The U.S. women's team began the Games with golden aspirations. Now the Americans will have a tough time even making it to the medal round.
Ekaterina Gamova had 28 points and the match-winning kill to lead powerful Russia to a five-set victory over the United States, 20-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-18, 15-11.
The Russians (3-1) clinched a spot in the quarterfinals and will finish the pool-play portion of the tournament against China tomorrow.
The Americans (1-3) must beat three-time defending gold medalist Cuba to advance. The Cubans clinched a berth in the medal round with a three-set victory over the Dominican Republic, and China did the same by sweeping Germany.
"I don't think there's something missing," libero Stacy Sykora said. "I just think we got off to a bad start. We just couldn't get the momentum going."
Brazil, the tournament's only unbeaten team, sealed a spot in the quarterfinals with a sweep of Greece. South Korea and Italy also ensured themselves of advancement with victories over Japan and Kenya, respectively.
The Greeks and Japanese are in contention for the final Pool A berth.
Russia, which has four players back from the team that took silver at the 2000 Sydney Games, has won eight medals (including six by the old Soviet Union) since the sport debuted at the 1964 Games. That's the most by a women's team from any country.