Brazil completed a sweep of their preliminary round matches on Monday to top Pool A, while the United States succeeded in their tie-break encounter with Italy to win Pool B at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at Ariake Arena.

Brazil marched to the quarterfinals with a 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-8) win over Kenya.

Roberta Ratzke did an excellent job in directing the plays for the South American squad, as she involved most of her teammates in scoring.

Ana Carolina benefitted most from Roberta’s set up plays with eight attacks, then added two blocks and two aces in her 12-point top scoring game.


Outside hitters Tandara Caixeta and Gabi Guimaraes scored seven points apiece and middle blockers Carol Gattaz and Rosamaria Montibeller had six points each to overwhelm their opponents, who had Sharon Chepchumba Kiprono earning the most points against the Brazilian defenders with eight markers.

USA overcame another tough obstacle in Tokyo, as they prevailed in a five-setter with Italy 3-2 (21-25, 25-16, 25-27, 25-16, 15-12) courtesy of solid performances by hitters Annie Drews, Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and Jordan Larson, and middle blockers Haleigh Washington and Foluke Akinradewo.

The five USA players produced double digit performances, with Drews top scoring with 22 points, Larson and Bartsch-Hackley adding 17 and 13 from the flanks, and Akinradewo and Washington with 11 and 10, including four blocks each in the match.


“We were ready for battle against a fantastic team. We knew it would take everything we had, and it could go down to the wire like it did. We would love everyone to be healthy, but we are 12-strong and adjusted accordingly,” Drews said.

On the Italian side, Paola Egonu had a match-high of 28 and Caterina Bosetti scored 12, but the rest of the team were limited to score in single digits.

After splitting wins in the first two sets, USA led in the third when they were hit with another unfortunate incident as main setter Jordyn Poulter went down with a sprained ankle. USA tried to keep their focus and succeeded in the next plays, but the Italians were persistent and snatched a win with a two-point edge at 27-25.

Micha Hancock kept the team offence going setting up brilliant plays to the team's hitters, while Larson showed great leadership on the floor with her all-around game. USA’s highly organised offence led the way as the team won the next two sets and the match.

“Jordyn Poulter is going to head off to get an MRI and x-ray. We will know more in five hours,” USA coach Karch Kiraly said.

“And about Jordan Thompson, she is doing the therapy and crushing it. There is some hope that she would get back to play part of this tournament. We don’t know if that’s in two days or if we can win our quarterfinal match and play after that. We will adapt and compensate for either scenario.”

Italy’s five-set loss to USA put them into second in Pool B, while Serbia’s straight-set win placed them as runners-up in Pool A.

Serbia served their way to their fourth win, as Maja Ognjenovic and Bianka Busa scored four aces each in the 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-15) victory over Korea

Serbia had a total of 13 service aces – the most aces scored by a team in a single Olympic Games match (and in just three sets). The European team tied the record set by Algeria in their five-set defeat to Great Britain at London 2012.

Serbia also performed well in other scoring skill categories with 39 attacks and 10 blocks.


Tijana Boskovic played a calm and laidback game against Korea to help ease their way to the quarterfinals with a 13-point performance. Boskovic, who is the leading scorer in the tournament, had plenty of scoring support as other Serbian players saw action in the match.

Milena Rasic accompanied Boskovic’s scoring rhythm and added 12 points in the Serbian victory, while Kim Yeon Koung, who came off a 30-point performance against Japan, led the Korean team again in scoring with nine markers.

“This is a good victory for us because we won it in three. I am really happy with the team’s performance today and I am excited to be in the quarterfinals,” Boskovic said.

“Likewise, I am satisfied with my performance so far in the competition. I am improving game by game because we did not play together for almost two years, but I feel good, and the most important thing is that I am healthy and ready.”

Turkey’s five-set victory over ROC fixed USA and Italy’s positions as the first- and second-ranked teams in Pool B, but the two points they earned in their win improved their position against their opponents who moved down to the fourth position.

“It is important to finish the round in our group with a win. We finished the match very strong in all aspects, especially in the fifth set and we pushed ourselves to win against a strong opponent. This was a great opportunity to improve our own game,” Turkey captain Eda Erdem said.

The wing players of both teams started the match with a trade of points that went in favour of ROC, but Turkey responded with back-to-back set wins as Meryem Boz splurged on an attack spree, scoring 12 of her 22 total points.

Russia extended the match with Arina Fedorovtseva and Irina Voronkova’s heroics in the fourth set, as the youngster and veteran outside hitters drilled the opponent’s defence from the attack and service lines.

Turkey regained their momentum and led throughout the fifth set, but the play had a long pause when Cansu Ozbay and Meliha Ismailoglu had a collision while trying to keep the ball in play. After being replaced, the two players returned and helped Turkey seal their match victory.

“Cansu (Ozbay) and Meliha (Ismailoglu) collided in the fifth set. Cansu is OK, but Meliha had broken teeth in this incident. But they returned and continued playing. This rarely happens in a game and it made us worry, but we finally felt at ease when they said they wanted to play again,” Erdem recounted.

The Dominican Republic’s offence and defence were in perfect synchrony in their do-or-die match against hosts Japan. The Dominicans recorded a 3-1 (25-10, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19) victory to hold on to the remaining spot in the quarterfinals. The NORCECA side finished fourth in their Pool B with two victories in five matches.

Prisila Rivera went for a solid offensive performance as she drilled 17 points from the attack line. Jineiry Martinez, Bethania Dela Cruz and Brayelin Martinez recorded 16, 14 and 12 points to break through the Japanese defence. Dela Cruz was the defensive leader who scored five of Dominican Republic’s 11 blocks in the match.

Sarina Koga was the lone player that got the Japanese offence going, scoring 22 points, while other hitters Ai Kurogo and Mayu Ishikawa were marked by the Dominican defenders. Kurogo finished second in scoring for Japan with 11 points, while Ishikawa only made eight.


“It was tough because both teams wanted to be in the quarterfinals. There were a lot of responsibilities to take care of in this match, but we developed really well with great focus, and played with comfort and trust in our game,” Dominican Republic captain Prisila Rivera said.

“We know that the rhythm of their play is in their defence and they will make us tired using that, so we used our power to overcome that and win the match.”

Meanwhile, Rio 2016 gold medallists China ended their Tokyo 2020 campaign on a positive note with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-19) win over Argentina.

Zhang Changning led China with 18 points, then young star Li Yingying added 14 markers. Erika Mercado helped her Argentina with 13, but the Asian powerhouse had an overwhelming performance with 43 attacks, nine blocks and six aces.

After their match, Lang Ping gave her statement about the team’s journey and her prized hitters – Zhu Ting and Li Yingying.

“I think we had a great time in the last eight years. We grew our following because the team has been doing very well. Hopefully in Paris 2024, the team will come back, play better and win again,” Lang Ping said.


“This has been a difficult year for Zhu Ting because her injury has become heavier for her. She has consulted a doctor already and she was advised to get surgery. After her surgery, we don’t know how long her recovery will be. Everyone in the team always wishes for her to recover and return to the volleyball court soon.

“I have seen Li Yingying improve a lot as a player ever since she joined the team. She is still very young and she has a great future ahead of her.”