TOKYO (Aug. 7, 2021) – Ah Brazil, we meet again.
The U.S. Women’s National Team (6-1) will play Brazil (7-0) on Saturday in the gold medal match of the 2020 Olympic Games at 9:30 p.m. PT. It is scheduled to be shown live on the USA Network and an hour delayed on NBC (check your local listings).
The U.S. Women are looking to win their first Olympic gold medal. Brazil is looking for its third.
The country where volleyball was born versus the country that has adopted it as its favorite sport (the saying goes that “in Brazil, soccer is not a sport, it is a religion”) in an Olympic final. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Overall, the U.S. Women are 4-5 against Brazil in Olympic matches The U.S. has played Brazil for Olympic medals three times. In 1992 in Barcelona, it swept Brazil for the bronze medal. But in 2008 and 2012, Brazil won the gold medal by beating the U.S. Women. The U.S. lost 3-2 in 2008 in Beijing and 3-1 in 2012 in London.
The two countries have squared off in many other important matches. Most recently, the U.S. Women beat Brazil in the final of the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. The U.S. also beat Brazil in a VNL preliminary match.
U.S. opposite Annie Drews said the U.S. familiarity with Brazil is good, but it also goes both ways.
“I think if it helps us, it also helps them,” she said. “I think the more information we know about a team, the better. But no game is the same. No championship is the same. We’re prepared for them to come out hot and I am sure they haven’t shown us all their cards yet.”
One card that will not be on the table is Brazilian starting opposite Tandara Caixeta, who left the team on Aug. 6 before its semifinal match with Korea after reportedly testing positive for a banned substance.
Rosamaria Montbellier capably took Tandara’s place against Korea in Brazil’s 3-0 semifinal victory.
U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly sees similarities in the two teams’ styles of play and said the keys to victory will be serves and serve-receive.
“Our serve-receivers are having great tournaments: Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Jordan Larson and our libero Justine Wong Orantes,” he said. “We’re probably the two best serve-receiving teams in the tournament and that’s reflected in where we both sit. A key element to having success here is controlling the other team’s serve. We are also both very good serving teams.”
Kiraly is no stranger to battles against Brazil. At the 1984 Olympic Games, his U.S. Men’s Team suffered a crushing loss to Brazil in pool play before coming back to beat the South Americans in the gold medal match.
He said he shared that experience with his team in Tokyo to help them rebound from a 3-0 loss to Russia in pool play.
U.S. Women’s Roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
1 Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ.)
2 Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Aurora, Colo., Univ. of Illinois)
4 Justine Wong Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
10 Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Univ. of Nebraska)
11 Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ.)
12 Jordan Thompson (OPP, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati)
14 Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Champaign, Ill., Univ. of Illinois)
15 Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine, Univ.)
16 Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson (M, 6-3, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Stanford Univ.)
22 Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Colorado Springs, Colo., Penn State Univ.)
23 Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
24 Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, Coppell, Texas, Univ. of Texas)
Head Coach Karch Kiraly
Asst. Coach Erin Virtue
Asst. Coach Tama Miyashiro
Asst. Coach Luka Slabe
Performance Analyst Jeff Liu
Sport Physiologist & Team Leader Jimmy Stitz
Physical Therapist & ATC Kara Kessans
Consultant Coach Sue Enquist
Consultant Coach Marv Dunphy
Team Doctor Dr. Chris Lee
Second Scout Justin Chang
Olympic Schedule (All times PT)
Jul 24: USA def Argentina, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-20)
July 26: USA def China, 3-0 (29-27, 25-22, 25-21)
July 29: USA def Turkey, 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 17-25, 20-25, 15-12)
July 30: Russian Olympic Committee def USA, 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-19)
Aug. 1: USA def Italy, 3-2 (21-25, 25-16, 25-27, 25-16, 15-12)
Aug. 3: QF USA def Dominican Republic, 3-0 (25-11, 25-20, 25-19)
Aug. 5: SF USA def Serbia, 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-23)
Aug. 7 at 9:30 p.m.: Gold final USA v Brazil