Destinee Hooker Leads Team USA In Win Against Brazil

 

Four years ago at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, the U.S. women’s volleyball team was devastated by a loss to Brazil in the gold-medal match.

On Monday, Team USA got its revenge. The two teams met again for an early-round Olympics rematch, and the U.S. women prevailed—defeating their yellow-and-blue clad rivals and setting the tone for this year’s Games.

How did they pull it off?

By calling in their not-so-secret weapon, former UT volleyball starDestinee Hooker,

The first-time Olympian dominated Monday’s game with a match-high of 22 kills, helping the team to a four-set victory (25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21) over Brazil.

Hooker joined the national team in 2010. In 2011, she was named the MVP of the FIVB World Grand Prix and became the third-best scorer at the World Cup—where the team’s silver-medal finish earned them a spot in London. By the end of that year, Team USA had taken over the top spot in the world rankings, ending Brazil’s four-year run as the world’s No. 1 team.

Before her success on the national stage, the San Antonio native made a name for herself as a Longhorn. When she joined UT’s volleyball team as a freshman in 2006, Hooker, originally a track and field athlete, had little experience. But she quickly became a key player for the team, says Jerritt Elliot, the team’s head coach.

“She’s a phenomenal athlete,” Elliot says. “It’s always rewarding to see our athletes out there representing The University of Texas.”

After graduation, Hooker went straight to play professional volleyball in Korea, Puerto Rico, Italy, and Brazil before landing a spot on the U.S. national team.

“She’s established herself as one of the best in the world right now,” Elliot says. “We’re very excited for her and we’re rooting for her to bring home the gold.”

Team USA will face China today, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. CST. The team will take on Serbia Friday, Aug. 3 and Turkey on Sunday, Aug. 5 in the remaining preliminary-round matches. The final round begins Aug. 6.

See reactions from the Longhorn Nation as Destinee Hooker led the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team to victory over Brazil:


Photos courtesy Matthew Hempel.

 

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