LONDON >> Coach Hugh McCutcheon made a special point of seeking out captain Lindsey Berg for a quick hug after the U.S. women’s volleyball team advanced to the gold medal match at the London Olympics.
The Americans got an emotional boost from Berg, the Punahou graduate who returned for a straight-set semifinal victory over South Korea on Thursday after missing the last match with a strained left Achilles.
"It’s game time and I feel great, and I don’t care how I feel after Saturday," Berg said, referring to the final, a rematch of 2008 Olympic finale against Brazil.
The U.S. women settled for the silver medal in Beijing, falling 3-1 to Brazil. The team has won silver twice and bronze once since volleyball joined the Olympics in 1964.
But the gold has eluded them.
The United States, ranked No. 1 in the world by the sport’s international governing body, has rolled undefeated through London, dropping only two sets. Destinee Hooker scored 24 points in the 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 win over South Korea at Earls Court.
Berg, a three-time Olympian, hurt her leg in the Americans’ final preliminary-round match against Turkey on Sunday. The United States was tightlipped about when the setter might return because that could have given opponents an advantage.
Berg warmed up before the team’s straight-set victory the Dominican Republic in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, but didn’t play.
There was no holding Berg out of another one.