China is currently the third-ranked women’s volleyball team in the world, but their fourth-place finish in pool play resulted in some overlooking them in the gold medal conversation. Two wins later, the first coming over hosts Brazil, and China is one win away from their second Olympic gold medal in the sport (Beijing, 2008).
WATCH LIVE: Women’s volleyball gold medal match, China vs. Serbia — 9:15 p.m. Eastern
Standing in their way is Serbia, which upset the U.S. in the semifinals after losing to the Americans in four sets in pool play. These two teams met in pool play, with Serbia winning in straight sets, 25-19, 25-19, 25-22. China’s playing better now than they were in pool play (the same can be said of Serbia), so it’s hard to take too much from that first matchup and apply it to the final.
How much will the familiarity help China and Serbia? That’s what remains to be seen.