Team USA volleyball rallies past upstart Netherlands

Team USA rallies past upstart Netherlands

The Netherlands are still the darlings of the women’s volleyball tournament, but Team USA refused to be the next victim, digging deep for a hard-fought victory in five sets.

The Dutch team pulled off a surprising upset of gold-medal challenger China on the first day of volleyball action Saturday, beating the No. 3-ranked team in the world in five sets.

A day off didn’t halt Netherlands’ momentum, coming out firing on all cylinders against the American squad.

The U.S. team got out to a flat start, losing the first set 25-18 and helping the Dutch team along with a slew of service faults.

The Americans responded with a 25-18 victory in the second set. At one spot in the middle of the set, USA recorded seven of eight points.

It looked as if the U.S. team – which entered Rio as the No. 1 squad in the world – had settled in, but Netherlands wouldn’t allow it for long.

In the third set, the Dutch team jumped out to 24-17 lead. USA rattled off four straight points, but they couldn’t complete the epic comeback, leading to a 25-21 loss in the third set.

The two teams traded points in the fourth set before USA pulled away and sent the match into five sets with a 25-20 victory in the fourth set.

In the deciding set, a series of three consecutive blocks led to points for USA as they jumped out to a 7-3 lead. They went on to win the fifth set 15-8.

Since the match went to five sets, both teams retained a point for pool play and USA collected two points for the victory. The top four teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, which begin Tuesday, Aug. 16.

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