Sports


Women's volleyball gives Team USA another Olympic medal

 

The United States defeated Netherlands, 25-23, 25-27, 25-22, 25-19, to capture the bronze medal of the women's volleyball tournament at Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Saturday afternoon at Maracanazinho.

It was the fourth medal in the Olympic history for the USA women team that finished with the silver in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Their previous medal had been also a bronze attained in Barcelona 1992. The fourth place was a country's best for Netherlands who concluded in the fifth slot in Atlanta 1996.

USA outclassed Netherlands at the net with a 13-6 huge advantage in the blocking category led by Rachael Adams with five of her own. The winners also held a wide 10-6 margin in aces, including four by Kimberly Hill.

Hill led the balanced scoring charts of the winners with 19 points, followed by Stanford grad Foluke Akirandewo with 16. Adams and Jordan Larson-Burbach finished with 15 points each in the victory.

Anne Buijs and Lonneke Sloetjes finished with 15 points apiece in the losing effort, while Celeste Plak and Robin De Kruijf had 11 points each.

Team USA was one of the favourites to battle for the gold medal, but lost a thrilling five-setter to Serbia in the semifinals.

The Dutch side had been relegated to the bronze medal contest after being defeated by China in four sets.

Both teams faced difficulties with their serve reception in the first set. The Dutch got an early two-point lead at 4-2 behind aces by Belien and Sloetjes but three spikes by Larson-Burbach spearheaded an American reaction for a four-point command.

The Netherlands side came back to tie at 18-all with a block by Belien against Lowe. The two straight spikes by Hill snapped the 21-all tie and the same Hill sealed the set 25-23 for USA.

Spikes by Akinradewo and Adams followed by ace landed by Glass brought USA in front 10-8 in the second set.

The Americans widened the gap to 17-13 but the Dutch side shortened the distance to 19-18 via spikes by Buijs, Pietersen and Sloetjes and tied at 22-all with bomb by Sloetjes.

Netherlands captured the set 27-25 with an ace by Buijs following Pieterson's spike.

In the third set, Plak scored with spike and block around one opponent error to give Netherlands a 15-12 advantage.

The Americans tied at 19-all when Lowe scored off the block after a long rally with great defence from both sides. Hill and Lowe scored with spike and ace for a two-point American advantage 23-21 and Hill served an ace to close it 25-22.

Adams blocked Sloetjes and Buijs for an 8-4 USA lead in the fourth set and two spikes by the lefty Lowe made it more than comfortable for the Americans.

The set concluded 25-19 when Akinradewo blocked Buijs and Hill scored her fourth ace of the match.

Both USA and Netherlands hold victories over Serbia and China – the gold-medal matchup – during the 2016 Olympic Games.

— FIVB/USA volleyball

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