The Netherlands clinch two-seed
The Netherlands continued its underdog run on the final day of prelims Sunday, taking down Serbia in five sets (25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 15-8).
That means Netherlands – playing in its first Olympics since 1996 – finish the preliminary round 4-1, winning 14 of 21 sets overall. That gives them 11 points and the second spot in Pool B.
Serbia, meanwhile, dropped its second match of the tournament (also lost to the U.S. in four sets on Day 3) and will enter the quarterfinals as the No. 3 seed.
Despite the loss, Serbia was satisfied with their grit to fight back from losing the first two sets Sunday.
“We started rough,” Serbia outside hitter Jovana Brakocevic said, according to FIVB. “We had ups and downs in the first two sets, but fortunately, we woke up and played much better in the next two sets. In the fifth set, both teams had nothing to lose anymore, but the Netherlands just played their best and we made a couple of extra errors, which is why it resulted this way.
“I am happy that we pushed and never gave up, which will give us confidence in the quarterfinals to play better.”
Korea eliminates Cameroon
South Korea entered play Sunday secure in the third seed in Pool A, too far to catch Russia or Brazil for one of the top two seeds and too far in front of the bottom half to drop to the fourth spot.
But that didn’t stop the Koreans from pulling out a sweep, officially eliminating Cameroon from quarterfinals by winning in straight sets (25-16, 25-22, 25-20).
Cameroon earned its first point in the tournament Friday, taking Argentina to the brink on the fourth day of prelims. They entered Sunday in the final spot in Pool A, where they will remain.
“It was the end of us in this Olympics,” Cameroon captain Nana Tchoudjang said, according to FIVB. “So congratulations to Korea and we are looking forward to the future. We will continue to work and maybe paly better than we did here.”
Korea will play the loser of Brazil and Russia in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Italy beats Puerto Rico in meaningless prelim matchup
Italy swept Puerto Rico Sunday (25-14, 25-13, 25-22), but the fate of both teams had long since been decided.
The three points were Italy’s first in Rio, while Puerto Rico will go home with an 0-5 record, losing all 15 sets it played in during the 2016 Olympics.
Coming into the Games, Italy was ranked No. 8 in the world, but disappointed early on, getting swept by Serbia, China and the Netherlands to open preliminary play.
Puerto Rico was ranked 17th in the world entering the tournament.