USA sweeps UAE, stays alive for berth to World Games quarterfinals
It did not take long for the United States to regain any confidence it lost and remain alive for the gold medal at the World University Games.
One day after losing its first match of the tournament, the United States swept the United Arab Emirates 25-21, 25-13, 25-20 on Tuesday in Shenzhen, China to stay in contention for a spot in the quarterfinals.
The top two teams from each pool at the end of the five-match pool-play round will advance to the quarterfinals.
With this victory, the United States (3-1, 3-1 Pool D) moves into a tie with Thailand (3-1, 3-1 Pool D) for second place in the pool. The two teams will play each other in a defacto elimination match Wednesday to close out the preliminary round.
Former USC outside attacker Murphy Troy had a match-high 11 kills against the United Arab Emirates (0-4, 0-4 Pool D).
This was the first time in the United States’ four pool-play matches that former UC Santa Barbara outside attacker Jeff Menzel did not lead the team in kills. Menzel finished the match with five kills, the third-most kills for the United States.
UCLA middle attacker Thomas Amberg added six kills in the victory.
Amberg also had a match-high three aces as the United States finished with seven aces — five more than the United Arab Emirates.
United Arab Emirates outside attacker Rashed Hassan had a team-high seven kills and two blocks in the loss.
All three of the United States’ victories at the World University Games have been sweeps. The United States swept Mexico and Turkey to open the tournament before losing to the Czech Republic in five games Monday.
Both the United States and Thailand (3-1, 3-1 Pool D) enter the final day of pool play trailing first-place Czech Republic (4-0, 4-0 Pool D) in the standings.
The Czech Republic defeated Thailand in four games on Tuesday to clinch one of the two Pool D spots in the quarterfinals.
The United States will play Thailand for the other quarterfinals berth in their pool-play finale at 6 a.m. (EST) Wednesday.