BEIJING — The United States women's volleyball team settled for the silver, falling to Brazil in four sets in Saturday night's gold-medal match at Capital Gymnasium.

Score it 25-15, 18-25, 25-13, 25-21 for Brazil, which not only didn't lose a match during the Beijing Olympics tournament but only suffered one set loss — the second set taken by the U.S. Saturday night.

The second-place silver goes to the American squad, which came in ranked fourth in the world rankings.

And it's the first medal for the U.S. women since a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games and their first silver since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

U.S. outside hitter Logan Tom tallied a team-high 15 kills and added one service ace.

In the opening set, Brazil broke open a 10-all draw with a 10-1 run as the Americans could do little to slow down their opponents before falling 25-15.

In the second, the U.S. rushed out to early leads of 7-3 and 10-6, weather a few Brazilian storms when the score was in the teens at 16-13 before the United States surged to a 25-18 score.

It was the first set Brazil had lost in the entire Beijing tournament, having swept all seven previous opponents.

The set loss seemed to serve as a wake-up call for the Brazilians, who lead early and often, taking a 12-6 and doubling it for lopsided 25-13 win.

The fourth and final set was a back-and-forth battle, with the Americans enjoying their final lead at 18-16. Brazil rallied to tie and take the point advantages from there.

Brazil broke a 21-all tie on a U.S. service error and then stuffed Tom twice for match point. Looking to hit over the block, Tom sailed her final kill attempt long to set off Brazil's golden celebration.

"We have nothing to be disappointed for," Tom said. "You see tears; they're tears of happiness, though. We came a long way this tournament."

The Olympics started on a tragic note for the U.S. team when the father of former U.S. player Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman McCutcheon was fatally stabbed Aug. 9 at a popular Beijing tourist site by a man who then committed suicide. Her mother was seriously injured in the attack.

Todd Bachman was also the father-in-law of U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, whose team will also face Brazil Sunday for the gold medal.

Against this backdrop, the Americans embarked on an improbable run to the gold-medal match, where they finally met their match in a talented Brazilian team.

While the Brazilians danced, the U.S. women gathered in a tight hug. Tears in their eyes, they raised their clasped hands upward.


Contributing: Associated Press