U.S. Paralympic Volleyball History

2012 | 2008 | 2004

Women

London, 2012
Finish: Silver
Record: 3-2
Team: Lora Webster, Brenda Maymon-Jensen, Michelle Gerlosky-Schiffler, Katie Holloway, Monique Burkland, Kari Miller, Allison Aldrich, Nichole Millage, Kaleo Kanahele, Kendra Lancaster. Head Coach Bill Hamiter.

After falling to China in the 2008 Paralympic Games, the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team landed in London with gold on its mind. The team had stormed through the Netherlands Exhibition and Volleyball Masters tournaments earlier in the summer, accumulating a 7-0 record. The team struggled at the Shanghai Tournament in July, scoring just one victory against Ukraine and China in a combined six attempts.

Nonetheless, with a balanced roster featuring five returning players from the 2008 Paralympic team, the U.S. was prepared to fight for gold.

The U.S. swept Brazil and Slovenia in pool play but fell 3-1 to China. A 25-14, 25-13, 25-19 semifinal victory against Ukraine gave the U.S. the gold medal matchup it’d hoped for. However, the team was unable to convert: China claimed its third consecutive gold medal with a 22-25, 25-15, 32-30, 25-15 victory.

“The team is certainly disappointed in the loss, but we know we played as hard as we could,” U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team Head Coach Bill Hamiter said following the match. “We left everything we had out on that court. We pushed China to play their very best and they had to go out and win it. We can live with these results and now we will look to the future to someday get a gold medal on the women’s indoor side.” 

Beijing, 2008
Finish: Silver
Record: 3-2
Team: Lora Webster, Brenda Maymon-Jensen, Katie Holloway, Heather Erickson, SuGui Kriss, Hope Lewellen, Gina McWilliams, Kari Miller, Allison Aldrich, Nichole Millage, Kendra Lancaster, Alex Gouldie. Head Coach Mike Hulett.

The U.S. Women's Sitting Volleyball Team had gold in its sights when it landed in Beijing for the 2008 Paralympic Games. The gold medal seemed an ambitious goal after the U.S. team finished a disappointing fifth at the 2006 Sitting Volleyball World Championships. But by April of 2008, it had come together and finished third at the World Organization Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD) Intercontinental Cup in Ismailia, Egypt, with most of the same teams competing.

Among the changes that had helped the team were a new headquarters at the University of Central Oklahoma; a more determined effort at recruiting new players and also bringing back veterans; and a schedule that included tournaments in other countries and U.S. matches against a variety of competition, both disabled and able-bodied.

Playing Lithuania in the first match was almost like a warm-up as the United States won, 25-15, 25-18, 25-9.

"We started out with too much adrenaline," Katie Holloway said. "But I think we are ready for China now. We just need to stay cool, calm, and collected."

But it was hard to stay calm when playing in front of 4,000 screaming Chinese fans on Sept. 9. In the United States, the U.S. Sitting Women were happy to get 100 fans. China won the match, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19.

With a trip to the semifinals on the line, the U.S. Sitting Women came back to defeat Latvia, 25-12, 25-17, 25-11. The victory set up semifinal match against Netherlands, whom the United States had lost to in the semifinals in 2004.

But it was a different story in Beijing, as the United States advanced to the Paralympic gold medal match after defeating Netherlands, 3-2 (19-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-27, 15-10), in a semifinal match that took almost two hours.

"I have been playing for five years and we have never beat them (Netherlands) in an official competition," said Maymon. "We could never get the job done, but we finally did it."

China won the gold medal with a 25-14, 25-19, 25-15 victory before 5,500 fans.

"Playing the former gold medal team in their home country – that is a once in a lifetime opportunity," U.S. Assistant Coach Denise Van De Walle said. "We have improved a lot and we’ve come so far but we were simply out-played today. It was just not our day."

Athens, 2004
Finish: Bronze
Record: 3-2
Team: Lora Webster, Lori Daniels, Brenda Maymon-Jensen, Penny Ricker, Erica Moyers, Hope Lewellen, Deb Vosler, Allison Ahlfeldt, Gina McWilliams, Allison Aldrich, Bonnie Brawner, Kendra Lancaster. Head Coach Mike Hulett.

Just one year after its inception, the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team stunned its competitors and won bronze. The team defeated Slovenia 25-20, 10-25, 25-18, 25-20 after being swept 3-0 by Netherlands in the semifinals. The Athens competition marked women’s sitting volleyball’s debut as a Paralympic sport.

Men

Athens, 2004
Finish: 6th
Record: 2-3
Team: Rene Aquino, Eric Duda, Joey Evans, Essam Hamido, Tracey Lange, Curtis Lease, Jeff MacMunn, Paul Moran, Robert Osbahr, Chris Seilkop, Bill Steen, Brent Rasmussen. Head Coach Bill Hamiter.

The U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team finished sixth, failing to advance out of pool play with a 1-2 record during the 2004 Paralympics. The team was swept by eventual gold-medal winner Bosnia and Herzegovina and bronze medalist Egypt, but topped host-nation Greece 3-1 in pool play. The second win came against Israel in a crossover match. The team’s sixth place finish was its best ever for the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team.