China Hands U.S. Sitting Women First Paralympic Loss
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Katrina Shaklee of the University of Central Oklahoma contributed to this release
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 9, 2008) – The U.S. Sitting Women’s Volleyball Team suffered its first setback of the 2008 Paralympic Games on Tuesday, falling to top-ranked China, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19 in 1 hour, 10 minutes in front of 4,000 screaming fans at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium in Beijing.
The U.S. Sitting Women fall to 1-1 in the preliminary round and must get ready to face Latvia (0-2) at 1:30 p.m. (Beijing time) on Wednesday in their final preliminary match. At the end of pool play, the first- and second-ranked teams from each pool will ascend to the semifinals, while the third- and fourth-ranked teams from each pool will play classification matches for fifth through eighth places.
With the victory, China improved to 3-0.
“We had a hard time putting together our game plan and executing it,” U.S. team captain Brenda Maymon(Sellersberg, Ind.) said. “I think it was mostly nerves.”
Added Head Coach Mike Hulett (Chicago, Ill.), “We definitely started slow. We tipped a lot of balls high, but we did finally start playing better.”
Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) led the United States in scoring for the second match in a row with 12 points on eight kills and a match-high four blocks. Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) added 10 points on seven kills and three blocks.
China’s powerful Yuhong Sheng led all scorers with 25 points on 23 kills, one block and one serve. China also took advantage of 22 U.S. team errors, while committing only 15.
China converted 47 percent of its kill attempts into points as compared to 30 percent for Team USA. The United States out-blocked China 11-9 and each team had four aces.
Among other U.S. scorers, Lora Webster (Cave Creek, Ariz.) totaled five points on two kills and three blocks. Maymon added four points, including two aces.
Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.) tallied three points on three kills while Nicole Millage (Champaign, Ill.) scored three points, including two aces. Kendra Lancaster (Westfield, Ind.) finished with two points.
U.S. Head Coach Mike Hulett (Des Plaines, Ill.) started Erickson, Webster, Maymon, Holloway, Lancaster and Aldrich. Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.) served as the libero. Millage started the third set for Maymon.
In the first set, the United States scored the first point, but that was its only lead of the set. China went on two early runs and held an 8-2 lead at the first technical timeout. With several kills by Erickson, Team USA tried to get back in the hunt, but was plagued by too many unforced errors and couldn’t overcome the early deficit. Sheng was a force to be reckoned with, making powerful kills Team USA could not respond to.
The second set started the same as the first. But just as China started to pull away with a 7-4 lead, the U.S. Sitting Women made three blocks in a row to tie the game. Tying was the best the United States could do however, as it could not take control or the lead. Once again, Sheng was in control and it became a battle of outside hitters.
“Sheng is a player you have to learn how to stop and we didn’t do a very good job of that tonight,” Hulett commented.
Millage started for Maymon in the third set and provided a spark for the U.S. team. The score went back and forth with even play from both countries. The teams traded the lead on numerous occasions and the score was tied 14 times during the course of the game. At 18-18, Millage scored a point that moved the United States into the lead once more. China called a timeout and then went on to score seven unanswered points, finishing the set and the match with a final score of 25-19.
“We made a lot of unforced errors in the last set. We should have definitely had that game,” Hulett said.
The USA Volleyball 2008 Paralympic event page is http://volleyball.teamusa.org/event/event/640.
There will be daily live and delayed highlight shows of the Paralympic Games on Sept. 6-17, on www.UniversalSports.com and www.usparalympics.org, and there will be a special NBC broadcast on Oct. 18.
U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team
Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.)
Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.)
Alex Gouldie (St. Paul, Neb.)
Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.)
SuGui Kriss (Ravena, N.Y.)
Kendra Lancaster (Westfield, Ind.)
Hope Lewellen (Palos Park, Ill.)
Brenda Maymon (Sellersberg, Ind.)
Gina McWilliams (The Colony, Texas)
Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.)
Kari Miller (Washington D.C.)
Lora Webster (Cave Creek, Ariz.)
Head Coach: Mike Hulett (Des Plaines, Ill.)
Assistant Coach: Denise Van De Walle (Bowling Green, Ohio)
Assistant Coach: Cara Bartolic (Sartell, Minn.)
Team Leader: Roger Neppl (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Women’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic Teams:
1. China as host nation (No. 2 at 2006 World Championship)
2. Netherlands as No. 1 of 2006 World Championship
3. Slovenia as No. 3 of 2006 World Championship
4. Lithuania as No. 4 of 2006 World Championships
5. USA, replacing Afro Arab CVD Champion as No. 5 of 2006 World Championships
5. Ukraine, replacing Pan American CVD Champion as No. 6 of 2006 World Championship
6. Japan as No. 2 of Asia Oceania CVD Championship
7. Latvia as No. 5 of European CVD Championship
Competition Results and Schedule:
Day 1 Sunday: (9/7)
USA def. Lithuania, 25-15, 25-18, 25-9
Netherlands def. Japan, 25-4, 25-21, 25-18
China def. Latvia, 25-4, 25-7, 25-16
Day 2 Monday: (9/8)
Slovenia def. Japan, 25-19, 21-25, 25-19, 25-9
Netherlands def. Ukraine, 25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19
China def. Lithuania, 25-18, 25-17, 25-14
Day 3 Tuesday: (9/9)
Slovenia def. Ukraine, 11-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-22
Lithuania def. Latvia, 16-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-19
China def. USA, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19
Day 4 Wednesday: (9/10)
09:30-11:00 Women's Team Preliminaries - Match10 - UKR-JPN
13:30-15:00 Women's Team Preliminaries - Match11 - USA-LAT
17:30-19:00 Women's Team Preliminaries - Match12 - SLO-NED
Day 5 Thursday: (9/11)
10:00-11:30 Women's Team 5-8
16:00-17:30 Women's Team 5-8
Day 6 Friday: (9/12)
10:00-11:30 Women's Team Semifinal 1
16:00-17:30 Women's Team Semifinal 2
Day 7 Saturday: (9/13)
10:00-11:30 Women's Team 7-8
16:00-17:30 Women's Team 5-6
Day 8 Sunday: (9/14)
16:00-17:30 Women's Team Bronze Medal
18:00-19:30 Women's Team Gold Medal Match
19:45-20:05 Women's Gold Medal Ceremony