Six former and one current Gallaudet Bison joined the rest of Team USA Deaf Women’s Volleyball in winning the World Deaf Volleyball Championships (WDVBC), held at Gallaudet University, July 6-15. Team USA defeated two-time defending champion Ukraine in straight sets, 25-19, 25-11, and 25-21 to clinch its first gold medal since 1993.

In the two previous women’s world championships, Team USA placed third in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2008), and second in Sofia, Bulgaria (2012).

Gallaudet volleyball head coach Lynn Ray Boren, ’96, coached Team USA, leading a roster that included Kristina Choate (nee Burke), ’06, Kali Frowick, ’14, Ludmila Mounty-Weinstock, ’08, Darriyan Thomas (2014-present), Sarah Tubert (2011-12), Ann Whited, ’12, and Katelyn Zernovoj (nee Reese), ’08, comprising seven of the 14 players suiting up for Team USA.

Team USA earned the top seed after going undefeated in the preliminary rounds against teams from Brazil, Canada, Japan, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Throughout the competition, Team USA dropped only one set, to Japan in a preliminary round match, out of 31 sets played during the tournament.

Team USA defeated eighth-seeded Turkey in the quarterfinals and fourth-seeded Japan in the semifinals, both in straight sets.

“This is a ‘Finally!’ moment for Team USA Deaf Volleyball and myself since I joined as head coach in 2008,” said Boren. “It means so much to me because this team is only two months old with many new faces. It has been fascinating to see this group of women stick together through different communication modes and levels of volleyball background. I truly appreciate their sacrifice and time in coming here for 20 days to train and compete in both the Pan American and WDVBC.”

Team USA qualified for the 2017 Deaflympics after securing a gold medal at the Pan American (Pan Am) Deaf Volleyball Regional Qualifiers, also hosted by Gallaudet, June 29-July-4. The USA men’s deaf volleyball team also qualified for the 2017 Deaflympics with a silver medal finish in the Pan Am qualifier. The men finished fifth at WDVBC.

Team USA plans to compete in the U.S. Open in Minnesota in May 2017 in preparation for the 2017 Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey.

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