On their way to making history, the U.S. women's volleyball team will try to exact a little revenge.
Thursday, Utah native Logan Tom smashed the final kill of the team's semifinal win over South Korea to set up what is a rematch of the 2008 gold medal match between the U.S. and Brazil.
"It's another game," said Tom, a four-time Olympian and Highland High graduate. "Right now, we've got to figure out what we need to improve on. This game, there were some definite kinks …but we'll do that at practice tomorrow. Tonight we'll go home, chillax, decompress and see some family. (Today) we'll get back to business."
And that business includes doing something no other American women's volleyball team has ever done — win an Olympic gold medal.
"I thought our team battled and needed to battle to win tonight," said head coach Hugh McCutcheon, after the 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 win at Earls Court. "They create a lot of troubles with good serving, defense and of their offense is tough to stop. They were good at exploiting some of our weaknesses, but luckily we were able to make some adjustments. Our athletes played with a lot of heart, and I am really proud of our team and how they competed."
Team USA is undefeated at the 2012 Games (7-0), and they've lost just two sets — one to China and one to the tournament's other finalist, Brazil.
Tom said she still doesn't think the U.S. has played its best match.
"I don't think this was probably our best match at the Olympics," she said. "But I'm really proud of the team for pulling together. It's not going to be easy, especially at this quarterfinals and semifinals stage with all of the top teams. I'm really proud of us."
Tom earned six kills, a block and an ace, while Destinee Hooker continued to impress with another outstanding game. She earned 24 points with 21 kills and three blocks. She only committed one hitting error.
"The crowd is very loud and very energetic," Hooker said. "We hear it more when we walk out on the court at the beginning of the game. During the game it's like, 'Look, we're all here on the court. We need to figure things out and go from there.'"
Tom said the crowd support — in the gym and from afar — is much appreciated as most of the time these women fight these battles without the fanfare that accompanies the Games.
"It's the Olympics," Tom said when asked about the support. "It's nice because we don't really get to see it for four years. We get two weeks of it — family, friends, supporters at home, the texts and stuff — it feels nice to play for Team USA."
The U.S. team was also helped by the return of starting setter Lindsey Berg, who missed the quarterfinal match against the Dominican Republic due to an injured Achilles. She earned 36 assists in the win.
"I thought (Lindsey) did a great job tonight," McCutcheon said. "We were very happy with her performance. Of course there were doubts (on whether she would play). She was hurt. We will evaluate tonight and see how she looks and maybe even see how she is tomorrow. She ran around a little last night and it looked promising. We chatted late last night and early this morning and things seemed to be on plan so we decided to go with it."
Berg said she felt "amazing" and planned to play in the championship match Saturday if coaches would let her.
"I am just going to give it my all," she said. "If I can't walk after Saturday's match, I don't care."
- Already impressing: Utah Jazz rookie Dante...
- Mired in 3-game losing streak, BYU preparing...
- Midseason recap and awards for BYU and Utah
- Amy Donaldson: Not deciding on a starting...
- Utah Jazz give key starters a break in 98-91...
- Utes continue Pac-12 'meat grinder' with...
- Booker-ing ram and broken dreams: Midseason...
- Sunday morning quarterback: Stars and stats...
- Utes top Oregon State in double overtime 114
- Nevada rallies to beat BYU, 42-35 68
- Dick Harmon: BYU amasses yards but... 49
- Mired in 3-game losing streak, BYU... 46
- FBS football coaches vote BYU most... 32
- Peavler: Penalties out of control at BYU 28
- Brad Rock: Utes have their star in... 27
- College football: Utah rises to No. 19... 25