US hits setback at World Championship, loses to Serbia

A personal tournament-best performance from BYU opposite Ben Patch was not enough to prevent the United States from getting swept.

Patch had a team-high 13 kills as the United States lost to Serbia 25-23, 25-22, 25-17 on Friday in Turkey for its first preliminary round loss at the FIVB U21 Men’s Junior World Championship.


Patch, an All-American selection and the 2013 AVCA Newcomer of the Year, was the only U.S. player to finish with double-digit kills in the loss. Ohio State middle attacker Driss Guessous had seven kills, while Penn State outside attacker Aaron Russell had five kills with the majority of his kills coming in the opening game loss.

Serbia (1-0, 1-0 Pool C) in the victory had three players finish with at least 10 kills – including Uros Kovacevic who had a match-high 15 kills and two aces against the United States.

The United States began the weekend tied for first place in Pool C following its four-game victory against Rwanda on Thursday in its pool-play opener. With this loss, the United States is now in a four-way tie for first place in Pool C and has two remaining preliminary round matches.

Serbia, No. 2 in the FIVB Junior World Rankings, and the United States, No. 6 FIVB Junior World Rankings, entered this tournament as the two highest ranked teams in Pool C. In addition, this was the first meeting between the United States and Serbia since the two teams met in the bronze medal match at the 2011 World Championship, which Serbia won in four games.

The top four teams in the five-team pool at the end of the preliminary round will advance to the Round of 16 that begins next week.