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U.S. women fall in volleyball final to Brazil

There is no storybook ending for the top-ranked Americans and Coach Hugh McCutcheon.

August 11, 2012|By Bill Dwyre

LONDON -- The storybook tale did not have the expected happy ending for the U.S. women’s volleyball team Saturday night. Ranked No. 1 -- and coached by Hugh McCutcheon, who had guided the U.S. men to the gold in Beijing over Brazil -- the women got outplayed and lost.

Brazil won by a final score of 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17.

It looked as if the U.S. women would run away with the gold-medal match when they dominated the first set and won, 25-11. But that appeared to mostly embarrass Brazil, which came storming back in the second set and won, 25-17.

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McCutcheon did his best to rally the troops at 11-6 of the second set when he called a timeout and said: “We are getting outplayed. That’s one thing. But we shouldn’t be getting outworked.”

The U.S. women fought back to 12-12 on a kill by Logan Tom, but Brazil was off and running again. It was only the third set the U.S. women had lost in the entire tournament — 23 sets.

Then, when Brazil started fast and got its lead to 15-10, it appeared the London Olympic result would be the same as Beijing — Brazil gold and U.S. silver. The Brazilians turned back every charge by the U.S. and won the third set, 25-20. Brazil converted 19 of 37 spike attempts in the set, the U.S. 13 of 29.

Quickly, the score went to 14-9 in the fourth set and everything McCutcheon was trying was failing. Brazil just kept digging every spike off the floor and being in the right spot every point. The Brazilians were dancing in the stands.


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