The United States’ women’s volleyball team has never won a gold medal in Olympic competition, but with the way things are shaping up right now in Tokyo, they could achieve that goal by going finishing off a revenge tour against teams that have kept them from winning the ultimate prize in several recent Olympics.
With one win down and only one to go, the elusive gold medal is in sight – and several local athletes will be crucial to bringing it home.
The team will play in the gold medal match after a semifinal win over Serbia early Friday morning. Team USA beat Serbia in straight sets, winning the first frame 25-19, the second 25-15 and the third 25-23.
Annie Drews, of Elkhart, Indiana, finished with 17 points, with 12 coming from attack, three service points and two blocks. University of Illinois alum Michelle Bartsch-Hackley had nine attack points and two blocks while Jordan Larson also had two blocks with her 11 attack points.
Another U of I alum, Jordyn Poulter, also made her return after being out with an injury. The setter recorded 32 sets, two blocks and five digs. Also on the team roster is Bartlett’s Kelsey Robinson.
“I think we’re just excited to finally put all the pieces together,” Bartsch-Hackley said. “We’ve always been really lucky with our depth in our team and we can play whoever, we can put all these pieces together and we can still win. I think with a little more solid lineup and a little more security in our roles, I think that we’re going to like finally put the pieces together after five years and we’re just excited to play together and to compete.”
The U.S. will face Brazil in the gold medal match at 11:30 p.m. CT Saturday.
The game is a rematch of the gold medal matches from 2008 and 2012, both of which were won by the Brazilians.
HOW TO WATCH: Watch at 11:30 p.m. CT on USA or stream here.