If you followed the USA men’s volleyball team at all back in the 2008 Olympics, you’re well aware that their story is one of tragedy and triumph. The unspeakable tragedy came when then-head coach Hugh McCutcheon’s father-in-law was inexplicably murdered in Beijing during the Olympics.
Then, the euphoric triumph came when Team USA—bolstered by MVP Clay Stanley—went on an improbable run and captured the gold medal. Now, if new head coach Alan Knipe (McCutcheon is now coaching the American women’s team) and his 2012 version of the men’s squad is looking for a golden encore in London, they’ll have to rely on a particular group of hitters.
The importance of the spike can never be overlooked in volleyball, which makes the hitter an invaluable part of the sport.
That means that these five hitters—in terms of importance to the team—are going to have a major say as to whether or not Team USA wins a medal in London.