After winning three silver and two bronze medals from the previous nine Olympics, the United States women took home the volleyball gold on Saturday. They did it with an emphatic victory over Brazil.
The USA won in straight sets, 25-21, 25-20, 25-14, in an hour and 22 minutes. It was also a sweet revenge for the Americans, who were beaten by Brazil during the finals in 2008 and 2012.
On Saturday afternoon at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena, Brazil was humbled by a team playing at the top of its game. Brazil did miss the services of one of its key players — Tandara Caixeta — who has returned home following a positive dope test, but even her presence would not perhaps have been enough to stop the spirited, determined women from the USA.
Tokyo Olympics: Serbia beats South Korea for women’s volleyball bronze
The Americans raced to a 6-1 lead in the opening set, with Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Andrea Drews and captain Jordan Larson spiking away winners. Though Brazil managed to bring the gap down to 8-7 and then 14-15, the USA went 23-19 up and wrapped up the set after giving away just two more points.
In the second set, Brazil attempted a fightback from 12-20 to make it 16-20, but a superb smash from Larson ended it. In the third, the Americans went for the kill and Brazil succumbed.
It was really a fine all-round show by the United States. Drews, who has proved an excellent replacement for the injured Jordan Thompson, top-scored with 15 points, while Bartsch-Hackley scored 14 and Larson 12.
There were fine efforts from Haleigh Washington and Foluke Akinradewo and the hard-working setter Jordyn Poulter. For Brazil, Fernanda Rodrigues (11), Gabriela Braga Guimaraes (10) and Rosamaria Montibeller (eight) were the main scorers.
Earlier, Serbia took the bronze after beating South Korea 25-18, 25-15, 25-15.
Final: United States beat Brazil 25-21, 25-20, 25-14.
Bronze-medal match: Serbia beat South Korea 25-18, 25-15, 25-15.