Monday, 27 May 2024

Oracles of Volleyball: Semifinal focus

The world of volleyball is abuzz with the ongoing Rio Olympic Games, and some of the sport’s greatest legends are weighing in with their thoughts and insights. Let’s hear from the likes of Misty May-Treanor, Lloy Ball, Holly McPeak, Nicole Davis, Kent Steffes, Kim Oden, Scott Fortune, Tayyiba Haneef-Park, Bob Ctvrtlik, Dain Blanton, Ryan Millar, Eric Fonoimoana, Gabe Gardner, Todd Rogers, and Danielle Scott-Arruda as they comment on the recent events and share their predictions for the upcoming matches.

The 24 Hours of Triumphs and Challenges

In the past 24 hours, American volleyball fans have witnessed both the highs and lows of the Olympic Games. Kerri and April’s bronze medal win in beach volleyball against the world’s number one team showcased their sheer determination and will to win. On the other hand, the women’s indoor team faced a tough five-set loss to Serbia in the semifinals, a heartbreaking defeat that tested their resilience.

We reached out to some U.S. Olympians for their thoughts on the past 24 hours and what lies ahead for the men’s semifinal match against Italy and the women’s bronze medal match. Let’s hear what they have to say.

Insights from U.S. Olympians

Bob Ctvrlik (U.S. Olympian, indoor, 1988, 1992, 1996; Olympic gold medalist, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, 1992):
Having experienced the Olympics firsthand, I know the disappointment of shattered gold medal dreams. However, there is a significant difference between finishing third and fourth. The bronze medal match requires players to dig deep and find the motivation to give their all. I couldn’t be prouder of Kerri and April’s inspiring win, and I have faith in our indoor men’s team. They just need to focus on playing their game and sticking to the plan. I can’t wait to see the match!

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Nicole Davis (U.S. Olympian, indoor, 2008, 2012; Olympic silver medalist, 2008, 2012):
April and Kerri’s win was a testament to their courage and resilience. It’s incredible to see how they played their hearts out even when things weren’t going their way. As for the women’s indoor team, their loss against Serbia was tough, but they have the strength and determination to bounce back and win the bronze medal. China looks like a strong contender for gold. As for the men’s team, they are improving with every game, and I believe they have what it takes to defeat Italy. Anything can happen at the Olympics!

Gabe Gardner (U.S. Olympian, indoor, 2004, 2008; Olympic gold medalist, 2008):
Kerri and April delivered an outstanding performance in their match. It’s disappointing to hear people mentioning “settling for bronze” because they should be immensely proud of their achievement. The same goes for the women’s indoor team. Despite the loss to Serbia, they fought hard and showed their competitiveness. I have no doubt that they will bring home the bronze medal. Winning any medal is a special accomplishment, regardless of the color. As for the men’s team, they have a chance at gold. They need to channel their determination and play their best against Italy.

Tayyiba Haneef-Park (U.S. Olympian, indoor, 2004, 2008, 2012; U.S. silver medalist, 2008, 2012):
Watching our U.S. teams compete at the Olympics is an emotional rollercoaster. As an athlete, you’re in a bubble, and you hear about wins and losses, but you don’t experience every single point from each team. Over the past 48 hours, I’ve witnessed determination, integrity, trust, belief, sacrifice, and commitment from all our teams. Kerri and April’s triumph against all odds is a testament to their perseverance. Despite starting 0-2 in pool play, the men’s team roared back with a dominant performance against Poland. The women’s team faced a tough loss to Serbia but showed incredible resilience in the latter part of the match. Now, they have a chance to regroup and fight for the bronze medal against the Netherlands. The goal remains the same – win a medal. They just need to bring the same confidence and determination they’ve shown throughout the tournament.

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Lloy Ball (U.S. Olympian, indoor, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008; Olympic gold medalist, 2008):
The women’s team had their chances against Serbia, but missed serves and bad free ball passes made a significant impact. Credit to the talented Serbian players who played relentlessly. Losing a key player like Foluke due to injury affected the team’s momentum, but that’s what happens at the Olympics. The next person has to step up. Despite not playing for gold, I know the women’s team will bring their energy to the bronze medal match. As for the men’s team, I believe the semifinal match against Italy will be different from their previous encounter. It’s crucial to serve well, have good ball control, and make smart plays in the crucial moments. This match will be tight and could go to four or five sets. I’m rooting for Team USA to come out on top!

Scott Fortune (U.S. Olympian, indoor, 1988, 1992, 1996; Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, indoor, 1992):
The Olympics is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, and the last few days have been no exception for the USA Volleyball Teams. The lows of tough semifinal losses can keep you up at night, replaying every play and analyzing what could have been. I’ve experienced it firsthand in 1992 when we fought back to win the bronze medal after a crushing defeat in the first set against Cuba. Kerri and April’s performance was inspiring, and they should be proud of their bronze. The women’s indoor team needs to draw from Kerri and April’s success, dig deep, and fight for the bronze. As for the men’s team, they have a shot at gold. It will be an exciting match against Italy, and I have faith in their abilities.

Danielle Scott-Arruda (U.S. Olympian, indoor, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012; U.S. Olympic silver medalist, 2008, 2012):
The men’s team still has a chance to compete for the gold, and I’m excited to watch their match. They’ve faced Italy multiple times, so both teams are familiar with each other’s strategies. It’s going to be an amazing battle. This is where all the mindset techniques they’ve learned come into play – regrouping, staying focused, and giving it their all. Winning a bronze medal is still a remarkable accomplishment. I have no doubt that the USA will fight with everything they have.

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Q: How did Kerri and April perform in their bronze medal match?
A: Kerri and April displayed exceptional determination and resilience in their bronze medal match. They should be immensely proud of their performance and the bronze medal they brought home.

Q: What are the expectations for the women’s indoor team in the bronze medal match?
A: Despite a tough loss in the semifinals, the women’s indoor team has a chance to bounce back and compete for the bronze medal. They are determined and capable of putting up a strong fight.

Q: Can the men’s team defeat Italy in the semifinals?
A: The men’s team has a great opportunity to defeat Italy in the semifinals. Both teams are familiar with each other’s playing style, and the USA team is confident and determined to secure a win.


In the ongoing Rio Olympic Games, American volleyball fans have witnessed triumphs and challenges as the teams compete for medals. Kerri and April’s bronze medal win showcased their determination and refusal to give up. The women’s indoor team faced a tough loss, but they have a chance to regroup and compete for the bronze medal. The men’s team still has a shot at gold and is playing with confidence. As the tournament progresses, the teams are relying on their training, mindset, and unwavering commitment to bring home the best possible results.

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