The Oracles of Volleyball: QFs are the most important match in the Olympics

Aug. 15, 2016, 5:59 p.m. (ET)

The Oracles of Volleyball

The Oracles of Volleyball ... a veritable who’s who of volleyball greats, including Misty May-Treanor, Lloy Ball, Holly McPeak, Nicole Davis, Kent Steffes, Kim Oden, Scott Fortune, Tayyiba Haneef-Park, Bob Ctvrtlik, Dain Blanton, Ryan Millar, Eric Fonoimoana, Todd Rogers, and Danielle Scott-Arruda … commenting on the Rio Olympic Games with their legendary insight.

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What does it take to get through these knockout rounds?

KENT STEFFES
U.S. Olympian, beach (1996)
Olympic gold medalist, 1996
I'm in Alaska right now watching with, of all people my first pro beach volleyball partner Deek Smith and CBVA Legend Dale Hoffman.

Come with a lot of positive energy. I would try to start a match with a huge spike or an awesome serve. Didn't matter the result just wanted to get into the mood. Jim Menges taught me that. Also, don't make dumb errors. Still amazed how many beach players have bad footwork, are out of position on defense and not behind the ball on hits. Leftover habits from indoors and poor coaching. One example of a dumb error was during the indoor match between U.S. and China. How does China miss a dink from the pipe in critical situation? Weak.

Go USA.

LLOY BALL
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008
Quarterfinals are the most important match in the Olympics. Win and you have a chance to medal. Lose and you get zero. Playing with energy and urgency are the two big factors in this match. Both teams will have nerves, but the team the sticks to the game plan and out works the other usually wins and moves on.  That was how it worked for us in '08. We just kept grinding against Serbia. We were down 2-1 and found ways to score real points. In the 5th, our emotion and motivation was just bigger than Serbia's. Love seeing Matt Anderson, Max Holt and Micah Christenson step up the last two matches. With the passers getting into a rhythm I love the way the men's team is playing.

DANIELLE SCOTT-ARRUDA 
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012)
U.S. Olympic silver medalist, 2008 & 2012
Yes, the quarterfinals are definitely key towards putting oneself in the position to play for a medal. In 2008, I remember being down against Italy (which our Ladies took care of business against Italy during pool play 2016). Lindsay Berg subbed in and served seven consecutive jump top spin serves and helped rally us back to victory. So I would say really it's playing in the moment rather ahead or behind on the score board, playing together and finding a way to keep or build momentum. All it takes is one play to start it from which to build upon.