U.S. Women's Sitting Sweeps Dutch Tournament

By Karen Patterson (Karen.patterson@usav.org) | July 04, 2016, 12:30 a.m. (ET)
ASSEN, Netherlands (July 3, 2016) – In its final competition before the Paralympics, the U.S. Women's Sitting Team appeared primed and ready to compete for a gold medal. The team finished 6-0 at the Dutch Tournament on Sunday, defeating Rwanda and long-time rival China, two Paralympic pool play opponents.

The U.S. defeated China 25-19, 25-12, 23-25, 25-15 Sunday morning before sweeping Rwanda 25-13, 25-9, 25-8. Earlier in the tournament, the Women's Sitting Team topped Slovenia 25-7, 25-14, 25-11 and Netherlands 25-13, 25-13, 25-19. The team dropped just the one set all tournament – to China – outscoring its opponents 450-284.

“It's so exciting to witness where our team is now and how far we've come,” middle blocker Lora Webster (Phoenix, Arizona) said. 

RELATED: U.S. Women's Sitting Home | U.S. Women's Paralympic Roster

Webster's best match came against China when she totaled five blocks and four kills with an ace for 10 points.

Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Washington) and Captain Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, North Carolina) dominated the tournament; each recorded 16 kills against China, while picking up additional points at the net with consistent blocking; Erickson was the team's leading blocker in two of the four matches on Saturday and Sunday.

Also dominating the net was Michelle Schiffler (Lake Wales, Florida) who had a team-high four blocks against Rwanda and recorded at least two blocks against Slovenia, Netherlands and China. Schiffler also served up a team-best seven aces against Rwanda; the U.S. totaled 19 aces to Rwanda's three in the victory.

However, the team was most satisfied with its victory against long-time rival China. At multiple major tournaments in recent years, including the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics, the Americans found themselves playing runner-up to the Chinese. However, the U.S. scored two key victories against the Chinese during the World ParaVolley Intercontinental Cup in March in Anji, China when it soundly defeated China both in pool play and the gold medal match.

Sunday's victory only helped improve team confidence, Holloway said.

“We stayed poised and aggressive the entire match. We are hitting our stride and seeing the amazing potential of each and every once of our players at just the right time,” she added. “We are finding our confidence in each other and its so much fun.”

The U.S travels home on Monday and will continue training at its training site at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma before departing for the Paralympic Games in late August.

U.S. Starters vs. Slovenia:
Middle Blockers: Lora Webster, Nicky Nieves
Outside Hitters: Katie Holloway, Monique Burkland
Setter: Kaleo Kanahele
Opposite: Heather Erickson
Libero: Bethany Zummo

U.S. Statistics vs. Slovenia:
Kills: Schiffler 6, Holloway 4, Burkland 4, Erickson 3, Kari Miller 2, Webster 1, Shifflett 1, Edwards 1
Blocks: Erickson 5, Holloway 4, Webster 2, Shifflett 2, Schiffler 2, Burkland 1, Kanahele 1, Nieves 1, Nichole Millage 1
Aces: Burkland 7, Holloway 2, Nieves 2, Erickson 1, Kanahele 1, Michelle Schiffler 1, Lexi Shifflett 1

U.S. Starters vs. Netherlands
Middle Blockers: Lora Webster, Nicky Nieves
Outside Hitters: Katie Holloway, Monique Burkland
Setter: Kaleo Kanahele
Opposite: Heather Erickson
Libero: Bethany Zummo

U.S. Statistics vs. Netherlands
Kills: Erickson 11, Holloway 6, Burkland 6, Schiffler 3, Webster 1, Millage 1, Kanahele 1, Nieves 1
Blocks: Erickson 5, Burkland 4, Holloway 2, Schiffler 1, Millage 1, Kanahele 1
Aces: Kanahele 4, Shifflett 3, Webster 2, Burkland 2, Erickson 1

U.S. Starters vs. China

Middle Blockers: Nicky Nieves, Lora Webster
Outside Hitters: Katie Holloway, Monique Burkland
Setter: Kaleo Kanahele
Opposite: Monique Burkland
Libero: Bethany Zummo

U.S. Statistics vs. China:
Kills: Erickson 16, Holloway 16, Burkland 7, Webster 4, Nieves 3, Schiffler 2
Blocks: Webster 5, Schiffler 4, Erickson 4, Holloway 3, Burkland 3, Nieves 1
Aces: Nieves 2, Webster 1, Erickson 1

U.S. Starters vs. Rwanda
Middle blockers: Lora Webster, Michelle Schiffler
Outside Hitters: Katie Holloway, Tia Edwards
Setter: Lexi Shifflett
Opposite: Nichole Millage
Libero: Bethany Zummo

U.S. Statistics vs. Rwanda
Kills: Millage 6, Holloway 5, Schiffler 4, Burkland 3, Nieves 2, Edwards 2, Erickson 1, Shifflett 1, Webster 1
Blocks: Schiffler 4, Millage 2, Burkland 1, Webster 1
Aces: Schiffler 7, Shifflett 5, Edwards 5, Holloway 1, Millage 1

U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Roster for the Dutch Tournament (July 1-3):
# – Name (Position, Hometown, Height)
1 – Lora Webster (MB, Phoenix, Arizona, 5-11)
2 – Bethany Zummo (L, Dublin, California, 5-2)
3 – Alexis Shifflett (S, Waseca, Minnesota, 5-4)
4 – Michelle Schiffler (MB, Lake Wales, Florida, 6-0)
5 – Katie Holloway (OH, Lake Stevens, Washington, 6-3)
6 – Heather Erickson (OH, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 5-11)
7 – Monique Burkland (MB, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 5-9)
10 – Kari Miller (OPP/DS, Washington D.C., 5-6)
13 – Nichole Millage (OH, Champaign, Illinois, 5-7)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele (S, Edmond, Oklahoma, 5-6)
16 – Nicky Nieves (OH, Kissimmee, Florida, 5-10)
17 – Tia Edwards (OH/MB, Skiatook, Oklahoma, 5-7)

Staff
Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Cara Lang
Assistant Coach: Lazaro Beltran
Team Manager: Michelle Goodall
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Hicks
Athletic Trainer: Patrick Lawrence

U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Schedule at the Dutch Tournament , Assen, Netherlands
July 1: USA def. Russia, 25-14, 25-15, 25-18
July 1: USA def. Ukraine, 25-17, 25-19, 25-23
July 2: USA vs. Slovenia, 25-7, 25-14, 25-11
July 2: USA vs. Netherlands, 25-13, 25-13, 25-19
July 3: USA def. China, 25-19, 25-12, 23-25, 25-15
July 3: USA def. Rwanda, 25-13, 25-9, 25-8