USA Volleyball has announced their selections for men’s and women’s sitting players of the year – Monique Burkland and James Stuck.
Burkland has been working for seven years on her serve which has been the key to her game in 2017. In both of the women’s major competitions in 2017 – World Super 6 and ParaVolley Pan America Championships – Burkland was named the Best Server. At the Pan Am Championships, she was also tabbed the MVP of the competition. This is not the first time that Burkland has garnered the award, as she was named the Player of the Year in 2015 and is a two-time Paralympic medalist – including the gold medal in Rio.
Also being honored on the women’s side is Tia Edwards as the Most Improved Player of the Year. Edwards was hesitant to join the sitting volleyball team but was convinced by the team’s head coach Bill Hamiter. Edwards was also a member of the 2016 Rio team that won gold.
On the men’s side, Stuck is an all-around player that can get the job done for the team. Prior to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Stuck was moved from setter to middle blocker, to which he was named the Best Blocker at the ParaVolley Pan Am Championships where the team took the silver medal.
Patrick Young was deemed the Most Improved Player on the men’s team during the 2017 season. The Air Force veteran joined the team as one of the oldest players at 48 years old.