Goal 1: Accomplished.
The U.S. women’s volleyball team entered the Rio Olympics with their sights set on the first gold medal in team history, but the first step was securing the top seed in Pool B.
With a win over China in four sets (22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-19) on the final day of preliminary play Sunday, the Americans clinched the top spot in Pool B and will take on either Japan or Argentina (the fourth seed in Pool A) in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
The U.S. squad got out to a slow start Sunday, however, as China took the opening set thanks in large part to six American service errors.
In the second set, the U.S. cleaned things up and flipped the script, capitalizing on Chinese mistakes.
The U.S. team also showed off its impressive depth with some key contributions from Kelsey Robinson and captain Christa Dietzen in the final three sets.
Robinson didn’t record a stat in the first three matches in Rio, but she has been crucial to the USA’s success in the last two matches, including getting out to a 10-of-12 start on spikes Sunday against China.
Dietzen, meanwhile, hardly saw the floor in the first four matches, but came on to provide six points on five spikes plus a block in the final three sets.
Jordan “The Governor” Larson also stepped up big for the U.S. with 18 points, a block and two service aces.
On the Chinese side, Zhu Ting was a one-woman wrecking crew with 23 points on 19 spikes and four blocks.
The women’s quarterfinals being at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday.