Women's volleyballers beaten by US
By Jung Min-ho
South Korea’s women’s volleyball team will have to settle for a shot at the bronze in London after losing 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 to the U.S. in Thursday’s semifinal.
Destinee Hooker led her side to victory with a match-high 24 points. Korea’s Kim Yeon-koung, the top scorer in the group stage with 137 points, hit 20 points but it was not enough. Korea now faces Japan for the last podium spot on Saturday.
“I felt like crying after the loss. But I will hold back the tears until after the next game,” Kim said. “We will go back to Korea with a medal.”
The encounter between Korea and the U.S. was tight at the beginning, the score remaining within three points until midway through the first set. The seesaw game then started tilting in America’s favor thanks to Hooker’s powerful spikes that gave the defenders no chance. The opposite attacker, who played for Korean club Seoul GS Caltex Kixx in the 2010-2011 season, took control of the game to take the first set.
In the second, lifted by Kim’s performance, Team Korea managed to take a three-point lead at one point but the momentum didn’t last with mistakes in serves and defense. It again challenged the world’s No. 1 team in the final set but ultimately came away empty-handed, leaving much to be desired in the bronze medal match.
The Korean players were disappointed but pulled themselves together quickly after the defeat, saying that they "did everything they could on the court.”
“We played hard but just couldn't beat the U.S.,” Kim said. “We came here to win a medal and that dream is still alive.”
Korea is now aiming to earn the bronze since last doing so 36 years ago at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the first volleyball medal the nation ever won.
The U.S. took silver in Beijing four years ago but was a heavy favorite coming into the event. Prior to the semifinal, Korea lost to the U.S. 3-1 in the group stage.
In the other semifinal, defending champions Brazil defeated Japan with a 25-18, 25-15, 25-18 victory.