Newcomers Help Women's Sitting Win Twice over Canada

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | March 15, 2019, 11:50 p.m. (ET)

Annie Flood passes during her international debut as the U.S. Women's Sitting Team defeats Canada twice
Annie Flood passes during her international debut as the U.S. Women's Sitting Team defeats Canada twice

DENVER (March 15, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team captured two victories over Canada on Friday to begin a five-match exhibition series in Denver as three Team USA members experienced their international debuts. The matches are being played on courts side-by-side to those of the Colorado Crossroads junior national qualifier.

The Americans won both matches 3-0, though Canada won a fourth bonus set both contests.

Match 1 Stats | Match 2 Stats

“It is incredible. It is so awesome,” said Emma Schieck after wearing the red, white and blue for the first time. She had a kill on two attacks as a sub in the second set of the first match. In the second contest, Schieck scored four kills on eight attacks in starting the fourth set. “It was so much fun, more fun than I could ever imagine. I loved it.”

Schieck, who is 17 and still plays standing volleyball with Carolina Legends Volleyball Club, feels her situation playing sitting volleyball at a junior national qualifier is somewhat a weird situation.

“It is crazy,” Schieck said. “It is kind of cool seeing both sitting and standing volleyball at the same time. It is weird being in this convention center setting and not being with my standing club team. Yet I am loving it and having fun.”

Annie Flood, 15 and the youngest member of the U.S. Women’s Sitting National Team, echoes her teammates odd feelings as a member of the sitting team and yet still plays the standing game despite missing a leg. She played as a setter and opposite in both contests, playing a total of three sets.

“It is kind of bittersweet,” Flood said. “I like to be able to watch other people play, but I kind of wish I was playing standing sometimes. But I love playing sitting, and I love how unique it is and how we are the only court out here (at Crossroads). I also like how it is a mix of both my worlds.”

The U.S. won the first match 25-11, 25-19, 25-21. Katie Holloway and Monique Burkland each totaled 12 points to lead Team USA. Burkland had seven kills on 11 errorless attacks and four blocks, while Holloway had six kills and match-high six blocks. Heather Erickson chipped in nine points with eight kills and a block. Nicky Nieves and Tia Edwards each tallied five points.

In the afternoon match, Team USA won the 25-9, 25-14, 25-20 before Canada came back to win the bonus set 25-18. All 13 U.S. players got into the match at least in two sets. Lora Webster led the way with 13 points, including seven kills on nine attacks, three blocks and three aces. Burkland added 12 points with eight kills on 13 swings, two aces and two blocks. Both Nieves and Erickson added nine points, while Kaleo Maclay chipped in eight points and Edwards seven points.

Sydney Satchell, the third player making her international debut, saw spot duty as a libero in both matches. In the second match, she handled nine receptions with a 44 positive reception percent in the second and fourth sets. She played briefly in the first match and had one reception opportunity with an excellent rating.

The USA-Canada exhibition series continues on Saturday with matches at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. MT, while the finale is on Sunday at 9 a.m. Matches are on Court E9 at the Colorado Convention Center.

Flood said her sitting volleyball experiences has helped when she returns to the standing game.

“Sitting volleyball helps my indoor game a lot because I am a lot faster when I go back to indoor,” Flood said. “I can jump higher, have more energy. I am faster in general. It helps my mental game as well as my reactions are really fast. I feel like I have a better mindset when I am here and I can carry that into the standing game.

Flood has been training with the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team for a year and a half, and she has grown as a person on and off the court as a 15-year-old.

“I have got a lot better over the last 18 months,” Flood said. “I have learned a lot as a person. I have got a lot closer with the girls, and it has helped me feel like a more mature and better, overall person.”

Having the five-match exhibition series during Crossroads where the worlds of sitting and standing volleyball interact is a positive for both disciplines according to Schieck.

“It is crazy,” Schieck said. “It is kind of cool seeing both sitting and standing volleyball at the same time. It is weird being in this convention center setting and not being with our standing club team. I am loving it and having fun. I know I would have gotten involved with sitting volleyball earlier if I had played at this tournament and seen the sitting players playing. I think the fact we are here is great and spreading this sport of sitting volleyball is amazing.”

Kay Rogness, the tournament director for the Colorado Crossroads, is happy to have the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team competing at the tournament once again. They have been a staple attraction at Crossroads having played in the event nine of the last 11 years.

“The sitting volleyball program is very near and dear to our hearts,” Rogness said. “We have been able to host them many years in a row, including the men’s sitting team. We love the whole program.”

U.S. Women’s Sitting Team versus Canada – Match 1
Points: Katie Holloway 12, Monique Burkland, Heather Erickson 9, Nicky Nieves 5, Tia Edwards 5, Lora Webster 3, Lexi Shifflett 2, Jillian Williams 2, Emma Schieck, Kaleo Maclay 1
Kills-Attacks: Heather Erickson 8-19, Monique Burkland 7-11, Katie Holloway 6-13, Nicky Nieves 4-12, Lora Webster 2-8, Lexi Shifflett 2-4, Tia Edwards 2-4, Emma Schieck 1-2
Blocks: Katie Holloway 6, Monique Burkland 4, Katie Holloway 1, Jillian Williams 1, Nicky Nieves 1
Aces: Tia Edwards 3, Lora Webster 1, Monique Burkland 1, Jillian Williams 1, Kaleo Maclay 1

U.S. Women’s Sitting Team versus Canada – Match 2
Points: Lora Webster 13, Monique Burkland 12, Heather Erickson 9, Nicky Nieves 9, Kaleo Maclay 8, Tia Edwards 7, Katie Holloway 4, Emma Schieck 4, Nichole Millage 3, Lexi Shifflett 2, Jillian Williams 1
Kills-Attacks: Monique Burkland 8-13, Lora Webster 7-9, Heather Erickson 7-17, Nicky Nieves 6-6, Emma Schieck 4-8, Kaleo Maclay 4-8, Katie Holloway 3-10, Tia Edwards 3-8, Lexi Shifflett 1-2, Nichole Millage 1-3
Blocks: Lora Webster 3, Tia Edwards 3, Monique Burkland 2, Nicky Nieves 2, Katie Holloway 1, Jillian Williams 1, Nichole Millage 1
Aces: Kaleo Maclay 4, Lora Webster 3, Heather Erickson 2, Monique Burkland 2, Lexi Shifflett 1, Nichole Millage 1, Nicky Nieves 1, Tia Edwards 1

U.S. Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
1 – Lora Webster (M, 5-11, Point Lookout, N.Y.)
2 – Bethany Zummo (L, 5-2, Dublin, Calif.)
3 – Lexi Shifflett (S, 5-4, Waseca, Minn.)
5 – Katie Holloway (OH, 6-3, Lake Stevens, Wash.)
6 – Heather Erickson (OH, 5-11, Fayetteville, N.C.)
7 – Monique Burkland (OH, 5-9, Ardmore, Okla.)
10 – Sydney Satchell (L, 5-1, Oklahoma City, Okla.)
11 - Jillian Williams (OPP, 5-10, Odem, Texas)
12 – Emma Schieck (OH, 5-8, Statesville, N.C.)
13 – Nichole Millage (OH, 5-7, Champaign, Ill.)
14 – Kaleo Maclay (S, 5-6, Honolulu, Hawaii)
15 – Annie Flood (S/OPP, 5-8, Salem, Ore.)
16 – Nicole Nieves (M, 5-10, Kissimmee, Fla.)
17 – Tia Edwards (OH, 5-7, Skitatook, Okla.)

Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coaches: Michelle Goodall, Jon Aharoni