PLAYING (AND WINNING) ON EMOTION

You get the feeling U.S. volleyball players hope their five-set win
against Venezuela on Sunday offers some small dose of comfort to their
grieving coach.

The Americans blew a two-set lead before beating Venezuela 25-18, 25-18,
22-25, 21-25 and 15-10 at Capital Indoor Stadium.

“It was a very emotional time for us the last 24 hours,” said team
captain Mike Hoff shortly after the win. “We’re playing a volleyball game
out there and nothing compares to the loss that happened to our team, to
USA volleyball, to our entire delegation. Obviously, this is what we all
came here to do, to play, but it’s hard. First and foremost, our prayers go
to the family.”

Hoff also spoke about the conference call team members held with coach
Hugh McCutcheon on Saturday evening, hours after the coach learned his
father-in-law had been murdered at a local tourist spot.

“You know, we are all completely cognizant of the situation,” Hoff said.
“Hugh has to take care of his family. If we see him, if we don’t, we are
all OK with that. He has other priorities now. But he has been the guy the
last four years to build this team up."

The Americans continue pool play Tuesday against Italy.

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