The US men’s volleyball team won’t be defending their Olympic gold medal at the 2012 London Games after losing in a straight-set quarterfinal to Italy on Wednesday.
The men’s team entered the Olympic tournament ranked fifth in the world and struggled out of the gate against Italy’s captain Cristian Savani who racked up 19 points. The Italians would eventually end the match with final scores of 28-26, 25-20, 25-20.
In 2008 the US men’s volleyball team defeated top seeded favorite Brazil 3-1 in Beijing. The men’s team have won the gold three times since the sport was entered into Olympic competition in 1964.
Italy in the meantime has won silver two times but has failed to win a gold medal in the sport at the Olympic level.
Italy will now take on Brazil in the semifinals and if they pass that test on Friday they will move on to compete in the gold medal match.
The US team wasn’t helpless, they were led by captain Clay Stanley who gave the team 16 points on the way to defeat. Team USA even managed a 13-9 lead in the first set before Italy stormed back and eventually tied the match at 18-all before claiming the victory. In the second set Italy was also down 20-16 before surging from behind for the win.
After a 4-1 preliminary round Team USA had entered the quarterfinals at the top seed. The US men had already beating Brazil 3-1 but lost to Russia in five sets.
Do you think Italy has what it takes to capture its first gold medal in men’s Olympic volleyball?