Former UC Santa Barbara outside attacker Jeff Menzel in his World University Games debut picked up right where he left off from the NCAA postseason.
Menzel had a match-high 15 kills as the United States swept Mexico 25-17, 25-23, 25-15 in its pool-play opener at the World University Games on Friday in Shenzhen, China.
Menzel was one of 12 current or recently graduated college men’s volleyball players selected to represent the United States at the international tournament, after he led the Gauchos to the 2011 NCAA championship match. The senior outside attacker had a more than 100 postseason kills as UC Santa Barbara upset three top-five ranked teams to reach its first Final Four in more than 20 years.
Along with Menzel, former USC outside attacker Murphy Troy had 10 kills in the victory.
Menzel and Troy, the 2011 AVCA National Player of the Year, were the only U.S. players with more than five kills against Mexico.
Mexico outside attacker Ricardo Cordova in the loss had a team-high eight kills.
Both the United States and Mexico finished the match with six blocks. UCLA middle attacker Thomas Amberg and Stanford outside attacker Brad Lawson each had a team-high two blocks.
The United States will continue the five-match pool-play round with a match against Turkey on Saturday.
This is the first time since 2007 that U.S. men’s volleyball team has competed at the World University Games, an event held every two years and comprised of current and recently graduated college students. The United States finished the 2007 tournament in third place.