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Mar 07 Volleyball coach returns, US defeats China

Aug. 16, 2008, 6 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) The U.S. men's volleyball coach returned to his team and the Americans responded by defeating China in three sets Saturday at the Beijing Olympics.

Coach Hugh McCutcheon missed three games following an attack on his in-laws, who were visiting a Beijing tourist site.

The U.S. remained undefeated with the 25-22, 25-12 25-18 victory. The team already has clinched a quarterfinal spot.

McCutcheon's father-in-law, Todd Bachman, was fatally stabbed in the attack one week ago. His mother-in-law, Barbara Bachman, was badly wounded. The Bachmans are the parents of McCutcheon's wife, former volleyball Olympian Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman McCutcheon.

"I wouldn't have come back if I wasn't ready to come back," McCutcheon said after the victory over China. "It's what I do - get out on the sidelines and get the boys fired up."

McCutcheon said his mother-in-law inspired him from her hospital bed.

"One of the first times I saw her when she was awake in the ICU, she was asking me why I wasn't coaching the team," he said.

McCutcheon's coaching style remained consistent. He paced the sidelines with his arms folded or his hands on his hips. He clapped for his team after winning points.

"He's been a pillar of strength," libero Richard Lambourne said.

Barbara Bachman was airlifted from Beijing to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where she is listed in fair condition. Hospital officials said she was alert, talking and had good memory function.

McCutcheon's wife also returned home.

The Bachmans were in Beijing as part of a tour group for the Olympics, and their visit to the Drum Tower was part of their group's schedule. A Chinese tour guide also was wounded in the attack by the assailant, Tang Yongming, who leapt to his death from a balcony of the 13th-century tourist site.

The slaying, just hours after the Olympic opening ceremony and on the day competition began, shocked the athletic community and embarrassed Chinese leaders determined to hold flawless games.

McCutcheon has held a constant vigil been with his family at the Beijing hospital where Barbara Bachman underwent eight hours of surgery after the attack.

Assistant Ron Larsen was interim head coach in McCutcheon's absence.

Saturday's match at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium, the smaller of the two volleyball venues, drew a large crowd because of the host team. When McCutcheon was introduced before the game, clusters of American fans greeted him with a standing ovation.

During their games, the men wore "TB" and "BB" written on their shoes in honor of the Bachmans.

After the match-winning point was scored, Riley Salmon went and embraced his coach. Later, McCutheon joined in a team high-five on the court.

In other early matches, Serbia defeated Germany 3-1 (25-21, 27-25, 24-26, 25-23), Russia remained undefeated with a three-set victory over Egypt (25-19, 25-14, 25-18) and Italy defeated Bulgaria 3-0 (25-20, 25-21 25-16). With its loss, China fell to 2-2.

There are 12 men's teams competing in Beijing, divided into two pools. The top four teams in each pool that emerge from round-robin play move into the quarterfinals, which get underway next Wednesday.

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