US women's volleyball team falls to Cuba
BEIJING (AP) The U.S. women's volleyball team, playing in its second match of an emotionally draining Olympics, fell to Cuba in three sets Monday.
Cuba, ranked third in the world, overpowered the U.S. women 25-15, 26-24, 25-17 and went up 2-0 in preliminary round play. The U.S. women were even at 1-1.
USA Volleyball was reeling from the stabbing death of Todd Bachman, father of former Olympian Elisabeth Bachman McCutcheon and father-in-law of the U.S. men's coach. Bachman was attacked by a knife-wielding man at a tourist site in Beijing on Saturday.
Bachman's wife, Barbara, was seriously wounded by the attacker, who jumped to his death from a balcony of the Drum Tower, a landmark the Americans were visiting.
Many of the women on the team played with Bachman McCutcheon in the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Bachmans frequently accompanied USA Volleyball to tournaments and were especially close to the women's team.
The U.S. women defeated Japan in their opening game on Saturday night, while Cuba also won its first match against Poland.
Against Cuba, the United States struggled.
The U.S. women were up 5-1 in the first set when Cuba called a time-out to regroup - and came back to surge ahead 8-5. Cuba went on to claim the set 25-15.
The United States kept it closer in the second, but Yumilka Ruiz's cross-court spike for match point gave the set to Cuba. The U.S. was similarly overpowered in the third.
Ruiz led Cuba with 13 points. Tayyiba Haneef-Park had 13 for the United States.
The Chinese fans at Capital Indoor Stadium cheered loudly for U.S. coach Jenny Lang Ping, who is a sports icon in China. Many stayed to applaud and take a picture as she left the court after the match.
Lang was known as the "Iron Hammer" during her playing days with the Chinese national team because of her powerful spikes. She led her team to an Olympic gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.