BEIJING After a prolonged moment of silence after pre-match introductions, the United States men's volleyball team opened its 2008 Beijing Olympic run with a hard-fought five-set victory Sunday over upset-minded Venezuela.
The Americans won the first two sets by identical 25-18 scores before dropping the next two 25-22 and 25-21. The team won the fifth and final game 15-10.
While the U.S. opener was supposed to mark the Olympic-era start of new head coach Hugh McCutcheon, the New Zealand native and former BYU player and assistant coach was conspicuously absent following Saturday's stabbing of his in-laws at a Beijing tourist attraction.
Todd Bachman was killed by a lone assailant and Barbara Bachman underwent eight hours of surgery because of life-threatening knife wounds suffered in the attack at the Drum Tower. The man then killed himself by leaping off the second story of the structure.
Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman McCutcheon, a former Olympian and U.S. women's volleyball team member, was present at the incident but not injured."It's kind of an unthinkable tragedy, especially at a time like this when Hugh has put in so much time and effort getting us to this point," said U.S. libero Rich Lambourne who, along with former BYU teammate and current Olympic teammate Ryan Millar, played for McCutcheon when he was BYU assistant coach from 1995 to 2001.