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Veterans Lead U.S. Parapan Women's Sitting Team Roster

June 21, 2015, 7:07 p.m. (ET)

Nichole Millage (13) adds a veteran presence for the 2015 U.S. Parapan Women's Sitting Volleyball Team roster.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 18, 2015) – USA Volleyball has announced its 12-member U.S. Parapan Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team that will compete in the Parapan American Games that takes place Aug. 9-14 in Toronto, Canada.

U.S. Head Coach Bill Hamiter has selected a roster that includes six veterans of past Paralympic Games, including outside hitters Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) and Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) and opposite Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.) who have led Team USA to silver medals in the last two Paralympic Games. In addition, two-time Paralympian libero Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.) has returned to the squad. Other Paralympic Games veterans on the U.S. Parapan roster include middle blocker Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.) and setter Kaleo Kanahele (Oklahoma City, Okla.).

Middle blocker/outside hitter Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.), setter Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minn.) and libero Bethany Zummo (Dublin, Calif.) are part of the 2015 U.S. Parapan roster who helped Team USA qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games with a silver-medal finish at the 2014 World ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championship in Poland. Others on the silver-medal team included Burkland, Erickson, Holloway, Kanahele and Millage.

Related: Sitting Program Raising Profile Among Standing Game | Sitting Team Home Page

Rounding out the U.S. Parapan roster are opposite Courtney Baker (Crofton, Ky.), outside hitter/middle blocker Tia Edwards (Skiatook, Okla.) and outside hitter Angela Palacio (Yuba City, Calif.).

“The team is looking forward to participating at the Parapan American Games,” Hamiter said. “The Games give us a chance to evaluate a few new strategies, in a tournament setting, that we are working on for the Paralympic Games next year. The mix of veterans and non-veterans on our roster provides us an opportunity to broaden the strength of our roster and is a wonderful time for our non-veterans to gain valuable experience as they work toward vying for a Paralympic Roster spot next year.”

Hamiter is excited to bolster the team’s depth at libero with the return of Miller to the squad, but is quick to say that Zummo performed well in taking over the role following the 2012 Paralympic Games.

“It will be good to have Kari Miller back participating in her first major tournament this quad,” Hamiter said. “We have missed her leadership, drive, determination and overall play. It isn’t easy replacing one of the world’s best liberos, yet Bethany Zummo did an outstanding job at the World Championships. Having both Bethany and Kari available at the libero position provides us a lot of depth.”

The U.S. opens the 2015 Parapan American Games on Aug. 9 against host Canada at 3 p.m., followed by an Aug. 10 match against Cuba at 3 p.m. Team USA concludes the round-robin preliminary round on Aug. 11 against Brazil at 7 p.m. The semifinals are slated for Aug. 13, followed by the medal round matches on Aug. 14.

Hamiter feels participating in the Parapan American Games will offer the team so many advantages in preparing for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

“The Parapan American Games is the only setting we have that closely reflects the dynamics the team will face at the Paralympics. Staying in a village, eating in a cafeteria, match/tournament formats, stats and match preparation, etc. are all important experiences for us. The Games help us in preparing for the Paralympics next year, but I don’t want to mislead you, we are going to Toronto with the full intention of winning the gold medal. That is not an easy task as we face Brazil, host Canada and an athletic first-time participant Cuba.”

With the U.S. already qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the highest finishing team at the Parapan American Games other than Team USA and Brazil will earn a spot into next year’s Paralympics.

The 2015 U.S. Parapan American Volleyball Team is subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

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

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Monique Burkland Matthews

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Kari Miller

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