Thompson, Miyashiro Bring Home Silver From London
Aug. 11, 2012
LONDON - Former Husky greats Courtney Thompson and Tamari Miyashiro are newly minted Olympic medalists, though Team USA was stunned in today's gold medal women's volleyball match by a Brazil squad that caught fire and reversed what had been a dominant American run through London.
The U.S. was attempting to win its first ever Olympic gold medal, but settled for the third silver medal performance after the Brazilians won again in the repeat of the 2008 Beijing final. Set scores were 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 at Earls Court.
It was the first loss of the tournament for the Americans, who had previously gone 7-0 and dropped only two total sets. One of those seven wins came against Brazil in the prelims, 3-1. Brazil lost a second prelim match and just squeaked in to the knockout round, but it saved its best for last. The loss snapped a six-match win streak for Team USA over Brazil dating back to 2011.
"They played better today," Team USA coach Hugh McCutcheon told the AP. "I still believe that team is one of the best, if not the best in the world, and we weren't that today. That's what it comes down to. We train for four years, we come here for two weeks, and it comes down to two hours. I don't think we played poorly tonight, I think Brazil played really well."
Thompson, who led UW to three Final Fours and the NCAA title in 2005, did not see action today but was a big contributor during the tournament, especially when an injury took down starting setter Lindsey Berg during USA's final prelim match. Thompson came in to finish off the third set of a sweep of Turkey, and then set the entire match in the 3-0 quarterfinal win over Dominican Republic.
In most sets, Thompson was used as part of a double switch, coming in late in sets to serve and set the next rotation before Berg came back in. Miyashiro checked in during today's gold medal match as a serving substitute, which was her primary role during the tourney. Miyashiro (2005-09) served a total of 25 times during her first Olympics.
The Americans reached the title match in dominating fashion by advanced through Pool B with wins over No. 15 Korea (3-1), No. 2 Brazil (3-1), No. 3 China (3-0), No. 7 Serbia (3-0) and No. 8 Turkey (3-0). The U.S. advanced to the semifinals with a sweep over NORCECA rival Dominican Republic in the quarterfinal round, then claimed a 3-0 win over Korea to reach the title match.
2006 letterwinner Janine Sandell made a third Husky Olympian, competing for the host Great Britain team, and she helped the British make history with a 3-2 win over Algeria, the first ever for Great Britain in Olympic play. Sandell was the second-leading scorer for Great Britain with 32 spikes.