The U.S. women's indoor volleyball team entered the London Games as the top seed and gold-medal favorite.
Team USA has never won a women’s indoor volleyball gold medal, and 2012 could be their first shot. They charged through the preliminaries and semifinal rounds and will play Brazil once again in the championship match.
The women narrowly missed out on the coveted medal in Beijing when they fell to Brazil, who they beat this year in the preliminary round. The U.S. roster is jam-packed with talent—a mixture of young blood and seasoned veterans who are aching for another opportunity to win gold.
Coach Hugh McCutcheon has tasted gold before, as he led the U.S. men’s team to gold in 2008 before transferring to the women’s side.
Lindsey Berg is the 32-year-old captain who competed for Team USA in Athens and Beijing. She expressed need for the gold medal in the Teamusa.org season preview:
We have had a great run the last two years. We are ready to finally, hopefully, reach our potential and play our highest level of volleyball here in London.
Danielle Scott-Arruda is setting records as she plays in her record-setting fifth Olympic games. No other American volleyball player has competed in more than four. Scott-Arruda is a middle blocker who is seemingly on the team to provide leadership and knowledge from experience.
Logan Tom, outside hitter, is a seasoned veteran who has been constantly searching for the gold medal. Tom has appeared in four Olympic Games (she was the youngest player selected to the Sydney team) and was the star of Beijing.
Coach Hugh McCutcheon affectionately calls Logan Tom the "glue" of the U.S. women's volleyball team. One of the team's Beijing standouts, now she's a mentor to the team's younger stars.
It's a steady presence he needs.
She holds this team together[...]
Tom was a two-time national volleyball Player of the Year at Stanford, and in 2001 led the Cardinal to the NCAA championship.
Surely Tom knows that the rookies are in the spotlight now and that they bring fresh talent; it's time to let athletes like Destinee Hooker and Jordan Larson take charge. According to the Associated Press (h/t NBC Olympics):
[...]Tom isn't completely settled into her new role bringing along the team's rookies. She's still aiming for a gold — and she's willing to work for it.
[Tom says,] If it was destiny we'd be sitting here and waiting for it to happen[...]I think we're going out and grabbing it.
It’s the veteran members who provide Team USA with the necessary drive for a gold-medal finish.