Monday, August 11, 2008

Men's Volleyball Makes Statement with a W; Women's Volleyball Falls Short Despite Crowd Support

Despite the recent fatal stabbing of Coach Hugh McCutcheon's father-in-law, Todd Bachman, the United States men's volleyball team were able to grab a win against Venezuela. Instead of the typical pre-game excitement, the players linked arms and bowed their heads in a moment of silence. Bachman's wife was also injured and is recovering at a hospital in Beijing. The couple have always been adamant supporters of both men's and women's volleyball, regulars at practices and games. Assistant coach Ron Larsen has taken the role of head coach until McCutcheon returns. The team got off to a strong start, taking the 1st and 2nd sets, but faltered in the 3rd and 4th. They were able to seal the victory with a score of 15-10 in the 5th set. The U.S. men's volleyball team is ranked 3rd in the world behind Brazil and Russia while Venezuela is 20th, but I'm still impressed that they were able to focus and pull off the victory considering the circumstances. McCutcheon's wife played on the 2004 women's volleyball Olympic team, and 8 of her teammates are on this year's team, so the players were very emotional as they stepped on the court for their game. The arena was packed with fans cheering for them, but they were swept by 3rd-ranked Cuba. Despite the loss, if the 4th-ranked U.S. squad can win against 29th-ranked Venezuela, they will likely get into the elimination round. Unforeseen circumstances like this demand a great deal of mental strength. Let's hope both teams have it in them.

R.I.P. Todd Bachman