The march for gold: Previewing women’s volleyball semifinals

The march for gold: Previewing women's volleyball semifinals

The field got just a bit easier for everybody in the women’s volleyball tournament now that the Brazilian fans have largely been taken out of the equation.

With China’s stunning upset over Brazil in the quarterfinals Tuesday night, the crowd’s impact has greatly lessened as four Pool B teams compete for a shot at the gold medal match.

USA and Serbia square off in the first match of the day at Noon ET.

The Netherlands and China have the nightcap starting at 9:15 p.m. ET.

The winner of each heads to the gold medal match Saturday while the losers of Thursday’s contests play in the bronze medal match.

Both Serbia and the Netherlands are in unchartered territory, down to the final four for the first time in their country’s history.

China took the bronze in 2008 and the gold in ’04. The Chinese squad is also the only team of the four remaining to have won a gold medal, coming more than three decades ago at the 1984 Olympics.

The U.S. has advanced to the gold medal game each of the past two Olympics (2012, 2008) only to lose to Brazil.

But that Brazil team is already eliminated so one thing is for sure: There will be a new world champion at the 2016 Rio Games.

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