Meet The 12 Members Of The U.S. Women’s Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Team
by Todd Kortemeier
Fresh off a tournament win in the Golden Nations League in which it dropped just two sets in six matches, the U.S. women’s sitting volleyball team looks to be in prime shape to defend its gold medal at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
And helping to defend that medal will be nine women returning from the Rio team joined by three newcomers as announced Monday by USA Volleyball. All but one took part in the Golden Nations League. The Paralympic gold medal was the first for Team USA in women’s volleyball since the sport debuted on the program in 2004. The U.S. also has a bronze and two silver medals.
Here’s a closer look at the team that will look to repeat in Tokyo.
A native of Tucson, Arizona, the 33-year-old Dosty played standing volleyball at the University of Arizona followed by a professional career. An ankle injury led her to start playing sitting volleyball in 2016 and she began playing with the national team that year. Athletics — and height — run in the Dosty family as Whitney’s father Robbie and sister Sybil each played college basketball.
An Oklahoma native and alum of Central Oklahoma where the U.S. team is based, Edwards has been playing volleyball since she was 13. Now 26, Edwards has one Paralympic gold medal from 2016, a silver world championships medal from 2018 and two Parapan American Games gold medals.
Heather Erickson, opposite
Another Central Oklahoma alum, Erickson was named MVP and Best Receiver at the Rio Games. Still just 28, Erickson has been on the national team since she was 14 and will be headed to her fourth Paralympic Games and has one gold and two silver medals to her name thus far. The native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, is a three-time USA Volleyball Female Sitting Player of the Year.
Katie Holloway, outside hitter
The oldest member of the team at 35, Holloway will be headed to her fourth Paralympic Games. Holloway was a basketball player at Cal State Northridge, becoming the first woman with a prosthetic limb in NCAA Division I basketball history. The native of Lake Stevens, Washington, made her Paralympic debut in 2008 and led the team in scoring. She was named Best Spiker for the 2012 Games and is a two-time USAV Female Sitting Player of the Year.
Kaleo Kanahele Maclay poses at the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
A part of the U.S. program since she was 12, Kanahele Maclay has been a member of the national team since 2009. The 25-year-old is headed to her third Paralympic Games and was named Best Setter at the 2018 world championships and 2019 Parapan American Games. When not on the court, Kanahele Maclay owns a coffee shop and bakery in Oklahoma City.
Monique Matthews, middle
A three-time Sitting Player of the Year, Matthews will be going to her third Games. Matthews, who will turn 32 just before Tokyo, was a standout softball player at Plainview High School in Oklahoma before going on to Central Oklahoma. She has two world championship medals and two Parapan American Games gold medals.
Nicky Nieves, middle
Nicky Nieves poses at the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
A native of Kissimmee, Florida, Nieves will be back for a second Paralympic Games. The 31-year-old made her international debut with Team USA in 2011 and has since won two Parapan American Games gold medals and a world championship silver medal in addition to Paralympic gold.
Emma Schieck, outside hitter
Born in 2001, Schieck represents the next generation of U.S. sitting volleyball. The native of Statesville, North Carolina, has been a member of the national team since 2017. She came up through the USAV A2 program before making the national team.
Lexi Shifflett, setter/libero
A member of the national team since 2013, Shifflett is going to her second Paralympic Games. The 25-year-old from Waseca, Minnesota, has won two world championships silver medals and two Parapan American Games gold medals. She was named USAV Female Sitting Team Most Improved Player in 2015.
Lora Webster, middle
Making her fifth Paralympic appearance, Webster is the longest tenured member of the national team. The soon-to-be 35-year-old has been with the national team since 2004, also when she made her Paralympic debut in the Paralympic debut of sitting volleyball. The native of Point Lookout, New York, was named Best Blocker in winning her first gold medal in Rio, and is a two-time Sitting Player of the Year.
Jillian Williams, middle/opposite/outside hitter
The newest member of the national team, Williams has competed with Team USA since 2018. The 24-year-old from Odem, Texas, went to college at Central Oklahoma. She played on the 2019 Parapan American Games team that won the gold medal.
Bethany Zummo, libero
An alternate for the 2012 Paralympic team, Zummo will be making her second Paralympic Games as an active member of the team. The 28-year-old from Dublin, California, and another Central Oklahoma alum, was named Best Libero at the 2019 World ParaVolley Super 6 tournament. She has won two world championship silver medals and two Parapan gold medals.