The Oracles of Volleyball: Quarterfinal impressions

Aug. 17, 2016, 12:33 p.m. (ET)


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.

Oracles 1 | Oracles 2 | Oracles 3 | Oracles 4 | Oracles 5 | Oracles 6

Thoughts on the quarterfinals and looking ahead to the next rounds?

Lloy Ball
U.S. Olympia, indoor (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008
Crazy two days in volleyball!! Easy win for women's indoor against Japan. They will play a strong Serbia team in the semis. And now that Brazil is OUT, the women's chances of winning gold just went up!!! That China/Brazil match was awesome. Coach Ping should be complimented.  

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross lost to a good Brazilian team last night. It wasn't our best match with some errors we normally don't make but the girls played hard. And I LOVE Walsh's professionalism and character. A gracious loser and already refocused for the bronze match. She is one of the best Olympians of ALL TIME. And someone young people SHOULD look up to!!!

Our boys indoor having been playing great. And their reward? Probably the best team in the other pool. This is the big one!!! Win this one and we will have a chance to medal. They need to pass well, block balls and stop the one man show of Poland's Kurek. It reminds me of our semi-final match in Beijing. Russia's opposite Max Makhlov had 100,000 kills but David Lee got him once, on match point and we won. The USA boys will need to stop everyone else on Poland and get Kurek at least once when it counts. Go USA!!!


Nicole Davis
U.S. Olympian, indoor (2008, 2012)
Olympic silver medalist, 2008, 2012
I think it's the best match the girls have played. They are continuing to get better and improve. I really love the choices Alisha Glass is making. There were some great moments, for example Karsta Lowe staying in to serve (which she has not done much this tournament) at the end of the match, that really showed the mental strength and resiliency of this group to be uncomfortable and get things done. Serbia is a very talented, physical and experienced team. They are dangerous. They will ride the tides of emotion, so historically, if we can put some pressure on them early, get them on a low, they are very manageable. I expect it to be a great match!


Eric Fonoimoana
U.S. Olympian, beach (2000)
Olympic gold medalist, 2000
Kerri/April vs. Brazil – It's a sad day for Beach Volleyball fans having the lone team ousted out of the gold medal round. It's time to regroup and focus on their next opponent for the bronze medal match. It's not exactly what they were looking for but it's still fantastic to be on the podium.

USA vs. Japan – The women played great especially when they needed big plays at the end of each game. They need to keep on doing the same type of play throughout the rest of the Olympics. Keep serving tough and make big plays at the end of each game!

USA vs. POL– Good Luck men!


Ryan Millar
U.S. Olympian, indoor (2000, 2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008
I am really looking forward to the Men's indoor quarterfinal match against Poland. The US has kicked their play into another gear and are looking strong, while Poland hasn't had the success they have wanted in past Olympics' and are hungry. I could see this match going 5 sets, with the U.S. pulling it out in the 5th. 

Disappointing lose for Kerri and April against an inspired Brazilian team. What a fun atmosphere to play in front of. I can recall many fond memories of playing in Brazil, against Brazil, in front of 20,000 plus fans. I love seeing volleyball being a highlight of these games.

Bring it home USA! 


Gabe Gardner
U.S. Olympian, indoor (2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008
I'm so proud of how the women played versus Japan. They were truly playing like veterans, even if most of the team is on the younger side of their careers. Japan is a very tricky opponent because they dig so well and it always seems like nothing phases them during a match. They always play positive and can really frustrate a team. Regardless, the women just kept grinding, even in the end of the second set when Japan was coming back. It’s a ton of fun watching the women right now heading towards a probable medal.

Kerri and April are studs, both on and off the court. On the court, they lost a real battle. I could see how well they handled defeat, which in the Olympics is about as tough as anywhere. As a young player watching these women, you learn quickly that the sports life always is ripe for dealing you a tough loss. I am proud to say that both Kerri and April are HUGE contributors to USA Volleyball behind the scenes, both having served on the Board of Directors with me. The strides they have both made in the boardroom for USA Volleyball, and especially beach volleyball, will leave a legacy in addition to their Olympic medals.

Men are on officially right there determined to be medalists... and must continue to drive their confidence and determination today. Poland, like many teams in this tournament, are as dangerous and good as anyone on any day. The men must make today theirs by playing this victory out mentally so they expect to win no matter what happens. Because tough moments happen in these games, and it's easy to let a match dictate your confidence in winning. For the men it's not about stopping the other player on the opposing team, it’s about playing better than the other players on the opposing team across the board. Particularly as a TEAM, starters and bench players. I bet one bench player will have a huge play this match which makes an impact. My money is on Reid Priddy. I've seen swagger at times from this young team and now it’s for all the marbles. Go USA.