The U.S. Men’s Junior National Team’s goal of capturing its first medal in the 34-year history of the World Championship officially begins this afternoon.
No. 9 United States will play its pool-play opener against No. 15 Bulgaria on Monday in Brazil.
Along with playing Bulgaria, the United States will play the two other teams in Pool A — No. 7 Brazil and No. 13 Japan — later this week. The top two teams in Pool A following the three pool-play matches will advance to the quarterfinals.
The U.S. Men’s Junior National Team is comprised of 15 current college men’s volleyball players and four incoming freshmen.
Check out what to know about the Pool A match between the United States Bulgaria.
No. 9 United States vs. No. 15 Bulgaria
Match vitals: 4 p.m. (3 p.m. EST) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Follow live: Live stats, Online video
Last medal finish at World Championship: United States (never); Bulgaria (2003 bronze)
Current NCAA players on roster: United States (15); Bulgaria (zero)
What to know: For the second time in the last 10 years, the United States and Bulgaria will play each other in the World Championship. The United States qualified for the World Championship after winning the 2010 NORCECA Championship. The team also won exhibition matches against Canada and Argentina last week in preparation for the World Championship. BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander led all U.S. players with a combined 28 kills in the two matches, including a match-high 22 kills against Argentina. Bulgaria, the 2010 European silver medalists, reached the World Championships after going undefeated at the European Qualification tournament in May. This is the first time Bulgaria will play in the World Championship since 2007. Bulgaria in that tournament four years ago defeated the United States in a consolation match to finish in sixth place.