Serbian players get emotional after their 3-2 victory over USA, which gave them a trip to the Olympic final for the first time
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 18, 2016 – Serbia had an incredible final moment, as they snatched a 3-2 (20-25, 25-17, 25-20, 16-25, 15-13) win over the United States in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games women’s volleyball semifinals at Maracanazinho on Thursday.
Serbia achieved an unprecedented feat, as they made their first ever entry to an Olympic final. Their previous best was a joint-fifth finish at Beijing 2008.
Brankica Mihajlovic topped all scorers with 22 points, followed by team-mates Tijana Boskovic and Milena Rasic who scored 20 and 18 points, respectively. Rachael Adams scored 14 points for USA, while Karsta Lowe and Jordan Larson-Burbach added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
USA got a one-point advantage in blocks over Serbia 17-16. Rasic and Mihajlovic had seven and five blocks, respectively, while Adams had six blocks.
Serbia served a total of eight aces, including the Rasic’s ace that turned around the outcome in the fifth set. Rasic finished with four aces.
USA led Serbia at the start of the first set, but the European squad tied the score at 12-all then held the lead briefly. Both teams tried to outrun each other, but USA were able to gain the momentum after four consecutive points from Foluke Akinradewo 23-19. Tijana Boskovic missed from the attack line, then Rachael Adams blocked Boskovic to close the set in favour of USA 25-20.
Serbia took a 7-3 lead in the second set, with Boskovic and Rasic leading their attack. Mihajlovic joined in the scoring frame and the team made a terrific effort on service and defence to build their biggest lead in the set at 24-15. USA notched two more points before Boskovic hammered the set-equaliser 25-17.
Mihajlovic scored four of Serbia’s first five points in the third set 5-1, then Stevanovic’s ace, Rasic’s spike and Maja Ognjenovic’s block extended the lead 8-1. USA bounced back on a string of points from Larson-Burbach, Adams and Kelly Murphy to reduce the lead 22-20. Mihajlovic scored the next two points for set point 24-20, and then Christa Harmotto Dietzen’s service error closed the set 25-20.
USA showed more focus in the fourth frame to lead 14-9. Serbia tried to spark a run, but USA maintained their momentum to force a tie-breaker set 25-16.
USA took a 5-2 lead over Serbia in the final set and dictated the tempo to maintain the lead. Rasic got Serbia to within one, then Lowe’s attack error tied the score at 12-all. Rasic turned things around with her ace to give Serbia it’s first taste of the lead in the set. Rasic and Adams traded with service errors to give Serbia a slim 14-13 lead, until Boskovic’s attack sealed their magical match victory 15-13.
Quick links - Women's Semifinals - Thursday, August 18: Quick links - Men's Semifinals - Friday, August 19: