Serbia annihilates Russia, will play U.S. in volleyball semis

From the opening serve, Russia looked completely off.

They looked nothing like the No. 4-ranked team in the world, falling behind 8-1 before dropping the first set 25-9.

Russia rebounded a little from there, but Serbia never looked back, coasting to a sweep in straight sets (25-9, 25-22, 25-21) and will take on the U.S. Thursday in the semifinals.

Russia didn’t even pick up its first lead until the middle of the third set, getting out to a 12-11 advantage.

Tijana Boskovic (20 points, five aces) and Milena Rasic (16 points, five blocks, three aces) led the way for Serbia. Tatiana Kosheleva scored 17 points and collected four blocks for Russia.

In a fitting end, the match point came on a service error from Russia.

With the victory, the Serbian women’s volleyball team qualified for the semifinals for the first time in Olympic history.

Serbia and Team USA have played twice in the Olympics, including a 3-1 win from the Americans in preliminary play in Rio. 

The U.S. squad also swept Serbia in the pool stage in London 2012.

Russia took home silver in the 2004 and 2000 Olympics, but will not have a shot at a medal in Rio for the third straight Games.