It’s not a match that the U.S. Women’s National Team enjoys talking about, but they know it will be tough to avoid it. On Aug. 18, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. Women lost to Serbia in the semifinals of the Olympic Games in a tough five-set match. The U.S. won the first set, but Serbia took the next two. The U.S. won the fourth set 25-16 and led the fifth set 11-8 before Serbia came back to win 15-13.
TOKYO (Aug. 5, 2021) – The U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team will play for the gold medal on Sunday after beating Serbia decisively on Thursday, 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-23) at the Olympic Games.
The U.S. Women (6-1) will play Brazil (7-0) in the gold medal match scheduled for 9:30 p.m. PT on Saturday. Korea and Serbia will play for bronze.
It will be the fourth straight Olympic Games that will see the U.S. Women playing for a medal and the third time since 2008 that they will play for gold. Overall, the team has won three silver medals (1992, 2008 and 2012) and two bronze (1984 and 2016).
Although only four players on the current team competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where Serbia beat the U.S. in the semifinals, all the players understood the significance of the match.
“(The veterans) didn’t even need to talk about it. I think so many of us watched that match,” setter Jordyn Poulter said. “I am sure there was a chip on their shoulders. All of us who play for the USA have been chasing history for so long.”
Defensively, the U.S. had one big goal, contain Serbian opposite Tijana Bošković, the tournament’s leading scorer and Serbia’s longtime star, and try to stifle Serbia’s other scorers. The plan worked. Bošković led all scorers with 19 points (.120 hitting efficiency), but Serbia’s next highest scorer, middle blocker Mina Popovic, had six. Outside hitters Bianka Busa and Bojana Milenkovic each scored four points. As a team, Serbia hit .262,
“I thought we executed phenomenally,” said middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson. “Before the match, I envisioned this for us. I envisioned us being clinical about it, executing the game plan and it was nice to see it come to life.
“I felt trust in our group.”
Akinradewo led the U.S. with three blocks. The U.S. led Serbia in blocking 12-8.
The U.S. digging and receiving corp. also impressed. Outside hitter Jordan Larson was credited with 20 successful receptions while libero Justin Wong Orantes had six and outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley finished with five. Larson and Bartsch-Hackley were each credited with eight digs and Wong Orantes had six.
The great defense made life easier for Poulter, who set the team to a .333 hitting efficiency. Opposite Annie Drews led the scoring with 17 points on 12 kills, two blocks and a match-high three aces. Larson added 15 points on 11 kills, two block and two aces.
Bartsch-Hackley finished with nine points on seven kills and two blocks. Akinradewo totaled eight points on five kills to go with her three blocks. Washington scored seven points on five kills, one block and one ace. Poulter scored two points on two blocks.
- Following the victory, Kiraly said he had received a congratulatory message from tennis great Billie Jean King. King had met with the team via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the team also continues to get messages from former players, particularly members of the 1980 U.S. Women’s Team that did not get to compete in the Olympic Games due to the U.S. boycott.
- Poulter played in her first match since rolling her right ankle in the team’s final pool play match against Italy. “It shows what kind of support staff we have available to us as USA players. The resources we have, whether it’s other PTs or our own PT Kara Kessens, put so much effort into making us feel good and making us feel healthy. It’s amazing the knowledge and the resources we have access to. I am just so grateful for all the people who aren’t physically on the court who make this whole engine run.”
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. PT: Gold final USA v Brazil/Korea winner