Sports

Team USA reaches world volleyball championship final

 

The second-ranked United States' women's national volleyball team downed No. 1 Brazil, 25-18, 29-27, 25-20, in Saturday's semifinal match at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships in Milan, Italy on Saturday.

Team USA, with Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo starting all three sets, outplayed Brazil in attacking and serving, to make up for Brazil's superior blocking.

The Brazilians, reigning Olympic champions, contributed to the final score with 19 unforced errors (to USA's 12). It was Brazil's first defeat in 12 matches at these World Championships. The Americans are 10-2.

The U.S. meets China for the world title on Sunday. The Chinese knocked off Italy in four sets to advance.

The Americans advanced into the semifinal round after Italy downed Russia on Friday. The U.S. beat the Russians on Thursday after losing to Italy the previous day.

USA ended their six-match losing streak to Brazil in FIVB and Olympic competition. However, USA won all four matches against Brazil in the USA Volleyball Cup this past July. Overall, USA and Brazil have faced each other eight times in 2014 with USA winning five of the matches.

USA has never won the World Championship gold medal, finishing second in 1967 and 2002. This is the first time they have reached the gold-medal match since going away from the round-robin format.

The U.S. lost to Brazil in the gold medal match of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Jenny Lang Ping, who led the U.S. Women's Olympic team to the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, coaches China. Her daughter, Lydia Bai, played at Stanford.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/FIVB

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