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U.S. sails to women's volleyball final in 24 years
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14:21, August 21, 2008

The United States re-entered the Olympic women's volleyball final in 24 years on Thursday after upsetting three-time champion Cuba in a surprising 3-0.

The last time they contented for a gold was in 1984 Los Angeles Games, where they surrendered the championship title to the Chinese women, led by their current head coach "Iron Hammer" Lang Ping.

They will face either defending champions China or world's No. 1 Brazil in the final scheduled on Saturday.

The Americans shrugged off the straight-set loss to the Cuban high jumpers in the preliminaries and wrapped up the sweet revenge 25-20, 25-16 and 25-17.

The two sides both started strongly before a 11-11 draw, when the U.S. broke the tie with lethal spikes by Tayyiba Haneef-Park to lead 14-11. Danielle Scott-Arruda and Heather Bown helped to enlarge the gap to 24-20. With an unanswered spike of Kim Willoughby, the U.S. took the opener 25-20.

The Americans dominated the second set with powerful serves, while Cuba lost their rhythm and their service errors at the crucial points helped the U.S. to take the effortless second set 25-16.

The Cubans seemed to have lost their willingness to fight in the decider, while Scott and Logan Tom kept launching brilliant spikes from the middle of the court and the back row. The U.S. sailed on the track to win with a solid lead 21-16. Cuba pulled back one point with a spike of Yanelis Stantos, but that was the furthest they could go. Stunning Willoughby scored three points in row for the U.S. to seal their historic victory 25-17.

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 45 14 20 79
2 USA 27 28 28 83
3 Great Britain 16 10 11 37
4 Russia 14 14 18 46
5 Australia 11 12 13 36
6 Germany 11 8 9 28
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