Undefeated! Women's Sitting Team Wins Super 6 Gold

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Nov. 17, 2019, 4:24 a.m. (ET)

U.S. Women's Sitting Team won the ParaVoilley World Super 6 gold medal
U.S. Women's Sitting Team won the World ParaVolley World Super 6 with a 7-0 record

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 17, 2019) – U.S. Women’s Sitting Team mission accomplished: World Super 6 gold medal and an undefeated season!

The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team, ranked No. 1 in the world, claimed the 2019 World ParaVolley Super 6 title with a 25-12, 25-18, 25-22 victory over reigning world champion Russia on Sunday in Tokyo.

Team USA ended the World ParaVolley Super 6 with an undefeated 7-0 record without dropping a set, including three sweeps over Russia. The Americans also finished the 2019 season with an impressive 25-0 record with a remarkable 8-0 mark against the Russians. Since the start of the 2017 ParaVolley Pan Am Championships, the U.S. is 51-1 overall with its only loss coming to Russia in the World ParaVolley World Championship gold-medal match in the final contest of 2018.

Related: Unofficial Match Stats

U.S. captain Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Washington) locked in a match-high 17 points with 11 kills on 25 swings, three blocks and three aces on 10 serves. Monique Burkland (Ardmore, Oklahoma) added seven kills on 16 attacks, three aces and two blocks. Tia Edwards (Skiatook, Oklahoma) contributed four kills, two blocks and an ace for seven points.

“For us it is about getting better every single time we get to play Russia,” Holloway said.

“It was exciting for the fans, I don’t know it was exciting for me – it was a lot of pressure,” U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Head Coach Bill Hamiter said. “We were down by seven points in the third set (15-8), and to come back and still win it is a sign of a good team especially against a team like Russia.”

Holloway said one of the team’s focuses this year has been “trying to figure out how to get out of those ruts of points, and trying not to allow strings of points to happen.” Russia went up 15-8 in the third set, yet Team USA was able to battle its way back to win. For the tournament, the American defense held opponents to a 12.67 set scoring average over the seven matches.

Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, North Carolina) totaled six kills in the victory, while setter Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (Honolulu, Hawaii) added three aces, two blocks and a kill for six points. Nicole Nieves (Kissimmee, Florida) scored four kills and an ace for five points. Nichole Millage (Champaign, Illinois) rounded out the scoring with an ace as a serving sub in the final two sets.

Libero Bethany Zummo (Dublin, California) was credited with an 80 positive reception percent on 10 chances. Burkland was 83 percent positive on 12 chances, while Erickson was 75 percent positive on 12 receptions.

ParaVolley World Super Six All-Tournament
MVP: Kaleo Kanahele Maclay
Best Setter: Kaleo Kanahele Maclay
Best Attacker: Heather Erickson
Best Libero: Bethany Zummo
Best Server: Monique Burkland

Team USA converted 38 percent of its attacks into points with a .267 hitting efficiency (33-10-86). The U.S. controlled the service line with a 12-3 margin in aces and held a slim 9-6 advantage in blocks. The Americans limited the Russians to a 35 kill percent and .155 hitting efficiency (29-16-84).

Team USA allowed opponents to score at least 19 points only twice in the 21 total sets played in the tournament, that being 19 by Japan on Saturday and the third set today against Russia.

Hamiter wanted his squad to finish up the season strong in one of the premier world-level tournaments.

“It is our final tournament of the year and we wanted to end on a good note,” Hamiter said. “The Super 6 is held only every other year, so it is a prestigious tournament. We really wanted to win the tournament for that. We were really using this as a guide on many things we are doing for our preparation, recovery and acclimation while getting ready for the Paralympic Games.”

Holloway said the team is focused on gold at the 2020 Paralympics next summer Tokyo, but it will be a long road to reach that goal of wining consecutive Paralympics.

“For us going to Tokyo 2020 it is nothing but gold,” Holloway said. “On the way it is really making sure that we are taking care of what we can take care of and focusing on us.”

The U.S. recovered from a 5-3 deficit in the opening set with 7-0 run that included a Kanahele Maclay kill and three aces around kills from Burkland, Erickson and Holloway as the Americans took a 10-5 advantage. The American advantage reached 15-6 with two Holloway aces around an Edwards kill. The U.S. powered through for a 25-12 victory.

After Russia scored the first two points of the second set, Team USA rolled off five unanswered points capped by a Nieves ace for a 5-2 lead. However, Russia scored the next four points to take a 6-5 lead. The U.S. gained a four-point cushion at 11-7 after a Burkland kill and Holloway ace as part of a 4-0 run. Russia pulled to within two at 14-12 following an ace, only to have Burkland serve two aces after a Russia service error to put USA up 17-12. Erickson put the U.S. up 21-14 with a quick kill. Millage came in to serve an ace after an Edwards kill to expand Team USA’ margin to 23-16. Burkland capped the set at 25-18 with a kill.

Russia opened the third set with a 4-1 advantage and expanded the margin to 11-4. Team USA charged back to within four at 11-7 as Edwards capped a 3-0 run with an ace. Russia answered with a 3-0 run of its own to go up 15-8. The U.S. moved to within two at 17-15 with two Erickson kills and an Edwards block as part of a 4-0 run. An Erickson kill, two Russia attack errors and Burkland kill put Team USA into a 20-19 lead. The U.S. reached match point with a Russia attack error and Kanahele Maclay block at 24-22. Team USA quickly put the match away with an Edwards block at 25-22.

U.S. Women’s National Sitting Team Roster for Nomura World Super 6 Tournament
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
2 – Bethany Zummo (Libero, 5-3, Dublin, Calif.)
3 – Lexi Shifflett (Setter, 5-4, Waseca, Minn.)
5 – Katie Holloway (Outside Hitter, 6-3, Lake Stevens, Wash.)
6 – Heather Erickson (Opposite, 5-11, Fayetteville, N.C.)
7 – Monique Burkland (Middle/Outside Hitter, 6-0, Ardmore, Okla.)
11 – Jillian Williams (Middle/Opposite, 5-10, Odem, Texas)
12 – Emma Schieck (OH, 5-8, Statesville, N.C.)
13 – Nichole Millage (Opposite/Setter, 5-7, Champaign, Ill.)
14 – Kaleo Kanahele Maclay (Setter, 5-6, Honolulu, Hawaii)
15 – Annie Flood (S/OPP, 5-8, Salem, Ore.)
16 – Nicole Nieves (Middle/Outside Hitter, 5-10, Kissimmee, Fla.)
17 – Tia Edwards (Outside Hitter/Middle, 5-7, Skiatook, Okla.)

Head Coach: Bill Hamiter
Assistant Coach: Michelle Goodall
Assistant Coach: Jon Aharoni
Athletic Trainer: Patrick Lawrence
Technical Coordinator: Elliot Blake
Team Manager: Jacque Scaramella

Nomura World Super 6 Tournament Schedule

Pool Play:
Nov. 13: USA def. Ukraine 25-2, 25-10, 25-11
Nov. 14: USA def. Japan 25-9, 25-10, 25-8
Nov. 14: USA def. Russia 25-17, 25-10, 25-16
Nov. 15: USA def Ukraine 25-17, 25-18, 25-10
Nov. 16: USA def. Japan 25-11, 25-11, 25-19
Nov. 16: USA def. Russia 25-15, 25-13, 25-17

Medal Rounds:
Nov. 17: Japan def. Ukraine 25-20, 25-22, 25-10 (Bronze-Medal Match)
Nov. 17: USA def. Russia 25-12, 25-18, 25-22 (Gold-Medal Match)