Rio #23 – Last hope for USA Gold at Volleyball in Rio is GONE!
Greetings from a Warm and Sticky Rio,
The incredible turnaround of U.S. men’s volleyball team and its quest for Gold vanished late in its semifinal against Italy yesterday, losing the match in a heart breaking 5 sets. The U.S. had been trying to avenge an earlier loss to Italy in pool play as well as a devastating defeat four years ago at the London Olympics.
Italy saved five set points in the opening set and had one in the second set but missed the chance to take a two-set lead. The Italian squad recovered its swagger and confidence after getting crushed in the third set (USA won 25-9) to fall behind two sets to one. But the power and extraordinary clutch play of Ivan Zaytsev almost single handedly defeated the US Team. Trailing 22-19, Zaytsev hammered out 6 straight points from the service line in the 4th set to tie the match at 2 sets apiece and continued his domination in the 5th set carrying his Italian squad to the Gold Medal Match.
Ivan Zaytsev almost single handedly defeated the US Team in the 4th and 5th Sets yesterday.
In our 7-hour break between matches we had a few major team bonding moments, including the traditional (and not-so-traditional) team photo shoot.
After that, 5 of us took a long stroll through the neighborhoods of Maracana and, in true “Griswald” Fashion shot photos of the spectacular street art that transform the neighborhoods into unique exhibits for the local artists.
The Graffiti in Rio is another Gorgeous part of this Magical city.
And finally, 20 of us hit a local Churascuria for an authentic Brazilan barbeque, which was OUTSTANDING, and the perfect opportunity to Celebrate the hard work our incredible team has put in this past month.
In our second Semi Final of the night, the Brazil men’s volleyball team exacted it’s Revenge over a Russian Team who beat them in the Gold Medal Match in London. In that match, 4 years ago, the Russian Team came from behind 2 sets down and 3 match points against them to snatch the gold medal away from Brazil. It was Brazil’s second straight after losing to the U.S. at the Beijing Games in 2008.
Today, the US Women take the court one more time in Rio for the Bronze Medal match against the Netherlands, a team they beat in Pool play in 5 sets. That match starts at 1 pm/et on NBC.
Our night match is for Gold as the hard hitting team from Serbia plays China at 9:30 pm/et on the USA Network.
After today we will have produced 37 Volleyball Matches from the Maracanazinho and though fatigue has become part of our bodies, my team here is still at the top of its game and if medals were handed it, we would all be receiving Gold Medals.
Enjoy the Medal Matches and thanks for Following along throughout the games.
Love to all,