The U.S. Men’s Junior National Team will have a chance this afternoon to win its first medal in World Championship history.
One day after losing in the semifinals, No. 9 United States will play No. 5 Serbia in the World Championship bronze medal match on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The United States prior to this tournament had never reached a World Championship match that had a medal on the line. In addition, its best previous finish at the international tournament was seventh place in 2007.
Check out what to know about this bronze medal match between the United States and Serbia.
[Editor’s note: After this story was posted, the start time for the United States and Serbia was delayed one hour because other matches earlier in the day ran longer than expected. The bronze medal match will begin approximately at 2:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. EST) Wednesday.]
No. 9 United States (4-3) vs. No. 5 Serbia (5-2)
Match vitals: 2:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. EST) in Rio de Janeiro
Follow live: Live stats, Online video
Last medal finish at World Championship: United States (never); Serbia (never)
Current NCAA players on roster: United States (15); Serbia (zero)
What to know: After both teams lost in the semifinals, the United States and Serbia will play each other with the winner earning their country’s first medal finish in the 40-year history of the World Championship. The United States won its opening-round pool and finished in second place in its second-round to make the semifinal for the first time in the tournament’s history. The United States, though, committed a tournament-high 37 errors in its four-game semifinal loss to No. 1 Argentina and was eliminated from gold medal contention. Serbia advanced to the semifinals after going undefeated in its first-round pool and finished its second-round pool in second place. Serbia lost its semifinals match Tuesday to No. 2 Russia in four games, including losing the final game by 12 points. This bronze medal match between the United States and Serbia will also feature two of the top offensive players at the World Championship. BYU All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander leads the United States and is second at the tournament with 121 kills. Serbia outside attacker Aleksandar Atanasijevic leads the World Championship with 143 kills. Sander and Atanasijevic are two of four players at the tournament with more than 100 kills. In addition, both outside attackers are among the five players with at least 10 aces in World Championship play. This is the first time the United States and Serbia have met in the World Championship since playing in the seventh-place consolation match in 2005. Serbia won that match in three games as the United States finished in eighth place — its second best finish at the World Championship before this year’s tournament.