By: Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball Communications
The top-ranked U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team fell one victory shy of winning its first-ever Olympic Games gold-medal for the second quadrennial in a row in an 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 loss to No. 2 Brazil Saturday in the title match at Earls Court in London.
The U.S. Women finished the tournament with a 7-1 record and 30-2 record in 2012. Brazil, which was on the verge of not qualifying for the quarterfinals heading into the final pool day, finished with a 6-2 record in defending its 2008 Olympic Games title in a gold-medal rematch with the Americans. In the process, Brazil snapped a six-match losing streak to the United States dating back to 2011.
The U.S. was playing in its third Olympic Games title match, only to have golden dreams dashed for silver in losses to Brazil at the 2008 Beijing Games and to China at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Team USA now has four overall Olympic women’s volleyball medals that include a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
At the 2008 Olympic Games, Brazil won its first-ever women’s volleyball gold-medal over the Americans as the top seed and favorite to win, while the U.S. entered the Olympics as a dark horse to win a medal. In 2012, Team USA was the favorite to win its first-ever gold.
The U.S. bolted to an early 7-2 lead in the opening set and never let up in a 25-11 victory. U.S. captain Lindsey Berg (Honolulu), who has announced her intentions to retire after the Olympics, had service runs of 6-0 and 5-0 in the set.Team USA came back from an 11-6 deficit in the second set to tie the score at 12-all, but Brazil responded with a 6-0 run en route to a 25-17 victory and controlled the rest of the match. Brazil reached a 14-9 lead in the third set and never allowed the U.S. closer than two points the rest of the way for a 25-20 victory.
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