After winning their first two sets in dominant fashion, the U.S. women’s volleyball team appeared set to cruise to yet another Olympic victory in Tokyo.
But then the tables turned. The U.S. blew its two-set lead before rebounding in a nail-biting fifth-set tiebreaker to defeat Turkey 25-19, 25-20, 17-25, 20-25, 15-12, in a match that took just over two hours.
"We work so hard to be a collective group of 12,” American Annie Drews told NBC’s Heather Cox afterward. “And I really think that shows in these big moments. We take a big deep breath, we make eye contact and we play for each other.”
Drews led the Americans with five points in the tiebreaker.
The win was the Americans' third straight victory in Pool B and ensures them a spot in the quarterfinals. The Americans previously defeated Argentina and China, the defending Olympic champion. Team USA is seeking its first gold medal in women's volleyball.
Italy also remains undefeated in Pool B.
Led by sensation Jordan Thompson, in her Olympic debut, the Americans dominated the first two sets against Turkey. But Turkey, facing the U.S. for only the second time in Olympic history, rallied back and to take the next two sets.
In the tiebreaker, The U.S. and Turkey exchanged multi-point runs and several missed serves before the Americans prevailed.