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US Olympic Women's Indoor Volleyball Team: Updated News, Roster & Analysis

Emily BayciContributor IIIJuly 23, 2012

US Olympic Women's Indoor Volleyball Team: Updated News, Roster & Analysis

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    Hugh McCutcheon knows what it’s like to coach a volleyball team to an Olympic gold medal. Only on the men’s side, though. 

    After leading Team USA's men to the gold in 2008, McCutcheon has transferred to the women’s team in hopes of guiding the Americans to their first gold medal.

    The women lost out to favorite Brazil in 2008 and took silver.

    Team USA has a solid chance this time around and is ranked No. 1 in the world heading into London. The U.S. team squad is loaded with experience and veteran leadership.

    Let’s take a look at the latest in indoor volleyball and if Team USA has what it takes for its first gold medal.

Final Roster

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    Middle Blockers

    Danielle Scott-Aruda (Baton Rouge, La.)

    Christa Harmotto (Hopewell, Pa.)

    Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.)

    Opposites

    Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.)

    Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas)

    Setter

    Lindsey Berg (Honolulu, Hawaii)

    Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.)

    Libero

    Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii)

    Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.)

    Outside Hitters

    Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.)

    Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.)

    Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Fast Facts

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    Head coach: Hugh McCutcheon

    Training location: Anaheim, California

    Recent performances: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team won its third-straight FIVB World Grand Prix title with an undefeated 14-0 record at the tournament and was named the USOC’s team of the month in June.

    How they qualified: The women took second place at the 2011 FIVB World Cup and automatically earned an Olympic slot.

    Number of points per set at the Olympic level: 25 points each for the first four sets, 15 points for the fifth set.

    Number of Olympic medals won: Three (two silver, one bronze)

    Players who are on the current team who were in Beijing: Nicole Davis, Lindsey Berg, Logan Tom, Danielle Scott-Arruda, and Tayyiba Haneef-Park.

    First game and opponent in London: Team USA will play South Korea on July 28.

Key Players

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    Team USA’s returning members are all extremely talented and will bring the experience needed to propel Team USA to gold.

    Logan Tom (outside hitter)

    Tom, who can arguably be called the best all-around performer on the team, will be making her fourth Olympic appearance. She is expected to lead the offense and control the team.

    Danielle Scott-Arruda (middle blocker)

    Scott-Arruda is the first U.S. volleyball player, male or female, to make five Olympic teams. 

    "Just being on this team and with this group, I feel very honored," Scott-Arruda said to the Associated Press. "Five-time Olympian? Yes, it's an achievement. But what we hope to do this summer is what I'm focusing on."

    Lindsey Berg (setter)

    Berg will be the starting setter in London during her third Olympic appearance. Her chemistry with the team and hitters will be key. 

    Nicole Davis, libero

    Davis was clutch as libero during the 2008 Games and will need to do even better this time around. Davis suffered a strained calf during the championship round of the World Grand Prix championship and expects to be at full strength for the Olympics.

Main Challengers

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    Team USA is the top challenger for gold if everyone stays healthy.

    The teams will play in two pools. Team USA is in pool B with Brazil, China, South Korea, Serbia and Turkey. Pool A consists of Great Britain, Dominican Republic, Japan, Italy, Russia, and Algeria. 

    Brazil, who beat out the U.S. team in 2008, has been struggling with injuries, so it is questionable to say how well they will perform.

    Italy, currently ranked fourth in the world, has a strong roster and is a contender for gold. 

    Russia and Serbia are other teams with talented lineups who could come through.

Prediction

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    This is Team USA’s year to win its first gold medal in indoor volleyball.

    The women have everything in place: a championship coach, a veteran lineup with young fire, depth and talent. Now they just need to deliver under the pressure of international spotlight.

    "I think our strength is that we have so much talent at each position. Besides the skills, I think everyone is focusing on being the best team we can be," Danielle Scott-Arruda said to the Associated Press. "That's what you need to be successful in volleyball. You can't do it by yourself."

    Team USA is going to be the team to beat and the perfect combination of players and coaching staff means they have what they take to win their first Olympic gold.

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