Olympic Women's Volleyball 2012: U.S. Reaches Final, Overdue for Gold Medal

Darin PikeContributor IAugust 9, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Logan Tom #15, Destinee Hooker #19, Christa Harmotto #13, Jordan Larson #10 and Foluke Akinradewo #16 of United States celebrate after a point against Korea during the Women's Volleyball semifinal match on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at Earls Court on August 9, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The United States women lost to Brazil in the gold medal match at the 2008 Olympics. Following a straight-set win over South Korea in the 2012 semifinals, they are poised to improve on Beijing's silver-medal performance.

The U.S. did have a bit of a scare in the second set in their semifinal match. They trailed South Korea 20-17 but one of the U.S. stars, Destinee Hooker, scored the next four points, helping them tie the set at 21.

The U.S. Olympic Team shared the results on Twitter.

#TeamUSA defeated South Korea, winning three straight sets, in women's volleyball.Moving on to Saturday's GOLD medal game! #GoTeamUSA

— US Olympic Team (@USOlympic) August 9, 2012

The U.S. women have never won a gold medal in volleyball. Their first medal was also silver, achieved in 1984. They also secured the bronze medal in 1992 with a 3-0 victory over Brazil.

The U.S. struggled through group play in Beijing. They finished with a 4-1 record, but the only game decided in straight sets was their loss to Cuba.

They needed five sets to get by China and Poland, the latter of which didn't even make the medal round. They started the knockout round with a five-set win over Italy before easily dispatching tournament-favorite Cuba 3-0 (25-20, 25-16 and 25-17) in the semifinals.

As impressive as that win was, their momentum didn't last long. They won the second set against Brazil, but that was the only set Brazil would lose in the entire tournament.

Play has been different for the U.S. in London, though, as they've been the dominant team. They've only lost two sets thus far—one to Brazil and one to South Korea in pool play.

Brazil could very well be the team the U.S. women will have to beat to claim their first-ever gold medal.

Brazil finished pool play with a 3-2 record, securing the fourth seed out of Pool B. They beat Russia, who was 5-0 in Group A, to open play in the knockout round. They play Japan, the third seed from Pool A, later today to determine who will face the U.S. for gold.

The United States has already demonstrated its ability to beat Brazil. They also match up well against Japan should they advance.

Aside from getting the win, the best news to come from this match was the return of Lindsey Berg. The team captain hurt her ankle in the final game of pool play and was kept out of the team's quarterfinal win over the Dominican Republic.

Berg will be a big part of the U.S. attack in the gold-medal game...a mark that is overdue for the Americans.