The path for the United States to win the Junior World Championship just got a lot more challenging.
The United States lost its second consecutive preliminary round match as it was upset by Tunisia 25-23, 25-19, 16-25, 25-21 on Sunday in Turkey at the FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship.
With the loss, the United States (1-2, 1-2 Pool C) dropped to fourth place in its pool and now faces a must-win situation in its preliminary round finale to avoid getting the lowest seed for the playoff round.
Loyola outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke, BYU opposite Ben Patch and Ohio State outside attacker Michael Henchy all led the United States with 10 kills against Tunisia (2-2, 2-2 Pool C). This was the first time during the tournament that three U.S. players finished a match with double-digit kills.
Tunisia outside attacker Garfi Elyes in the victory had a match-high 11 kills.
Tunisia’s preliminary-round victory was also its first win against the United States (1-2, 1-2 Pool C) in the 36-year history of the World Championship.
The United States in the loss out-blocked Tunisia 11-6, including Long Beach State middle attacker Taylor Gregory having a match-high three blocks.
Despite this loss, the United States clinched a spot in the Round of 16 earlier this weekend following Serbia’s sweep against last-place Rwanda.
The top four teams in each four pool advance to the Round of 16 at the international tournament. The United States, though, must win its pool-play finale against Canada in at least four games Monday to avoid likely playing to the defending-tournament champions Russia in the Round of 16.
In addition, the United States still has a chance to finish Pool C in second place if it sweeps Canada (2-1, 2-1 Pool C).
Serbia (3-0, 3-0 Pool C) defeated Canada in four games Sunday to remain undefeated in the preliminary round and clinch the Pool C championship.
This will be the first meeting between Canada and the United States since the 2012 NORCECA Men’s Junior Continental Championship, which the United States won in four games.