Team USA took fourth place, losing to China in the bronze medal match. Karch Kiraly was acting head coach of the squad as Hugh McCutcheon must have been recruiting for his Minnesota team (I’m just kidding, Hugh deserves a break too). But the team, overall, is coming together as players continue to fight for their roles as they learn to play as a team. I’m sure Hugh will have them ready for the 2012 Olympics in London.
What I found interesting were Russ’ blog posts. It was pretty much a recap of the tournament and I don’t think Russ is going to become a blogger anytime soon, “The final day and final blog come with a great deal of anticipation for the teams in the finals and a welcome reprieve from the author.” But I did find his final paragraph insightful:
My final thoughts on the event were that the game is always in a state of change and there remains various ways to play the game from both a technical and tactical platform. Some teams rely on precision to combat an apparent physical disadvantage at the net and others fall back on their natural talents to overpower the opponent. The jump spin serve has transitioned to more of a jump floater and the international protocol of a 30 minute warm-up shows that we may be over preparing on game night in the college game. Teams at all levels succeed because of their personnel in addition to their ability to play together.
The jump floater is becoming more prevalent in the women’s game (the men still dominate with the jump top spin serve) and I couldn’t agree more with the college game over preparing on game night. Collegiate warm-ups seem to be more of a choreographed dance recital that can last longer than the actual match.
Here are the final sets of USA vs China (5th set of pool play) and USA vs Cuba (to get into the Gold medal match):