2008 SUMMER OLYMPICS:
US WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL
Former Hawaii All-American Heather Bown had nine kills in the United States' victory over Italy.
U.S. women rally to beat Italy in 5
BEIJING » The U.S. women's volleyball team defeated Italy in five sets yesterday to advance to the semifinal round against Cuba.
After getting off to a slow start, the United States rallied to win 20-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 15-6.
"That was fun," said wing spiker Logan Tom.
The team will face a tough challenge in Cuba, which remained undefeated in Beijing with a three-set victory over Serbia earlier today.
Brazil, the No. 1 ranked team in the world, defeated Japan 3-0 and will face China in the other semifinal tomorrow.
After Italy dominated in the third set, snuffing every U.S. rally, the United States came alive in the fourth. The crowd at Capital Indoor Stadium joined in by chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" before Italy captain Elenora Lo Bianco served into the net for match point.
The U.S. rolled through the deciding set on their momentum.
"I think we all said, 'We still have some fight in us - let's take this thing to a fifth set,'" Tom said about the turning point.
Afterward, the team celebrated with abandon. Ogonna Nnamani was joined by her teammates in a dance. They chanted "U-U-U-U-U-S-A!" And, of course, there were hugs all around.
Former Hawaii middle blocker Heather Bown finished with nine kills, three blocks and an ace. Former Rainbow Wahine hitter Kim Willoughby added nine kills.
Captain and starting setter Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, another former UH All-American, had 23 assists. Punahou graduate Lindsey Berg, who shared setting duties with Ah Mow-Santos, added 21 assists.