by Phil Bush
Monday, 11:45 AM ET
The USA women won their first round match 3-1, and it was likely exactly what head coach Hugh McCutcheon wanted. His world No. 1 team was challenged and challenged hard by the Koreans, particularly spectacular outside hitter Kim Yeon-Koung. Kim may be the best outside hitter in the Games, and she absolutely showed it against the Americans. This Korean team was much improved, and gave the U.S. a lot of issues to address.
|Phil Bush, FIVB Broadcaster|
Over the previous three decades, you'd be hard pressed to find someone in athletics with a greater level of expertise in volleyball production and promotion than Phil Bush. He will be entering his fourth year working for the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) as a broadcaster on the FIVB “Match of the Week.” He has also handled 17 seasons working for FSN South, ESPNU, CSS and Sun Sports providing both play-by-play and color analysis on volleyball broadcasts. Through his MavRen Marketing & Productions company, Bush has worked in the production and promotion of volleyball events for over 25 years.
Monday, 11:45 AM ET
|USA defeated Korea in four sets, courtesy FIVB|
Speaking of tough matches, Brazil had to go all FIVE sets to beat Turkey! Sheilla Castro led the way with Jaqueline Carvalho and Thaisa Menezes making major contributions. At the end of the day, Brazil out-blocked and out-received Turkey to hang on for the win. But they got a wakeup call as well! It sets up a showdown of No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, plain and simple. Given what we saw yesterday, the USA will need the following to move to 2-0 in the pool:
- Stay focused on offensive diversity. While Larson and Hooker are the go-to combination, continue to get the ball to Foluke Akinradewo (Stanford) and Christine Harmotto. The more players get into the action, the more difficult it will be for Brazil to focus on any one part of the offense.
- Continue to use the Thompson/Park Combination to address the right side blocking. Park as a blocker is sensational and this combination will become familiar to the Americans. Thompson to take over setting duties in this situation keeps the USA offense flowing. Combination of substitutions will be most important when Castro is up front as she makes the Brazilian offense go.
- Keep Hooker relaxed. Remind her that each swing is not the end of the match, it’s just a swing.
- Increase serving pressure. I think the USA can get more out of their servers, and they may have intentionally not brought everything out on display in that first match.
- Get Logan Tom (Stanford) swings in space. She needs to get going offensively, and work the ball around the block.
- Set the middles a little higher. I think both middles can take advantage of slightly higher sets against Brazil.
Team Brazil's Player to Watch: Sheilla Castro
Next Match: USA vs. China - August 1st at 3:00 PM ET
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