U.S. Women Block Korea in Olympic Opener

By Bill Kauffman | July 28, 2012, 6:38 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
USA Volleyball Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org

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LONDON (July 28, 2012) – The U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team started its 2012 Olympic Games campaign by defeating Korea 25-19, 25-17, 20-25, 25-21 with a 15-1 block advantage on Saturday evening at Earls Court in London.

The U.S., ranked No. 1 in the world, continues Pool B competition on July 30 versus No. 2 Brazil at 4:45 p.m. local time (8:45 a.m. PT). Brazil opens the Olympic Games later tonight against Turkey in the final match of the day.

The U.S. came back from a 9-8 first set deficit with a 7-0 scoring run to establish a 15-9 advantage and went on to win 25-19 with a 5-1 block margin. Team USA steadily pulled away to a 14-9 lead in the second set and closed out the stanza on a 7-3 run and 25-17 victory. Korea rallied from a 10-6 deficit with an 8-1 scoring run to establish a 14-11 lead and went on to win 25-20 by taking seven of the final 10 points. Team USA pulled away from a slim 15-14 advantage in the fourth set with a 7-1 scoring run to take a 22-15, but needed to hold off Korea down the stretch for a 25-21 victory.

“We are obviously excited to open our pool with a win,” U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “It was a very tough game and Korea made us work a lot. We did some things pretty well, but I have also seen room for improvement. Overall it was a good performance and I am evidently happy with the result because we have started with a win. The players responded well especially after dropping the third set and they turned it around in a very good way to finish it off in the fourth set.”

First-time Olympians Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) and Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) carried much of the offense weight for Team USA in their first Olympic match. Hooker provided a team-high 21 points with 19 kills on 42 attacks and two blocks. Larson chipped in 16 points via 14 kills on 33 attacks, one block and one ace. Akinradewo contributed nine kills on 17 attempts to go with a match-high six blocks for 15 points.

Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.), another first-time Olympian in her first Olympic Games match, tacked on six kills on eight swings, three blocks and an ace for 10 points. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah), competing in her fourth Olympic Games, totaled nine points on eight kills and a block. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) charted three points including two kills off the bench. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) rounded out the scoring with a kill. Both Haneef-Park and Berg are playing in their third Olympics.

“I was definitely nervous,” Larson said of her first Olympic Games contest. “But it was fun to go out there and compete in front of a large crowd was great. Playing at the Qwest Center in Omaha certainly helped. We have been here training all last week and it was good to finally put someone else on the other side of the net to play.”

Berg provided 40 running sets on 95 assist attempts in pacing the U.S. offense to a 41.1 kill percent and .312 hitting efficiency (58-14-141). Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), back for her second Olympics, tallied 16 digs and 15 excellent receptions on 22 errorless attempts. Larson tallied 21 excellent receptions on 25 attempts and nine digs on the back-row, while Hooker added nine digs. Tom was credited with 20 excellent receptions on 24 errorless attempts to go with eight digs.

McCutcheon started Tom and Larson at outside hitter, Akinradewo and Harmotto at middle blocker, Hooker at opposite and Berg at setter. Davis is the designated libero for the tournament. Haneef-Park, Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) and Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) were subs in all four sets.

“We have beaten a tough and fast team and I am really happy for that, especially for those players who were celebrating their debut at the Olympics,” said Berg, the U.S. captain. “I think that Jordan (Larson) and Destinee (Hooker) played superbly, but you know, they are so composed when they step out on the court that I even do not realize that this is their first time in the Olympic Games. They just look and appear like real vets. We have a day off to rest and regroup and get ready for the next match.”

In addition to hold a commanding 15-1 margin in blocks, the U.S. edged Korea in aces 2-1. Korea was held to a 35.3 kill percent and .186 hitting efficiency as it committed 28 faults on attacks (15 blocks, 13 errors). Korea managed a 61-50 margin in digs and its excellent reception efficiency was slightly higher at 77.4 to 76.7 over the U.S.

Korea was paced in scoring by standout Yeon-Koung Kim’s 29 points that included 27 kills on a match-high 63 swings. Song-Yi Han and Youn-Joo Hwang each added 12 points in the loss.

“We have seen that their best player, Kim Yeon-Koung, has the ability to take over the match and anyway Korea is a team that makes it hard for you to score,” Berg said.

