After clinching the top seed in the tournament at the London Olympics, the defending champion U.S. men’s volleyball fell to Italy in straight sets in the quarterfinals Wednesday.
Former Cougars Rich Lambourne and Russell Holmes are members of the U.S. team. Lambourne and Holmes started at their respective positions of libero and middle blocker throughout their team's tournament run.
Team USA reached the quarterfinals after topping Tunisia 25-15, 25-19, 25-19 Monday.
The fifth-ranked U.S. men weren’t considered among the medal favorites at the London Games, but they claimed silver in the recent World League tournament before opening the Olympics with dominate straight-set victories over Serbia and Germany.
The U.S. was in control for most of the first set and earned three set points at 24-23, 25-24 and 26-25. But Italy saved all three times as the Americans failed to dig out the Italian kills, then served an ace directly on the back line to claim the set 28-26.
Team USA never seemed to recover, falling behind by four-plus points in both subsequent sets and failing to seriously challenge down the stretch of either.
Since winning back-to-back golds in 1984 and 1988 and a bronze in 1992, Team USA will now go home without a medal for the fourth time in five Olympics.