US women’s volleyball team secures Tokyo Olympics bid

BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) — The U.S. women’s volleyball team has secured its berth to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, beating Argentina in straight sets Sunday at a Tokyo Women’s Volleyball Qualification Tournament.

Coach Karch Kiraly’s third-ranked Americans went unbeaten in Pool C of qualifying this weekend, rallying from a set down and again from a 2-1 deficit Saturday night to beat 16th-ranked Bulgaria before a 25-22, 25-17, 25-13 victory over No. 11 Argentina.

The U.S. has never won an Olympic gold medal, capturing bronze in the Rio Games three years ago. Now, the Americans have qualified a year out — a different path than during the last Olympic cycle when they had to win a second qualifying event in January 2016 at Lincoln, Nebraska, after missing out with two losses at the 2015 World Cup in Japan as just the top two teams from that event secured bids then to Rio.

This deep U.S. squad has some familiar Olympic veterans with a mix of young players. The Americans beat No. 23 Kazakhstan in straight sets Friday.

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Sunday’s match was delayed by about 30 minutes by a power outage in the arena.

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