Women's Sitting Falls to Russia in Finale

By Bill Kauffman | March 01, 2015, 4:26 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 1, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball National Team, ranked No. 3 in the world, fell to No. 7 Russia 25-21, 24-26, 25-17, 32-30 on Sunday in the final contest of a five-match series played at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Team USA’s Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) led all scorers with 24 points via 18 kills on 31 swings and a team-high six blocks. Captain Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) added 20 points with 17 kills on 26 attacks, two aces and a block. Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Okla.) chipped in five kills, three blocks and two aces for 10 points. Bethany Zummo was 61 percent positive on 38 reception attempts from her libero position.

Lexi Shifflett (Waseca, Minn.) was the primary setter leading the U.S. to a 44 kill percent while adding two aces, a block and a kill for four points. Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.) turned in four kills in the match, while Lora Webster (Phoenix) matched her total with two blocks and two kills on two attacks in mainly a reserve role. Angie DeHaan Palacio (Yuba City, Calif.) had three kills on five errorless swings in starting just the fourth set. Nicky Nieves (Kissimmee, Fla.) rounded out the scoring with two points.

Russia out-blocked Team USA 23-13 as both teams had seven aces. Russia converted 46 percent of its attacks into points with just 13 errors to the Americans’ 14 errors.

The five-match series was close throughout the weekend with three of the contests settled in five sets and the other two matches in four sets.

DataVolley Stats for U.S. Women's Sitting Team Series with Russia
Match 1 on Feb. 27: USA def. Russia 25-18, 13-25, 25-23, 11-25, 15-8
Match 2 on Feb. 27: Russia def. USA 31-33, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-5
Match 3 on Feb. 28: USA def. Russia 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 25-13
Match 4 on Feb. 28: Russia def. USA 23-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16, 15-13
Match 5 on March 1: Russia def. USA 25-21, 24-26, 25-17, 32-30

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 to help secure a 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