The U.S. women's volleyball team will try to earn the country's first Olympic gold medal in the indoor version of the sport on Saturday, when the top-ranked Americans face No. 2-ranked Brazil in the gold-medal match at 10:30 a.m. (PT) at Earls Court in London.
But Team USA assistant coaches Paula Weishoff and Jamie Morrison, the UC Irvine women's head coach and assistant coach, respectively, are quite familiar with success on the Olympic stage.
Weishoff, in her first Olympics as an assistant coach, represented the U.S. as a player in the 1984, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. She is the only two-time Olympic medalist indoors in USA women's volleyball history, having captured silver in 1984 and bronze in 1992. At both the Los Angeles and Barcelona Games, she was named MVP of the Olympic tournament and the former middle blocker is considered one of the best American women's players ever. She was also named Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee in 1984.
Weishoff played for the 1980 NCAA champion USC team and later was an assistant at the school for national championships in 2002 and 2003.
In five seasons as head coach at Concordia University in Irvine, she guided the Eagles to two NAIA title matches and advanced to the semifinals on two other occasions.
Heading into her third season at UCI, she has been involved in USA volleyball as a coach since 1998.
Weishoff was inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1998 and was named to USA Volleyball's all-era team spanning 1978 through 2002.
Morrison, entering his first season at UCI, was an assistant coach for the U.S. men's team that won a gold medal in 2008 in Beijing. When then-U.S. men's coach Hugh McCutcheon became head coach of the U.S. women after the 2008 Games, Morrison came with him and has been an assistant and technical coordinator for the women's team since 2009.
Morrison was also an assistant to Weishoff at Concordia in 2007 and 2008. In addition, he had stints as an assistant at USC and UC Santa Barbara, working with the men's and women's teams at both schools.
Team USA, which is 7-0 in London and 30-1 this year, defeated Brazil in four games in group play. The Americans have swept their last four opponents, including a semifinal triumph over Korea and a quarterfinal win over the Dominican Republic.
Brazil, which defeated the Americans in the 2008 gold-medal match in Beijing, went 3-2 in group play. The Brazilians then got past Russia in five games in the quarterfinals, before sweeping Japan in the semifinals.
— From staff reports
MEN'S WATER POLO
Former UC Irvine All-Americans Jeff Powers and Ryan Bailey scored three of the Americans' goals Friday, but the U.S. men's water polo team fell to Spain, 8-7, in a fifth-place semifinal at the Olympic Games in London.
With the loss, the U.S. will face Australia in the seventh-place game Sunday.
Powers scored a pair of goals and Bailey one. Powers' first goal came on a power play with 5:17 left in the second quarter to draw the U.S. within 4-2. He scored on a long-distance shot with 6:43 remaining in the fourth quarter to pull the Americans within 6-5.
After Spain built an 8-6 lead late in the game, Bailey scored with 20 seconds left off an assist from UCI alum Tim Hutten for the final goal of the game.
Bailey, a four-time All-American at UCI, is playing in his fourth Olympics.
Powers is playing in his third Olympics, while Hutten is playing in his second.
Team USA also includes Corona del Mar High product John Mann, a first-time Olympian.
Newport Harbor High boys' coach Robert Lynn is an assistant for the U.S.
— From staff reports