Volleyball: US edge closer to first gold
Updated: Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 20:08
Another explosive display of spiking by Destinee Hooker powered the United States past South Korea into the final of the Olympic women's volleyball tournament on Thursday at Earls Court.
The 24-year-old scoring machine took her spiking tally for the tournament to 123 as she racked up 24 points for her side in a straight sets victory that was trickier than the score suggested against a tenacious South Korean side.
Runners-up to Brazil in 2008, the U.S. team are attempting to win their country's first Olympic gold medal in women's volleyball at the 10th attempt.
The south Americans will stand in their way again if they win the day's second semi-final against Japan.
"I'm thrilled," said captain Lindsey Berg, who is refusing to let an Achilles injury deprive her of a final shot at Olympic gold in her third Games.
"That was a really tough match we had to focus every play. The match was played after 20 points, we didn't have our best match but we made plays after 20 points and that's what shows we're a good team," she told reporters.
The Americans raised their game when it mattered at the end of each set, claiming a 25-20 25-22 25-22 victory.
Hooker's ferocious interventions at the net, many from the accurate setting of Berg, proved the decisive factor.
"I tried not to make her hit so many balls every match but when it came down to it today she's the only person I was giving it to, she was incredible," Berg said.
South Korea's Kim Yeon-koung was almost as impressive, keeping the Americans on their toes throughout as she spiked 18 winners. She may well end the tournament as the leading points scorer but will have to settle for bronze at best.
"We still have one match and we want to do well," she told reporters. "We are here to get a medal, otherwise everything we worked for here and to get here will be worthless."