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U.S. beats Italy to reach last four at Olympic women's volleyball
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08:38, August 20, 2008


Lang Ping, coach of the women's volleyball team of the United States, hugs her team members during the Women's Quarterfinals match U.S. vs Italy of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games volleyball event in Beijing, China, Aug. 19, 2008. The U.S. beat Italy 3-2. (Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

The United States twice rallied from one set down to beat World Cup winner Italy in a full-set quarterfinal to reach the semifinals of the Beijing Games women's volleyball event on Tuesday.

The United States needed two hours to claim their first win in six meetings against Italy since 2004, prevailing through at 20-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 15-6 and will meet Cuba in the semifinals on Thursday.
"I felt very happy with the result, they can always bring me surprise. I am so proud of them," American head coach Lang Ping, a former Chinese player, said after the match.

After splitting the first two sets, Italy started to find the rhythm in the third set, storming to a 10-3 lead and keeping the morale until they clinched the set at 25-19.

But in the fourth set, the Italian spikers ceased fire again and looked fragile on the net, trailing 8-0 behind at the first technical timeout.


After losing the set at 25-18, the Italians were still uncharacteristically underperforming in the tie-breaker which they lost at 15-6.

"I don't know," answered Italian player Simona Gioli in the mixed zone when asked what happened in the fourth set. "When such things happen, there is not an explanation. We are powerful contender, but we were not focused enough. But right now I cannot say what happened exactly."

"This is probably going to be my last Olympics, so I have an even bigger regret (for losing). But sport is like this, you lose sometimes and you have to be able to cope with disappointment."

In the other semifinal, host China will take on Brazil.

Players of the United States celebrate during the Women's Quarterfinals match US vs Italy of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games volleyball event in Beijing, China, Aug. 19, 2008. The US beat Italy 3-2)

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 43 14 19 76
2 USA 26 26 27 79
3 Great Britain 16 9 8 33
4 Australia 11 12 12 35
5 Germany 11 8 9 28
6 Russia 10 14 18 42
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