The USA Paralympic women’s sitting volleyball team hosted Team Canada last night at the UCO Wellness Center in the first of two matches, defeating the Canadians four games to none.
Both teams used the match to prepare for the Zonal Championships in Brazil.
“We wanted to focus on our service play, and get some experience for some of our less experienced players,” Bill Hamiter, Team USA head coach, said. “Some of our top players aren’t even here tonight.”
Despite a high number of errors adding to the Canadians score early in the match, Team USA never trailed with exception to a brief 4-0 Canadian lead during the early parts of the third game.
“We all played really well. A good thing about playing Canada is that it lets us tweak our offense and defense,” Brenda Maymon, interim Team USA captain, said.
Team Canada, which participated in workouts with Team USA coaches at UCO for a few days prior to the match, showed occasional flashes of offensive strength, however were not able to overcome the strength of the American attack, often sending balls hurtling off their own arms out of bounds behind them.
As for the American side, Hamiter was pleased with his team’s performance, but added that there was more work to be done.
“Our overall goal was to get experience for our younger players, let them fight for roster spots leading into the Olympics,” Hamiter said. “We need to work on our attack in the middle and try to be a more consistent team, not play with a lot of ups and downs.”
Paralympic sitting volleyball, while played on a smaller court and with a shorter net, follows similar rules to regular volleyball. In sitting volleyball, however, the ball may be struck with any part of the body as long as the player remains at least partially seated off the ground.
UCO has served as a Paralympic training site since 2005. Currently, UCO hosts 16 athletes training in Paralympic sitting volleyball, archery and track and field.
Team USA has already qualified for the 2012 Paralympics in London. The second match against Team Canada will be held tonight 7 pm in the UCO Wellness Center. The match is free to the public.
Notes: In all four games, Team USA never allowed more that 15 points, posting leads of at least nine points at the second timeout twice, in games two and four …. Team Canada captain Chantal Beauchesne will remain at UCO for two more weeks on an athlete exchange program, training with Team USA coaches. She will live on campus during her stay.