The United States women’s volleyball team has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after defeating the Dominican Republic in straight sets.
The U.S. women’s volleyball into Tokyo Olympics semifinals with straight-sets win over Dominican Republic is the latest news about the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team in the Tokyo Olympics, which will be held in 2020.
TOKYO, Japan — After a relatively easy quarterfinal victory, the United States women’s volleyball team has returned to the semifinals five years after being denied their first Olympic gold medal in the semifinals.
The Americans defeated the Dominican Republic 25-11, 25-20, 25-19 on Wednesday to progress to the semifinals despite missing two players.
In a repeat of a semifinal the Americans lost five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, the United States will face Serbia for a place in the gold-medal game on Friday.
The United States has advanced thus far in the Olympics six times in the last eight years, but the nation has yet to win a gold medal in the event. The United States has won a medal in each of the last three Olympics, taking silver in 2008 and 2012 and bronze in 2016.
“This program has had a lot of success over the years,” Karch Kiraly, the United States’ coach, remarked. “But we haven’t yet ascended to the top of the podium. So our aim, our mission, is to constantly strive to accomplish something that hasn’t been done before. However, the opponent has a lot of influence in how things turn out…. There are several fantastic teams here with the same goal. But we’ll keep throwing ourselves against that door in an attempt to smash it down.”
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The five-set defeat to Serbia in 2016 when star middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson departed in the first set with a knee injury has provided as fire for Kiraly’s team ever since, and they are eager to revenge it.
With openers Jordyn Poulter and Jordan Thompson both out with right ankle ailments, the US entered the semifinals with a small bench. However, both players have astonished Kiraly with their speed of recovery and their ability to play in an emergency.
“We were aware that they were available to play,” Kiraly said. “But we also understood if we could play without them, it’s good to give them a couple of more days to feel confidence in their ankle, to leap more at the net in training tomorrow, and things like that.”
Fill-ins Micha Hancock and Annie Drews set the tone early against the Dominicans, and they weren’t missed. Drews spiked the first point of the match after Hancock’s set, and Hancock completed a lopsided opening set with an ace.
The Dominican Republic fought off four set points in the second set until Drews ended it with an attack point for the second time. Drew led all scorers with 21 points.
“When Jordan Poulter was injured, I reminded them that out of the match against Italy, the best teams adapt, compensate, and modify,” Kiraly added. “We’ve been doing an excellent job with it.”
Hancock and Drews are among a group of first-time Olympians who have had outstanding tournaments so far, including Thompson, Poulter, outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, and libero Justine Wong-Orantes.
Three-time Olympians like Akinradewo Gunderson and captain Jordan Larson provide a nice combination of youth and experience for the United States.
Akinradewo Gunderson remarked of her inexperienced colleagues, “They’re playing like it’s any other event.” “They’re playing with a lot of self-assurance and bravery. Seeing them simply go after it is really motivating to me. It’s possible that shrinking is simple at huge times. I believe that everyone is becoming much larger right now.”
In their third Olympic appearance, the Dominicans advanced to the quarterfinals. They also fell to the United States in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympics and did not advance beyond pool play in the 2004 Athens Games.
Serbia trounced Italy and is looking to win gold for the first time since losing to China five years ago. Tijana Boskovic, the tournament’s top scorer, put an end to Italy’s surge with a spike that gave her a game-high 24 points.
South Korea defeated Turkey in five sets earlier in the day on Wednesday to advance to the other semifinal, where it will face the winner of the quarterfinal between Russia and Brazil.
South Korea is aiming for their second medal in the event, after winning bronze in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. They’ve only made it to the semifinals twice before, in 2012 and 1972.
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