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United States eliminates Poland from women's volleyball quarterfinals
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17:09, August 17, 2008

The United States rallied past Poland in five sets here on Sunday to eliminate the Europeans from the quarterfinals of the women's volleyball tournament of the Beijing Games.

Logan Tom scored 25 points to lead the American women to the 18-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-19 and 15-13 victory and a second finish in pool A with a 4-1 win-loss record.

"We played well today and prepared for the quarter-finals," said the United States' Chinese head coach Jenny Lang Ping. "But we still had ups and downs and did not play very consistently."

"I think we still need to improve ourselves in order to have good performance in the quarter-finals," she added.

Having secured its berth in top eight with Friday's 3-2 victory over the host China, the United States rotated its players in the last round preliminary match.

"It's a long tournament and all the players have different physical conditions. Some feel better, some feel tired. I have to balance them, some bench players haven't played though and they are in great physical condition," said Lang Ping. "The USA team always play as a team. We tried to avoid our weaknesses."

In the tiebreaker, the American women overcame an opening 3-0 deficit for an 8-6 advantage, then the two teams traded runs to tie it at 13-all.

Tom came up big with a solid block against Katarzyna Gajgal and then tore open the defense put up by Gajgal and Katarzyna Skorupa for a kill to end the match in two hours.

"We are happy to go into the quarterfinals with this win," said American setter Lindsey Berg. "There are still many things for us to improve. In this game we played up and down and that's what we have to improve on in the next game. We're going to try and continue this momentum."

The Polish women, who were making their first appearance at the Olympic Games since 1968, finished fifth in pool A with one win against four losses.

"We finish our Olympics Games, but I'm happy because my team played well," said Poland head coach Marco Bonitta. "Unfortunately at critical points we didn't play at the same level."

"This team has a future. This is our first Olympics in forty years and it's difficult. The next time will be better."

The result of this match also secured the quarterfinal berths for China and Japan, who shared a 2-2 record. The two Asian powerhouses will clash later on Sunday to decide the final placingc of the group.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 29 13 9 51
2 USA 17 18 22 57
3 Germany 9 5 5 19
4 Great Britain 9 4 7 20
5 Australia 8 10 11 29
6 South Korea 7 9 4 20
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