The nightmare at the World University Games for the United States just got a little bit worse.
After failing to qualify for the quarterfinals, the United States lost its consolation bracket opener to Japan 25-20, 23-25, 28-30, 25-21, 15-11 on Friday in Shenzhen, China. The United States can now finish no better than 13th place at the 16-team international tournament.
The United States entered the biannual tournament after winning the bronze medal at its last World University Games in 2007. However, the United States (3-3) lost two of its final three pool-play matches to fail to advance out of the preliminary round at this year’s tournament.
In the five-game loss, the United States committed a tournament-high 48 errors — 21 more errors than Japan.
Japan out-hit the United States .295 to .292, but four U.S. players finished the match with at least 10 kills.
Former USC outside attacker Murphy Troy had a match-high 21 kills. It was the second time in the last three U.S. matches that Murphy, the 2011 National Player of the Year, led the team in kills.
Former UC Santa Barbara outside attacker Jeff Menzel added 14 kills, while Stanford outside attacker Brad Lawson finished with 12 kills.
In addition, UCLA middle attacker Thomas Amberg had 11 kills and a team-high three blocks. The United States out-blocked Japan 14-10 in the loss.
Outside attacker Shoh Ozawa led Japan with 19 kills and two aces as the team advanced to the semifinals for ninth place.
With this loss, the United States will play Sweden at 1 a.m. (EST) Saturday in the semifinals for 13th place.
Sweden lost its consolation match to Australia in five games on Friday. Sweden is 1-4 at the World University Games with its lone victory coming against winless Hong Kong, China.