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Netherlands target first ever Olympic medal

 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 19, 2016 - It is time for the medal matches in the women’s volleyball tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games! First, the Netherlands and USA will take to the court at the Maracanazinho on Saturday to determine who goes home with the bronze.


This will be the 25th encounter between the two teams in a major international competition. The United States have beaten the Netherlands 19 times, allowing the Dutch only five wins.

The Americans defeated the Dutch in all three matches they played at Olympic Games. At Barcelona 1992 and at Atlanta 1996 they claimed four-set victories. Here, at Rio 2016, their Pool B game was more competitive and Karch Kiraly’s players emerged victorious only after an exciting five-setter – 3-2 (18-25, 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 15-8).

The most recent encounters between Dutch and Americans before the current Olympic Games occurred in FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2016. The United Stated defeated the Netherlands twice - 3-1 (25-17, 19-25, 25-17, 25-20) during the Preliminary Round on June 25 in Hong Kong and 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-23) at the finals in Bangkok.

By making the semifinals the Netherlands have already made a step forward from their previous two Olympic participations, but by defeating USA on Saturday they would win a historic first medal. At Rio 2016, they finished second in Pool B, defeated Korea in four sets and lost to China, also in four sets, to end up in this bronze medal match.

The Dutch squad features Lonneke Sloetjes, who is now second in the tournament’s Best Scorers chart with 142 points.

Debby Stam-Pilon tops the ranking for Best Diggers with an average of 2.10 digs per set, while Laura Dijkema is number 1 on the Best Setters chart.

For the United States this would be the fifth Olympic medal after three silver and one bronze medals from the previous eight editions. They finished their participation in Pool B unbeaten, then shut out Japan in the quarterfinals, but in their semifinal were upset by Serbia after a five-set battle.

Their most prolific players so far, Jordan Larson-Burbach and Foluke Akindarewo, share the sixth position in the Best Scorers ranking with 88 points each.

Their teammate Kayla Banwarth leads the Best Receivers chart with 43.38% excellents.

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