UCLA’s Quiroga leads Argentina to beat, eliminate USA at World Championship

The U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team’s hopes of getting a medal at the World Championship are officially finished.

No. 9 United States lost to No. 1 Argentina 25-20, 25-19, 28-26 on Sunday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for its second consecutive loss in pool play and failed to advance to the second round of the international tournament.

With this loss, the United States (1-2, 1-2 Pool A) finishes Pool A in third place and will move to the tournament’s consolation pool that will begin Tuesday. Argentina (2-1, 2-1 Pool A) and Bulgaria finished the first round atop the Pool A standings and receive the pool’s two berths to the second round.

Argentina captain and UCLA outside attacker Gonzalo Quiroga had a match-high 27 kills in the victory, including 23 kills in the final two games. It was the most kills a player had against the United States in the team’s three pool-play matches at the World Championship.

Quiroga, a Second-Team All-MPSF selection as a freshman last season, was the only Argentina player to have more than eight kills in the sweep.

Two U.S. players had more than 10 kills in the loss.

Outside attacker and Pepperdine incoming freshman recruit Matthew Tarantino had team-high 14 kills, while outside attacker and Loyola incoming freshman recruit Cody Caldwell had 11 kills. This was the first match at the World Championship that Caldwell did not lead the United States in kills.

Middle attacker and Penn State incoming freshman recruit Aaron Russell had a match-high three blocks, but Argentina out-blocked the United States 7-5.

The best chance for the United States to win a game during the sweep came in the final game.

The United States rallied in the third game to force an overtime before Argentina scored two consecutive points in the overtime session to win the game and the match.

The third game marked the fifth overtime game for the United States at the tournament. The United States is 2-3 in overtime games, including the game three loss to Argentina.

Quiroga had a game-high nine kills as Argentina defeated the United States by six points in the second game. The game-two victory also clinched a spot for Argentina in the second round.

The United States led late in the first game before Argentina went on 6-1 run to take a 22-19 lead and eventually won the opening game.

Tarantino had a game-high five kills in the first game.

The United States failing to reach the second round can now finish no higher than ninth place at the World Championship.

The United States entered this match in third place in Pool A and trailed second-place Argentina for the pool’s final berth to the second round. In its first two pool-play matches, the United States defeated No. 10 Egypt in five games and then lost to No. 15 Bulgaria in four games.

This is the third consecutive time that the United States failed to qualify for the second round since the World Championship changed its tournament format in 2007. The team finished in 15th place at the 2007 World Championship and 10th place at the 2009 World Championship.

The United States has never finished higher than fifth place in the 21-year history of the World Championship.