Thailand knocks USA out of medal contention at World Games
The United States hopes of winning the World University Games men’s volleyball gold medal have ended in the preliminary round.
The United States lost to Thailand 25-15, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23 on Wednesday in Shenzhen, China in its pool-play finale and failed to qualify for the quarterfinals.
The top two teams in each pool following the five-match pool-play round advanced to the quarterfinals of the international tournament.
This match between the United States (3-2, 3-2 Pool D) and Thailand (4-1, 4-1 Pool D) was a defacto elimination match. Both teams entered the pool-play finale tied for the second place in Pool D and the winner was assured a spot in the quarterfinals.
The United States committed 35 errors in the four-game loss — 17 more errors than Thailand. In addition, Thailand out-hit the United States .444 to .324.
Thailand outside attacker Jirayu Raksakaew finished with a match-high 28 kills.
Stanford outside attacker Brad Lawson led the United States with 13 kills — the first time the All-American had more than 10 kills in a match during the pool-play round.
Lawson was one of two U.S. players to finish the match with double-digit kills. Former USC outside attacker Murphy Troy had 12 kills and a team-high two aces.
Former UC Santa Barbara outside attacker Jeff Menzel also added nine kills in the loss.
Along with Thailand, the Czech Republic advanced out of Pool D and received a berth to the quarterfinals. The Czech Republic (5-0, 5-0 Pool D) finished in first place to get a top seed in the quarterfinals and is one of four teams still undefeated at the World University Games.
With this loss, the United States will move into the consolation bracket and will play for ninth-16th place at the tournament.
The United States will play its consolation bracket opener against Japan at 3 a.m. (EST) Friday.