LONDON – Destinee wasn’t enough.
Brazil denied the United States its first Olympic gold medal in women’s volleyball Saturday in a 3-1 upset that had the Brazilians turning somersaults on the court and some American players sobbing.
It was the first loss for the U.S. at the tournament and the second straight gold medal for Brazil. American star Destinee Hooker, the second-best scorer at the Games, was held to 14 points.
Jaqueline Carvalho had 18 points to help Brazil overcome a disastrous first set and win 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17.
“We felt we lost control in the first set, but we never lost sight of our objectives, and that was to win gold,” Carvalho said. “We knew the U.S. is a great team, that the game would be tough. But we managed to turn it around.”
The Americans were favored and started their captain, Lindsey Berg, despite a left Achilles strain earlier in the competition. She had been listed as day-to-day.
The U.S. took an 11-4 lead on Hooker’s ace. Brazilian coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes shouted at his players to calm down during a timeout, but two straight kills from Hooker and Foluke Akinradewo’s block made it 19-7. Jordan Larson spiked for the set.
In the second set, Brazil bounced back to take an 11-6 lead Fernanda Rodrigues’ kill, sparking a thunderous ovation from the fans at Earls Court. Logan Tom’s spike tied it at 12, but Brazil scored six straight and took the set.
The Brazilians celebrated wildly after taking a 6-2 lead in the third. The U.S. narrowed it to 21-19 on Hooker’s kill, but that was as close as it came, and Castro’s kill won the set.
With momentum on the side of the Brazilians, Claudino’s kill gave them a 13-9 in the fourth. Thaisa Menezes extended it to 23-14 before Rodrigues’ match-winning kill.