BEIJING (Aug. 19, 2008) – Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) served the U.S. Olympic Women’s Indoor Volleyball Team to leads of 8-0 and 5-0 in the fourth and fifth sets, respectively, to help the fourth-ranked Americans rally for a 20-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 15-6 victory over second-ranked Italy on Tuesday evening in the Olympic Games quarterfinal match at Beijing’s Capital Gymnasium.
The U.S. advances to the semifinals on Thursday and will play at 12:30 p.m. against third-ranked Cuba, which defeated Serbia 26-24, 25-19, 26-24 earlier in the day. Team USA, looking to reach the Olympic medal stand for the first time since 1992 (bronze in 1992, silver in 1984), is ranked fourth in the world.
“For the last four years, we have not won over Italy,” U.S. Olympic Women’s Indoor Volleyball Coach Lang Ping (Beijing) said. “It is a great team, very consistent with great defensive passing. It is hard to find a weakness. We have been thinking very hard the last two days how to play Italy. We did a great job technically preparing for Italy. This competition is very tight. You either win and keep going, or you lose and your out.”
China won a battle of pool third-place finishers against Russia with a 25-22, 27-25, 25-19 victory in the quarterfinals prior the American-Italian tussle. The host country will face world’s top-ranked Brazil, which swept Japan 25-12, 25-20, 25-16 in the other quarterfinal match.
Italy won the first set 25-20 thanks to a 7-2 run after the score was tied 15-all. Team USA bounced back in the second set as it lost an early 4-0 lead, but rallied from a 17-15 deficit to win 25-21. Italy jumped to an 11-3 lead and pushed the advance to 18-9 before holding off an American 7-2 surge to win 25-19.
“In the fourth set when we were behind, we tried to make a few position changes,” Lang Ping said. “I think it was very successful, and I would like to congratulate my players.”
The U.S. maintained the momentum from late in the third set by scoring the first eight points of the fourth set on Berg’s serve en route to easy 25-18 victory. Berg took the service line to start the tiebreaker and helped the U.S. to a 5-0 lead which resulted in a 15-6 victory.