Now that the preliminary round is over and we are heading into the knockout stage of the tournament, the Team USA Women's Volleyball team will take on South Korea in the semifinals. The winner of this game will go on to face the winner of Brazil versus Japan in the gold medal game, while the losers face off against each other for the bronze.
Team USA should not be worried about their matchup with South Korea. They have been the heavy favorite to win gold since the start of the Olympics and have certainly lived up to expectations thus far. After defeating the Dominican Republic in the quarterfinals, the Americans boosted their total record to 6-0. Their record in sets is even more impressive, with 18 sets won and only two lost.
South Korea, on the other hand, has not been nearly as successful. They can’t be confident that they have any chance against the Americans after they barely backed into the knockout round with a 2-3 record. Their record in sets was also barely over .500, winning 11 sets and losing 10. Their only bright spot was an impressive 3-1 victory over Italy—who finished group play with a 4-1 record—in the quarterfinals.
Since both the USA and South Korea were in Group B, they already faced-off once in London. During this matchup, the USA got off to a hot start and won both of the first two sets by six and eight points, respectively. They got complacent and lost the third set by five points, but came back strong after winning the fourth set and earning the victory.
The USA has dominated South Korea in all of the team statistics throughout the tournament. They were the best out of any team in spiking efficiency with 310 successful spikes and only 73 faults. They also were by far the best blockers in the tournament with 66 blocks and 168 rebounds in only 346 attempts. With Team USA as the best spiking and blocking team in the tournament, it will be very difficult for South Korea to defeat them.
Even in the statistics that Team USA weren’t the best in the tournament at, they still were much better than South Korea were. In digs, Team USA finished in sixth with an average of 13.85. South Korea finished behind them with an average of only 12.68. The Americans also were significantly better at setting throughout the tournament. Team USA was second in this category with a 14.15 average, while South Korea finished eighth with an average of only 13.12.
Team USA knows they have a mental and physical advantage over South Korea heading into this semifinal matchup. Not only have they already defeated them in their head-to-head matchup, but the Americans have also been much more dominant in their games against the rest of the competition as well.
This match should turn out to be an easy victory for Team USA on their way to a second straight Olympic gold medal.