Olympic Volleyball 2012: 5 Reasons US Women Primed to Avenge Beijing Silver
Believe it or not, the US women's volleyball team has never won an Olympic gold medal. Since women's volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1964, the best medal the United States has been able to earn is silver (twice).
The fortunes of US women's volleyball will change in London by Saturday afternoon.
With a potential rematch against Brazil looming in the gold-medal game, here are five reasons why the Americans will turn the tide against the Brazilians this time around.
5. Beijing Silver
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One of the big reasons why Team USA will be able to avenge the silver medal it won in Beijing is because it won the silver medal in the first place.
Let's recap. The US women entered the 2008 gold-medal match coming off an upset victory over Cuba, only to have their gold-medal dreams snatched from the them by the Brazilians. This marked the third consecutive Olympic Games in which Brazil has handed the Americans their final defeat.
You can bet that every member of Team USA will not want to leave with a repeat silver. And for a team that's already ranked No. 1 in the world, that extra motivation should make them nearly unbeatable.
4. Player Experience
Speaking of the players who are supremely motivated to avoid a repeat silver medal, the United States boasts a roster loaded with experienced players who are capable of guiding the team's path to gold.
Danielle Scott-Arruda is the first volleyball player in the history of the United States to play on five Olympic teams.
Logan Tom is competing in her fourth Olympic Games, and the returning top scorer from Beijing is coach Hugh McCutcheon's "glue" that holds the team together.
And lastly, Lindsey Berg and Tayyiba Haneef-Park both are playing in their third consecutive Olympic Games.
3. Coaching Experience
Speaking of experience, Team USA arguably has even more experience on the sideline than it does on the floor.
Head coach Hugh McCutcheon has a 192-70 career record as head man of US national teams, including leading the US men to a gold-medal performance in Beijing.
Since taking over the women's team in 2008, the women have compiled a 85-37 record, while climbing to the No. 1 overall spot in the world rankings—thanks in large part to their second consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix title earlier this year.
2. Destinee Hooker
A trademark of any championship women's volleyball team is having that one big-time hitter. A killer. Someone who you can always rely on to deliver no matter what. If a play breaks down, or you just simply need a point, the best teams have one player they can turn to for that clutch kill.
Say hello to Destinee Hooker.
Hooker, a 6'4" graduate of Texas, is not only the best hitter on the Team USA, she's the best in the world. So far in Olympic play, Hooker has led Team USA in kills every match. Her 148 kills to this point shatter Logan Tom's leading mark of 124 from Beijing.
There will come a time in the gold-medal match where the US will absolutely need a point. The team will turn to Hooker, and she will deliver.
1. Performance So Far
There is no better indication of how Team USA is primed to win gold than its play up to this point.
Before the Olympic Games, the team's strong showings had already earned them the world's No. 1 ranking.
During the London Games, the American women remain undefeated and have already dispatched of their top potential competition (Brazil) in four sets.
And after these Games, the United States will have won their first-ever gold medal in women's team volleyball.