The defending gold medalist USA men’s volleyball team fell victim to a tough draw and a poor performance on Wednesday. They were bounced from the Olympics in the quarterfinals, losing to a strong Italian squad in straight sets.
The fifth-ranked U.S. squad looked good in the preliminary round, winning group B over top-ranked Brazil, but they met their match against the sixth-ranked Italians. The American had a set point in the first-set, failed to convert, and ended up losing, 28-26. After that it seemed like the Italians had a mental edge over the U.S., as the Americans failed to generate enough offense, only staying in the games based on the strength of their blocking, which left them in the third set.
Perhaps the most telling stat was how much Italy dominated serve in the match with nine aces to only two for the USA. Ultimately Italy won 28-26, 25-20, 25-20 and advances to take on the Brazilians in the semifinals. Brazil breezed past Argentina in straight sets earlier Wednesday.
For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub