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Upstart Yugoslavia Leaves Brazil Stunned

August 01, 1996|Times Wire Services

Yugoslavia claimed its biggest volleyball victory, winning a fifth-set tiebreaker to upset defending Olympic champion Brazil in the men's quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, the U.S. women will finish no better than seventh after South Korea handed them their second loss in 17 hours, 15-12, 15-5, 15-11, in the loser's bracket.

Yugoslavia, which has no players with previous Olympic experience, advanced to the medals round with a 15-6, 15-5, 8-15, 14-16, 15-10 victory. The Yugoslavs have played their last three matches without captain Dejan Brdovic, who returned home last week after the death of his 14-month-old son.

"If we go back without a medal it would be a defeat," said Vladimir Batez, who led Yugoslavia with 35 kills. "We believe we are capable of winning a medal. What the color is doesn't matter."

The Yugoslavs were allowed back in the Olympics this year after U.N. sanctions kept them out of the 1992 Games.

Their semifinal opponent will be Italy, which moved within two victories of the only major volleyball championship it hasn't won this decade by beating Argentina, 12-15, 15-9, 15-7, 15-4.

The Netherlands, the world's second-ranked team and 1992 silver medalist, beat Bulgaria, 16-14, 9-15, 15-3, 15-13, to advance. The Dutch will face Russia, a 15-13, 17-15, 15-11 upset winner over Pool A winner Cuba.

Meanwhile, the U.S. women will play Germany for seventh place today.

"This Olympics was for a purpose, and that was to win a gold medal," said captain Tara Cross-Battle, one of eight veterans from the team that won the bronze in 1992. "That's probably why it hit us so hard [Tuesday night] when the match ended, that we didn't have an opportunity to win not just a gold medal, but any medal."

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