Beijing, China, August 20, 2008 - The USA came from behind to beat Italy in five sets (20-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 15-6) in a Women's Volleyball quarterfinal at Capital Gymnasium.
With Italy holding a two-sets-to-one lead, the USA scored the first eight points of the fourth set to wrest momentum from the Italians. The Americans then finished the match strongly, dominating the fifth-set tie-breaker and allowing Italy just six points to record a famous win.
In a close first set, scores were tied at 15-15 before Italy's Taismary Aguero blocked a back-slide hit by Heather Bown and the Italians took the ascendancy. Francesca Piccinini scored the last two points in the first set for Italy to take it 25-20.
The USA shot out to a 5-1 lead in the second set before several ball-handling and attacking errors allowed the Italians to close the gap.
USA regained the lead after bringing in Kim Willoughby to hit on the wings, and the opposite-side attacks of Nadia Centoni were successfully dug by the USA defenders.
America's Tayyiba Haneef-Park hit relentlessly on the right side, and Logan Tom levelled the match at one set apiece.
In the third set, Piccinini played a drop shot to increase Italy's lead to 10-3, with the Americans looking helpless as Italy bombarded them with bullet-like spikes. While the USA made a run, led by Danielle Scott-Arruda and Willoughby, Italy guarded their lead well and finished the third set on another Piccinini drop shot.
Berg was the catalyst for the USA's comeback in the fourth set, sparking the Americans to an 8-0 lead. While Italy made a comeback, the USA forced the match to a tie-break with a 25-18 set win, and then dominated the extra period to book a place in the semi-finals against Cuba on Thursday, August 21.
Tom was the standout for the USA with 14 kills, three blocks and two aces. But Berg really decided the match on serve.