Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympics | Courtney Thompson leads USA to 3-0 victory in quarterfinals

USA 3, Dominican Republic 0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-22)
next: Semifinals, USA (6-0) vs. South Korea (3-3),
Thursday, August 9, 7:00am (Pacific)
USA coach Hugh McCutcheon raised a few eyebrows when he named Courtney Thompson as one of his two 2012 Olympic setters. Some thought Thompson had impressed McCutcheon primarily for her ability to provide a late spark in close matches.
Courtney Thompson sets during 3-0 Olympic
quarterfinal win against Dominican Republic
But when Volleyblog Seattle flatly asked McCutcheon if he thought Thompson could lead the team through an entire match, he didn’t hesitate.
“We wouldn’t have selected her if she couldn’t.”
On a day when three favored teams—Russia, China and Italy—all went down to defeat in the Olympic quarterfinals, it was Courtney Thompson fully at the controls as USA swept Dominican Republic in generally emphatic fashion.
Thompson replaced Lindsey Berg, who injured her right ankle in the third set of Sunday’s pool play victory over Turkey. If she was nervous about her first-ever Olympic start, she didn’t show it.
The first point of the match was a sweet connection between Thompson and middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo. The two were in sync all night, as Akinradewo finished with 10 kills and no errors on 13 attempts … an eye-popping .770 average.

With Thompson in the back row, USA raced to a 12-3 advantage, recording four blocks, plus kills by Akinradewo, Jordan Larson, and Destinee Hooker along the way. Before the match was over, Thompson and Hooker linked up for 15 kills and 5 kills on 38 attempts (.263), about the same as she usually hits when Berg is setting.
"Courtney's a quarterback," Hooker told Associated Press. "She went out there and took control of the game. She knows our rhythm and it was great to have her on the court."
Courtney Thompson and Christa Harmotto block against Dominican Republic's Prisilla Rivera
When Thompson rotated to the front row, Dominican Republic tried to power their offense over her (she is 5-8, the same height as Berg.) But Thompson held her own, and even recorded a block as USA stormed to a 25-14 first set victory.
Dominican Republic recovered in sets two and three, getting decent attacks from its two star hitters, Bethania de la Cruz de Pena and Prisilla Rivera Brens. But Thompson kept her team on track, including a six-serve stretch in the second set to claim the lead for good. USA won the final two sets, 25-21, 25-22.
“I am very happy for Courtney,” McCutcheon said after the match. “She played great.”
For the match, USA outhit Dominican Republic .360 to .236.
On the match’s final play, a Dominican Republic joust headed wide. As Hooker tried to avoid the ball, her elbow swung smack into Thompson’s nose. Thompson hit the floor, and could not join the team in the post-match handshake because the USA trainer was cleaning a trickle of blood from the bridge of Thompson’s nose.
On any other night, it might have hurt. But Thompson, no doubt, was feeling no pain.


  1. Harmotto, reach OVER the net when you block and stop worrying about helping Courtney! She can block just fine, thank you.

  2. I was starting to think about the MB position and the possibility of seeing Danielle Scott Aruda given the tenacity she seemed to bring on the offensive side when she was in a couple of matches ago. In some ways I feel like since Harmotto hasn't gotten many sets from Berg, she has assumed this more defensive role and as we saw in the match, CT wants to go to the middles.

  3. It was the Courtney that I remember when she was still in UW. She spreads the sets to everybody and gives variety keeping the other team on their toes. I haven't seen that from Berg as much this tournament.


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