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Press Info - Match Description
 
USA sail into first final in 24 years after shock win over Cuba
 

USA captain Robyn Ah Mow-Santos celebrates against Cuba
Beijing, China, August 21, 2008 - The United States re-entered the Olympic women's Volleyball final for the first time in 24 years on Thursday after upsetting three-time champion Cuba in a surprising 3-0 victory.

The last time they played in a gold-medal match was in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, where they lost to China, who were led that day by the current USA Head Coach "Jenny" Ping Lang.

USA will face either defending Olympic champions China or world No. 1 Brazil in the final scheduled on Saturday.

The Americans shrugged off the straight-set loss to the Cuban high jumpers in the preliminaries and wrapped up a sweet revenge 25-20, 25-16 and 25-17.

The two sides both started strongly and found themselves at 11-11, when the U.S. broke the tie with lethal spikes by Tayyiba Haneef-Park to lead 14-11. Danielle Scott-Arruda and Heather Bown helped to enlarge the gap to 24-20. With an unanswered spike of Kim Willoughby, USA took the opener 25-20.

The Americans dominated the second set with powerful serves, while Cuba lost their rhythm. Cuba's service errors at crucial points helped the U.S. take an effortless second set 25-16.

The Cubans seemed to have lost their willingness to fight in the decider, while Scott and Logan Tom kept launching brilliant spikes from the middle of the court and the back row. The Americans sailed on to claim a solid lead at 21-16. Cuba pulled back one point with a spike from Yanelis Stantos, but that was the furthest they could go.

The stunning Willoughby scored three points in row for the U.S. to seal their historic victory. (Xinhua)