“We fought hard and I am not too disappointed,” Korea coach Kim Hyung-Sil said. “Our best player, Kim, was playing her first match after nursing an injury and missing the FIVB World Grand Prix. She did perform quite well, but you cannot pretend that much after the injury she had sustained. I fully trust my team and expect we can win our next game with Serbia.”

In the other Pool B match played today, China rallied past Serbia 16-25, 25-18, 25-13, 25-12. Earlier today in Pool A, Japan swept Algeria 25-15, 25-14, 25-7, Russia blanked Great Britain 25-19, 25-10, 25-16 and Italy handled Dominican Republic 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-15.

The preliminary round consists of a six-team round robin played every other day. The top four teams in each of the two pools advance to the Aug. 7 quarterfinals with the pool winner facing the crossover fourth-place team. The second- and third-place teams drawn into quarterfinal lots against the opposite pool. The semifinal round takes place on Aug. 9, followed by the medal round on Aug. 11.

The U.S. opened the first set with a tip by Hooker and Korea attack error. Hooker stuffed a Korea attack and followed with a kill to push the Americans in front 4-1, but Korea erased the deficit with three straight points at 4-all. Team USA regained a two-point cushion with a Korea service error and Harmotto block. Korea took its first lead at 9-8 with three unanswered points. Team USA reversed the leading quickly at 10-9 on consecutive Korea errors and extended the gap to 11-9 with a Tom kill. Akinradewo put up a block at 12-9 for a fourth straight point on Harmotto’s service run. Out of a Korea timeout, Harmotto served an ace, Korea hit long and Tom put up a block to increase the margin to six at 15-9. Korea stopped the 7-0 run with two successive points before the U.S. went into the second technical timeout leading 16-11 on a Hooker kill, who then added two additional kills out of the break for an 18-11 advantage. Korea bounced back two straight points at 18-13, then moved to within four at 22-18 on consecutive points going into a Team USA timeout. Tom answered with a kill and block to reach set points at 24-18. Tom ended the set with a kill at 25-19. Hooker ended the set with six points, while Tom added five points. Team USA out-blocked Korea 5-1 in the opening set.

After Korea scored the first point of the second set, Hooker pocked consecutive kills and Akinradewo added a block at 3-1. Harmotto and Hooker collected back-to-back kills prompting Korea to call timeout down 6-3. Team USA stretched the lead to 10-6 with a Hooker kill and a non-tradition kill by Berg with a dig that landed on the opposite side for a kill. Larson back-to-back kills to raise the American advantage to 14-9 going into a Korea timeout. The teams traded the next seven points until Korea managed to score on its own serve at 17-14 going into a USA timeout. Larson followed a Korea error out of the break with a kill to push the American lead back to five at 19-14. Akinradewo and Larson downed consecutive kills to end long rallies and extend the lead to 21-15. Larson spiked the U.S. to a 23-16 lead after a Korea service error. Team USA ended the set with a Haneef-Park kill and block at 25-17. Hooker and Larson each tallied six points in the second set all on kills.

Larson pocketed consecutive kills and Harmotto put up a block to give the U.S. a 5-2 lead early in the third set. Out of a Korea timeout, Hooker put up a another block to push the gap to 6-2. Korea chipped off two points at 8-6 out of the first technical timeout. However, Hooker answered with a back-row spike and Akinradewo put up a block at 10-6. Korea responded with three unanswered points to slice the gap to one at 10-9. Out of a USA timeout, Korea tied the set at 10-all on an attack error. Korea gained the lead at 12-11 on another American attack error and pushed further in front 14-11 on the 8-1 scoring run. Team USA responded out of a timeout with a power spike by Hooker and consecutive overpass kills by Akinradewo and Hooker to tie the set at 14-all. Korea went into the second technical timeout on back-to-back kills and 16-14 advantage. Korea increased its lead to 20-17 on a cross-court winner and pushed further in front at 22-1 on an attack error. Korea reached set points at 24-19 on another Team USA error and continued the match with a 25-20 victory. Hooker and Akinradewo each tallied five points in the third set for the Americans.

