Rio Roundup: Day Thirteen, Part One
Women’s indoor volleyball blows lead late, loses chance at gold to first time semifinal participant Serbia
18 unforced errors will simply not get it done.
The final scores in one of the two semifinals on Thursday afternoon were 20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 16-25, 15-13. It did not help having the services of star middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo had to leave midway through the second set with a gruesome knee injury.
The fifth set had Team USA poised to reach their dream, but it fell short after leading 10-7. Eight of the final 11 points went to Serbia, thanks mostly to the superhuman effort supplied by Brankica Mihajlovic, who was like played a woman possessed during the middle two sets. She finished the match with 22 points to along with five blocks.
Some quotes compiled by the FIVB site really struck me, which included:
“I can’t find words to describe what this victory means for me, for Serbian volleyball and for everyone in Serbia. It is our first Olympic medal which makes us very proud. We have defeated what is the best team in the world now. It is amazing, a 3-2 victory. I am extremely satisfied.”
Zoran Terzic, Coach of Serbia
“It is an amazing feeling. We have defeated (the) USA, one of the best teams in the world. We will play our hearts out in the next match for the gold medal. I am very proud of my team.”
Milena Rasic, Serbian player
“Serbia played a great match and we also played a great match. After falling to 2-1 we put ourselves in a position to make it possible, but Serbia made great plays in the key moments of the fifth set.”
Karch Kiraly, three time Olympic gold medalist and Team USA Head Coach
“Serbia played phenomenal, with great defense.”
Christa Harmotto-Dietzen, Team USA Captain
The loser between China and the Netherlands will determine who goes home with the bronze. That match takes place on Saturday prior to the gold medal game at Maracanãzinho Arena.