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U.S. women's volleyball team secures Tokyo Olympics bid

AP

The U.S. women’s volleyball team secured its berth to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, beating Argentina in straight sets 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.

“We can be really proud with how we fought through here, especially the challenge that Bulgaria through at us down two sets to one and the nice response we put together,” Kiraly said. “This is huge for the program. Everybody knows that we are going to Tokyo. We got that ticket locked in. We worked really hard for that this year. That helps in the planning, and it makes it that much closer in the distance. It is not that much distance to Tokyo.”