The fourth set lead traded three times before back-to-back kills from Larson and Hooker put the Americans in front 6-4 at an early Korea timeout. Out of the break, Korea hit long and Tom downed a kill for a fourth straight point on Larson’s service run yielding an 8-4 U.S. lead at the first technical timeout. Korea scored the first two points out of the break to cut the gap in half at 8-6. Larson ended the run with a kill and Korea followed with an attack error prompting Korea to call its second timeout down 10-6. Again Korea answered with two points out of a break to close to 10-8. Hooker and Tom followed with kills of their own to regain a four-point cushion at 12-8. For the fifth time, a two-point switch occurred with Korea moving back to within two at 12-10. Korea won a long rally with impressive digs on each side to narrow the U.S. lead to 13-12. Team USA regained a five-point edge with a Larson kill, Korea error and blocks by Haneef-Park and Harmotto at 19-14.Larson served an ace to cap a five-point run at 20-14. Team USA reached a seven-point advantage at 22-15 with a Harmotto kill and Haneef-Park block. Korea rattled off three straight points to close to 23-19. However, Akinradewo stopped the bleeding with a kill and Larson ended the match with a block at 25-20 after Korea saved one set point. Akinradewo and Larson tallied five points apiece in the fourth set.

2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2 - Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 - Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Opp, 6-7, Laguna Hills, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 - Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawaii, Minnesota)
5 - Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, Washington)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
10 - Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
11 - Megan Hodge (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State)
13 - Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Hopewell, Pa., Penn State)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
16 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
17 - Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., Washington)
19 - Destinee Hooker (Opp, 6-4, San Antonio, Texas, Texas)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Paula Weishoff (Irvine, Calif.)
Assistant Coach/Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Giuseppe Vinci (Casteggio, Italy)
Team Manager: Ken Sullivan (Laguna Beach, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Marv Dunphy (Malibu, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer/Medical Support: Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.)
Doctor: Dr. William Stetson

2012 Olympic Games Women’s Volleyball Schedule

Pool A Standings: Japan (3 points, 1-0), Italy (3 points, 1-0), Russia (3 points, 1-0), Dominican Republic (0 points, 0-1), Algeria (0 points, 0-1), Great Britain (0 points, 0-1)

Pool B Standings: USA (3 points, 1-0), China (3 points, 1-0), Brazil (0 points, 0-0), Turkey (0 points, 0-0), Korea (0 points, 0-1), Serbia (0 points, 0-1)

July 28: Japan def. Algeria 25-15, 25-14, 25-7
July 28: China def. Serbia 16-25, 25-18, 25-13, 25-12
July 28: Russia def. Great Britain 25-19, 25-10, 25-16
July 28: Italy def. Dominican Republic 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-15
July 28: USA def. Korea 25-19, 25-17, 20-25, 25-21
July 28: Brazil vs. Turkey, 10 p.m.

July 30: China vs. Turkey, 9:30 a.m.
July 30: Serbia vs. Korea, 11:30 a.m.
July 30: Dominican Republic vs. Russia, 2:45 p.m.
July 30: USA vs. Brazil, 4:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m. PT)
July 30: Italy vs. Japan, 8 p.m.
July 30: Great Britain vs. Algeria, 10 p.m.

Aug. 1: Dominican Republic vs. Japan, 9:30 a.m.
Aug. 1: Algeria vs. Russia, 11:30 a.m.
Aug. 1: Serbia vs. Turkey, 2:45 p.m.
Aug. 1: Great Britain vs. Italy, 4:45 p.m.
Aug. 1: USA vs. China, 8 p.m. (noon PT)
Aug. 1: Brazil vs. Korea, 10 p.m.

Aug. 3: Brazil vs. China, 9:30 a.m.
Aug. 3: Japan vs. Russia, 11:30 a.m.
Aug. 3: Turkey vs. Korea, 2:45 p.m.
Aug. 3: Great Britain vs. Dominican Republic, 4:45 p.m.
Aug. 3: USA vs. Serbia, 8 p.m. (noon PT)
Aug. 3: Algeria vs. Italy, 10 p.m.

Aug. 5: Algeria vs. Dominican Republic, 9:30 a.m.
Aug. 5: China vs. Korea, 11:30 a.m.
Aug. 5: Great Britain vs. Japan, 2:45 p.m.
Aug. 5: Italy vs. Russia, 4:45 p.m.
Aug. 5: USA vs. Turkey, 8 p.m. (noon PT)
Aug. 5: Brazil vs. Serbia, 10 p.m.

Aug. 7: Quarterfinal Matches at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Aug. 9: Semifinal Matches at 3 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 11: Women’s Bronze Medal Match, 11:30 a.m.
Aug. 11: Women’s Gold Medal Match, 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: Women’s Gold Medal Ceremony, 8:20 p.m.