Special to The Sun
Both United States national sitting volleyball teams qualified for the 2014 WOVD World Championships this weekend at the 2013 ParaVolley Pan American zonal championships at the University of Central Oklahoma Wellness Center.
The women’s squad won gold by going undefeated in the three-match weekend set with Brazil. The U.S. swept Brazil in Sunday’s match, winning 25-21, 25-21, 25-14. Heather Erickson led the U.S. with a team-high 19 points and 12 kills. Katie Holloway had 17 points and 11 kills. The U.S. won nine of 10 matches against Brazil on the weekend.
“It’s a great opportunity to go compete in the world championships,” said Edmond native Kaleo Kanahele. “We got to see a different team this weekend and were able to play well and put on a good showing.”
“I think our focus was exactly where it needed to be. It was important for us to try some different lineups and to play a lot of people and it leaves us where we want to be going forward,” said Erickson, who attends UCO.
The U.S. men’s team came away with silver, falling to Brazil in the gold-medal match. However, the top two teams from the Pan American mens division qualify for the trip to Poland. The U.S. lost to Brazil in three sets Sunday, 24-26, 18-25, 11-25. J. Dee Marinko led the U.S. with six points and five kills.
“Our mission all along was to qualify both teams for the world championships, so we’re very pleased that we were able to do that,” said Bill Hamiter, men’s and women’s national sitting team head coach. “I thought both teams played well throughout the weekend.”