Growing crowd energizes team
Supporters of the U.S. sitting volleyball teams have been showing up in increasing numbers this week. Tournament officials don't keep exact attendance numbers, but said there were between 500-600 people at Wednesday night's game between the U.S. and Netherlands, the highest-attended game of the women's tournament so far.
"If we make it to the finals we're going to have to pull out extra seats," said Ryan Wilson, who is helping to coordinate the event at UCO.
Women's coach Bill Hamiter said the crowd support was a factor in his team's win in straight sets.
"I always tell them we need to keep the intensity high, and the crowd was good for that," he said.
U.S. teams advance to bracket play
The women were qualified to advance out of pool play before Wednesday's games, but locked up a No. 1 seed with their win Wednesday. They finished pool play with a perfect 5-0 record. Their next match is at 1:30 p.m. Friday against either Russia or Slovenia. Eight teams advance to bracket play, with the top three qualifying for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
The men started the tournament 0-2, but defeated Canada on Wednesday to finish pool play at 2-2 and advance to bracket play. They meet Germany at 1 p.m. today to play for a berth in the quarterfinals.
Kanahele handling pressure of international play
At 14 years old, Kaleo Kanahele is easily the youngest player on an undefeated U.S. women's squad. But if she's feeling any pressure playing in front of crowds of chanting fans, she isn't showing it, her father Iubile Kanahele said.
"She hasn't looked nervous at all," he said of his daughter, who didn't even know if she would be allowed to compete until the classification committee cleared her Friday. "She's handling it well and is just really proud to be on the national team."