The USA Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Training Team will hold its first training camp of the year beginning Monday, Feb. 20, at California State University Northridge in Northridge, CA., in preparation for the World Championships. Read on for the details.
The USA Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Training Team will hold its first training camp of the year beginning Monday, Feb. 20, at California State University Northridge in Northridge, CA.
The camp, which will run through Friday, Feb. 24, will be the first of five extended training sessions as the women prepare for the 2006 Sitting Volleyball World Championship. The World Championship, scheduled for June 18-26 in Roermond, the Netherlands, will be the first event for the USA Women since the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Team USA made history on Sept. 27, 2004 when they captured the bronze medal at those Games with a 3-1 win over Slovenia. The medal was the first of any kind at the Paralympics for any of the disabled volleyball programs (sitting or standing, men's or women's). Lora Webster ( Cave Creek, Ariz.) scored a team-high 19 points in the 25-20, 10-25, 25-18, 25-20 victory for the United States, which finished the tournament with a record of 4-3.
After earning that podium placement in Athens, the team has its sights on another Paralympic medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China.
"The World Championships give us a serious chance to qualify for Beijing as the top four teams – assuming China, as host country, also does well at the Worlds – earn spots," said USA head coach Mike Hulett (Des Plaines, Ill.), the 2004 USOC National Paralympic Coach of the Year.
"While we have not had any competition in 2005, the core of the team is the same; all played extensively in Athens, including Lora Webster, Brenda Maymon, Kendra Lancaster, Allison Aldrich and Lori Daniels," he added. "A question mark remains attached to team captain Gina McWilliams who is scheduled to have surgery on her ankle and knee next week."
The Americans are also scheduled to training at the Colorado Crossroads Qualifier next month (March 9-13); in Atlanta, Ga., from March 30-April 2; in Reno, Nev., from April 27-30; and in New Orleans, La., from May 27-June 3 prior to the World Championship.
"A major goal is to see if we have the ability to set from the back row," said Hulett of the team’s training goals. "No women's team is currently doing this, and it could be a big advantage for us."
According to Hulett, the team will hold at least two sessions per day while it is training at CSUN – 9-11:30 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. The squad is also scheduled to take part in a demonstration/mini-tournament with members of CSUN’s fraternities and sororities on Thursday, Feb. 23.
Feb. 20-24 CSUN Training Camp Roster
Allison Aldrich ( Schuyler, Neb.)
Lori Daniels ( Roanoke, Texas)
Kendra Lancaster ( Sheridan, Ind.)
Brenda Maymon ( Sellersburg, Ind.)
Nichole Millage ( Champaign, Ill.)
Kari Miller ( Champaign, Ill.)
Sarah Panzau ( Belleville, Ill.)
Head Coach: Mike Hulett ( Des Plaines, Ill.)
Assistant Coach: Denise Van De Walle ( Bowling Green, Ohio)
About Sitting Volleyball
Sitting volleyball is played with athletes sitting on the floor. All team members have some type of disability to their lower body such as paralysis from polio, or single- or double-amputation. The net is about three feet high and the court is 10 meters by 6 meters with a 2-meter attack line. The only major differences between the standing game and sitting game besides the smaller court and lower net are: 1) players can block the serve; and 2) one "cheek" must be in contact with the floor when a person makes contact with the ball.