I thought the team looked pretty good while missing key starters and having new players filling roles they are not used to. This was a great confidence booster for the team as we push towards Parapan American Games this summer.”

In the opening match, the U.S. lost to Bosnia & Herzegovina club Oki Fantomi 25-14, 25-20 on May 29 in a contest hours after getting off the plane from competing in Detroit in the USA Volleyball Open National Championships Sitting Division. Jese Schag led the U.S. with seven points, while Eric Duda added five points in the loss.

Team USA rebounded to defeat Croatia’s National Team 25-23, 22-25, 15-13 on May 30. Duda tallied a match-high 15 points, while James Stuck added eight points. In its second match on May 30, the U.S. dropped a 16-25, 25-22, 15-9 match to Bayer, a club team from Germany. Duda paced the Americans with 13 points, while Stuck contributed seven points. The U.S. ended the day with an 18-25, 25-18, 15-11 victory over Hungary club team Piremon SE. Duda pocketed 10 points, while Ben Aman had eight points.

The Americans finished the tournament with another three-set match, a 20-25, 25-18, 17-15 loss to Azerbaijan. Dan Regan collected eight points in the loss, while Duda charted seven points.

Brazil won the tournament’s gold medal with a 3-1 victory over Fantomi in the finals, while Russia captured the bronze medal with a 3-0 win over Bayer.

For the tournament, Duda led Team USA offensively with a total of 50 points, while Stuck added 28 points. Schag scored 26 points, while Regan totaled 25 points. Aman contributed 20 points in four matches played.

The squad will now make final preparations for competition in the Parapan American Games. The U.S. must either win the tournament or finish second to Brazil in order to earn a berth into the 2016 Paralympic Games.

U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team at Sarajevo Open 2015
1 – Travis Ricks (San Diego, Calif.)
4 – Benjamin Aman (Edmond, Okla.)
5 – Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
6 – Samuel Surowiec (Everett, Wash.)
7 – Stephen Bracken
9 – James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa.)
10 – John Kremer
11 – Jese Schag (Sheridan, Ill.)
13 – Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss.)
14 – Daniel Regan (St. Louis, Mo.)
15 – Hugo Storer (Greensboro, N.C.)
16 – Edgar Laforest (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Head Coach: Quinton Kraeer
Assistant Coaches: Greg Walker, Joe Skinner
Consultant Coach: Bill Hamiter
Therapist/Trainer: Katherine King
Team Manager: Dixie Collins