Hodge gets silver medal
Published: August 13, 2012
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LONDON - An up-and-down volleyball tournament came to an end and its conclusion was not what she had anticipated, but Megan Hodge took another look at the Olympic medal wrapped around her neck and it all started to sink in.
Hodge, a St. Thomas native, and the top-ranked United States women's volleyball team were upset by Brazil in Saturday's final and will leave London with a silver medal.
"It was just a great honor to be here," said Hodge, who finished with six points on four kills, one block and one ace in the 3-1 loss to Brazil at Earls Court in central London.
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you can't take it for granted. So many things went into this over the past four years, and for the girls that come back, its going to make us even more hungry."
Hodge entered Saturday's match in the third set and provided an immediate lift with several digs off Brazilian serves as the 6-foot-3 outside hitter also had a constant presence at the net.
She started the fourth set before getting substituted midway through. In the team's quarterfinal and semifinal wins, Hodge did not see action.
"Sure I could have played more in this tournament," said Hodge, who was a four-time NCAA All-American at Penn State University and plays professionally in Europe. "But these girls on this team have a strong group and have been playing together for a long time. Our coach likes to go with what's working."
U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon said the team has plenty of offensive weapons and when team passing started to stray, he looked to Hodge to provide a spark.
"Megan is just a phenomenal person and athlete," said McCutcheon, whose team cruised into the gold-medal match with seven straight wins. "She is a strong component to this. I may not be here, but I do hope Megan is a part of this program's future."
After being used sparingly in the first two matches of the tournament, Hodge broke out with a team-high 18 points off the bench to lead the Americans to a three-set sweep of China last week. It was Hodge's Olympic debut and her best performance of the tournament.
Her professional season starts in September, so there won't be much down time.
"As for my future with this team, I just don't know right now," Hodge said. "The pro season starts soon so I will focus on that for now and then I will see where my future takes me. Maybe I will be in Rio, but that is a long way away."
Hodge said she also hopes to return to St. Thomas and St. John for a visit with family before she goes back to Europe in September.
For the U.S., it was their third Olympic Games title match but the search for a gold medal continues. The team had golden dreams dashed for silver in losses to Brazil at the 2008 Beijing Games and to China at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Team USA now has four overall Olympic women's volleyball medals, a tally that also includes a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
- Contact sports writer Aaron Gray at 714-9102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.