No. 9 USA can’t upset No. 4 Iran, loses 2nd-round opener at World Championship
The troubles for the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team at the World Championship have continued into the second round.
No. 9 United States committed 29 errors as it lost to No. 4 Iran 25-21, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18 in its consolation bracket second-round opener on Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Along with committing 10 less than errors than the United States (1-3, 0-1 Pool H), Iran out-blocked the United States 14-8 in the victory.
Iran’s Shahab Ahmadi and Damnabi Pourya Fayazi each had a match-high five blocks. Middle attacker and Penn State incoming freshman recruit Aaron Russell had a team-high four block and was the lone U.S. player with multiple blocks against Iran.
U.S. outside attacker Benjamin Patch had a match-high 17 kills in the loss. Patch, who will be a high school senior this year and is the youngest player on the U.S. roster, started the match after seeing limited playing time in the first round of the tournament.
In addition to Patch, outside attacker Gregg Petty — an incoming freshman recruit for Lewis — had nine kills, while outside attacker Scott Rhein — an incoming freshman recruit for Pepperdine — had eight kills.
Cody Caldwell, the Volleyball Magazine High School Player of the Year, came off the bench midway through the third game and ended the match with four kills. Caldwell, an incoming freshman recruit for Loyola, entered the match leading the United States in kills and started in all three of the team’s first-round matches.
Fayazin led Iran (3-1, 1-0 Pool H) with 17 kills in the victory.
Fayazin also had a match-high three aces as Iran finished the match with eight aces, the most aces the United States has allowed in a single match during the tournament.
With this loss, the United States extends its losing streak at the international tournament to three matches.
After winning its first-round pool-play opener against No. 10 Egypt, the United States lost to No. 15 Bulgaria and No. 1 Argentina to finish in last place in its pool and failed to qualify for the second round. The United States in the consolation second-round bracket can finish the 16-team international tournament no better than ninth place.
Iran entered the second round after finishing in a three-way tie for first place in its first-round pool but lost the tie-breaker and did not advance to the second round.
The consolation second-round is comprised of three pool-play matches. The top two teams in each of two consolation pools at the end of the second round will advance to play for ninth place.
The United States will continue its second round pool-play with a match against No. 2 Russia on Thursday.