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Olympics: Will Lindsey Berg play tonight?


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LONDON >> Lindsey Berg got dressed and warmed up before the U.S. women’s volleyball team faced the Dominican Republic in the Olympic quarterfinals on Tuesday night.

Then the starting setter and team captain watched the Americans’ 25-14, 25-21, 25-22 victory.

Now the status of Berg’s injured left ankle is the main question hovering over the United States heading into its final-four game against South Korea tonight.

The three-time Olympian from Hawaii wants to play.

“And if I don’t I’m confident that my team can do it,” Berg said. “Obviously I want to play but I can’t be selfish and not have the best person out there that should be out there at the moment.”

Berg hurt her ankle during the Americans’ final preliminary-round match against Turkey on Sunday, and the U.S. has been tightlipped about the timetable for her return, thinking it could give its opponents a competitive advantage.

She did not appear to be favoring the leg when she warmed up before the match against the Dominican Republic, but first-time Olympian Courtney Thompson got the start.

“It’s never easy to come in and save the day,” Berg said. “(Thompson) did great.”

A USA Volleyball spokesman said Wednesday that Berg has been getting treatment “constantly.”

South Korea beat No. 4 Italy in four sets Tuesday to advance. It played the United States in the preliminary round and lost in four sets.

But South Korean spiker Kim Yeon-koung, the tournament’s leading scorer with 165 points, said she and her teammates are more prepared to face the Americans this time.

“Everyone knows the U.S. is a very strong team, but if we prepare ourselves for the best, I think we have a chance,” she said through a translator after South Korea’s quarterfinal win.

South Korea went 2-3 in the preliminary round, sweeping Brazil and beating Serbia 3-1. It lost to China, Turkey and the United States.

The U.S. is counting on Destinee Hooker to offset Kim’s scoring power. Hooker is playing in her first Olympics and is the tournament’s third-leading scorer with 123 points.

The U.S. women have never won a gold medal in indoor volleyball. The team fell just short at the Beijing Games, taking home the silver after falling in the final against Brazil.

The U.S. women beat Brazil 3-1 in a preliminary-round match last week.

U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon, who took over the women’s team after guiding the American men to a gold medal in 2008, said he was pleased with Thompson’s play in the quarterfinal victory.

“There were a couple of times we weren’t quite in rhythm but for 95 percent of the match we played quite nicely,” he said. “And that’s what we expect. I mean Courtney’s on this team because she’s an Olympian, and she can set.”

The other semifinal pits defending champion and top-ranked Brazil against No. 5 Japan. The Brazilians edged No. 9 Russia 3-2 Tuesday, and Japan upset No. 3 China in five sets.

The Japanese had never even taken a set from China at any Olympics before Tuesday’s match.

Brazil has reached the semifinals in the last seven Olympics. The team’s only gold medal came at the Beijing Games when it went undefeated.

McCutcheon was asked whether the level of his team’s play against the Dominicans without Berg was good enough to win gold.

“That’s a good question. A lot of that has to do with our opponent,” he said. “Tonight, obviously, we got better at dealing with having to play without our starting setter. That’s a pretty big deal in a quarterfinal of an Olympic match. But I thought our team responded to that challenge very well.”

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