LONDON (AP) -- If Olympic gold were given for pluckiness Great Britain's women's volleyball team would surely stand atop the podium.
With government funding cut, the women took it upon themselves to raise money to prepare for the London Games. They went to schools for help, got local sponsors, and organized fundraisers.
"I think the team that we have here, the spirit, just the sheer passion that we have on this team is very special," wing spiker Lynne Beattie said. "We're a resilient team. We've persevered through lots of highs and lows and that shows on the court sometimes."
Few expected the British women to win even a set, so the victory was off the charts.
The United States, 3-0 in pool play and already into the quarterfinals, take on Serbia on Friday. The Americans are the top-ranked team in the world and among the favorites to medal in London. They've never won an Olympic gold medal in women's indoor volleyball.
The No. 69-ranked British team, which trained for the Olympics at a small firehouse gym in the northern county of Yorkshire earned a berth in the Olympics as the host nation.
Women's volleyball has never been a popular sport in Great Britain, so the team's goal in the games was to build a legacy, coach Audrey Cooper said.
"I think without question every single one of them, and as a unit, we've done that," she said. "We've inspired lots of kids hopefully to take up our sport."
On Wednesday, Britain challenged Italy in the first set to the thrill of the home crowd at Earl's Court. The Italians responded to the threat and took the match 3-0.
"It's a shame we didn't take the set because I thought we worked hard to get ourselves in a position to do so, Cooper said.
"We always think it's possible," she said. "We got that win Monday night that no one expected."
Getting money for the team seemed out of reach two years ago when it lost government funding. It's self-funded now, after the players sponsored a charity bike ride and even called potential sponsors for help themselves.
Will the team's performance bring back some government support for the team? Cooper is hopeful and said her team's performance in the games and in upcoming competitions will give those making such decisions a chance to reconsider.
"That's all we can do is let our volleyball do the talking," she said. "I think that we can do some special things in the future."
But first there is the Dominican Republic.
"They know us a little bit and we sure as heck have been scouting them for the last year, so it's going to be a massive match," Cooper said. "We need everyone to get behind us on Friday. We're going to need that."
Associated Press writer Betsy Blaney can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/betsyblaney