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pecified leg injury early in the second set sidelined Foluke Akinradewo, who had led the U.S. with six points and three blocks i

in Weihnachts-Forum von Planet Xmas 19.07.2018 01:45
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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Forty-eight hours, they said, and theyd be ready. Ready to fight for a medal of the wrong color.Nothing against bronze medals, but thats not what the U.S. womens volleyball team intended to bring home from Rio, and it was not what anyone expected the top-ranked team in the world to do as it sought the first gold medal in the programs history.In one of the bigger upsets suffered by the U.S. in these Games, the 2012 silver medalist fell Thursday to Serbia, playing in its first Olympic semifinal, 20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 16-25, 15-13.This one stings, for sure, [but] we have a great example set for us. Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross responded really well after their semifinal loss, and we plan to take that same approach, said team captain Christa Harmotto Dietzen, referring to the American beach volleyball duo that lost in the semifinals before beating the top-seeded Brazilian tandem for the bronze.The obvious difference? Walsh Jennings had never lost in three previous Games.Right now this loss is deeply disappointing. It cuts deep, its very painful, and thats OK. When you care this much, its going to, said U.S. coach Karch Kiraly, the most successful Olympic volleyball player in history, winning gold medals in beach and indoor.Kiraly went to his bench often after an unspecified leg injury early in the second set sidelined Foluke Akinradewo, who had led the U.S. with six points and three blocks in the first set. Experimenting with different lineups, the error-prone Americans were helpless to contain the sudden momentum of the Serbs, who won the second and third sets.Yeah, it was tough when Foluke went down, said Harmotto Dietzen. I think we were a little distracted there for a second because we care so much for her. We obviously wanted to turn this around for her and for everybody thats part of this program.The Americans rallied in a one-sided fourth set in which they converted on a whopping 12-of-18 spikes. They led 12-10 in the final set before Serbia reeled off the next three points and five of the final six. A U.S. serve into the net to set up match point for Serbia was the most devastating point in that match-winning Serbian run.In a topsy-turvy tournament, Serbia will go for gold against either China, led by former U.S. coach Jenny Lang Ping, or the Netherlands, returning to Olympic volleyball competition for the first time in 25 years.What I can say after this game? said Serbian coach Zoran Terzic, whose team lost to the U.S. on Aug. 10 in a pool-play four-setter. I dont have words definitely because this is a historical moment for me, for Serbia volleyball, the first Olympic medal in our history. In this moment we are very happy, very proud, especially the way we played against maybe the best team in the world.Serbia may have been the underdogs, but the Americans, as has been the case in all of their games here, faced a loud majority of fans rooting against them.While Kiraly praised his teams ability to face adversity, he stopped short of using the crowd as an excuse.It had nothing do with the noise, he said. I love the energy in Brazil. Whether its loud against us or for us, that kind of energy and that atmosphere is why were all doing this. We love passion like that.Kiraly, an assistant coach in 2012 who was hired shortly after the London Games to take over a program on the upswing, led the U.S. to the 2014 FIVB World Championship, its first international title. And he was determined, by stressing team as family, to win its first gold medal.Weve built something special over the years. ... 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