U.S. women win first Olympic gold medal in volleyball, including Coloradans Jordyn Poulter and Haleigh Washington

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TOKYO — The decades-long quest for the archetypal Olympic golden medal for the U.S. women’s volleyball squad ended Sunday erstwhile the Americans yet broke done with a 25-21, 25-20, 25-14 triumph implicit Brazil.

The United States, which had won 3 metallic medals and 2 bronze since archetypal getting connected the medal basal successful 1984, got to the apical measurement by beating the squad that denied it a accidental astatine golden successful the last lucifer of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

And erstwhile Colorado prep stars Haleigh Washington (Doherty) and Jordyn Poulter (Eaglecrest) some played a relation successful making it happen.

Captain Jordan Larson, who was portion of that silver-winning squad successful 2012 and the bronze medal squad 5 years ago, paved the mode with her enactment connected the tribunal and her beardown play connected the onslaught and connected defense.

Larson and mediate blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson, who some came backmost for a 3rd Olympics aft falling abbreviated successful Rio de Janeiro, present person a implicit medal postulation pursuing the last Olympic lucifer of their careers.

The triumph besides allowed U.S. manager Karch Kiraly to articulation Lang Ping of China arsenic the 2nd idiosyncratic to triumph golden arsenic a volleyball subordinate and past pb a state to golden arsenic coach. Kiraly won golden indoor arsenic a subordinate successful 1984 and 1988. He besides won golden successful formation volleyball successful 1996.

The U.S. got disconnected to a accelerated commencement by scoring the archetypal 4 points down beardown attacking by Michelle Bartsch-Hackley. It ne'er trailed successful the opening, winning it 25-21 connected a brushed changeable by Bartsch-Hackley that gave her 8 points successful the set.

The Americans played from up for astir of the 2nd acceptable arsenic well, and Larson’s well-placed brushed changeable astatine the nett enactment them up 22-17. They closed retired the acceptable erstwhile Carol Silva’s service went long.

That signifier continued successful the 3rd set, and the lucifer ended successful fitting benignant with a termination by Larson, completing a expanse by the Americans of each 9 sets successful the knockout stage. The U.S. players each gathered connected the level successful a tearful hug.

Brazil had won golden successful either men’s oregon women’s indoor volleyball successful 4 consecutive Olympics, with the men claiming the rubric successful 2004 and 2016 and the women successful 2008 and 2012.

But it volition permission lone with a metallic this year, aft the women mislaid for the archetypal clip successful Tokyo pursuing 7 consecutive wins. The men mislaid a semifinal lucifer to the Russians and past the bronze medal crippled against Argentina.

Brazil played the lucifer short-handed aft extracurricular hitter Tandara Caixeta was sent location earlier the semifinals pursuing her suspension for a imaginable usurpation of anti-doping rules. Tandara’s lawyer said a banned substance recovered successful a July trial was introduced accidentally into her system.

The U.S. besides dealt with absences. Opposite Jordan Thompson, who led the Americans successful scoring successful the archetypal 3 matches, didn’t play again aft rolling her close ankle successful the 4th excavation play lucifer against the Russians.

But the extent that has made the U.S. 1 of the apical teams the past 2 decades contempt nary golden medal overcame that and an wounded that sidelined Poulter, a setter, for the quarterfinal. Annie Drews stepped up successful Thompson’s spot and the U.S. didn’t miss a beat.

The travel to this signifier has been a agelong 1 for a U.S. women’s squad that started much than 40 years agone erstwhile the 1980 Olympic squad made the determination to statesman year-round training, lone to get denied the accidental to vie due to the fact that of a U.S.-led boycott of the Games successful Moscow.

But the instauration had been enactment successful place, and the Americans person won six medals successful the past 10 Olympics and present yet person their gold.

In the bronze medal game, Serbia bushed South Korea 25-18, 25-15, 25-15 to spell location with a women’s volleyball medal for the 2nd consecutive Olympics. The Serbians won metallic successful 2016 for their archetypal medal successful the sport.

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