UCLA recruit Ma’a stellar serving lifts U.S. past China

UCLA recruit Micah Ma’a even coming off the bench in the United States’ tournament-finale continued to be more than efficient from the service line.

Ma’a had a match-high five aces as the United States swept China 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 on Sunday in Argentina to finish the FIVB Youth World Championship in seventh place.



Along with helping secure the victory, Ma’a finished the international event leading all players with 32 aces during tournament. Ma’a, who was the U.S. starting setter for every match but the finale, also was second at the tournament with a 1.03 aces per game average.

The United States (6-2) in its sweep had 11 aces — 10 more aces than China. In addition, Ma’a and Long Beach State recruits Kyle Ensing and Joshua Tuaniga each had multiple aces.

Outside attacker Reese Devilbliss finished with an ace and team-high 12 kills. Ensing and Pepperdine recruit Michael Wexter also each added six kills against China (4-4).

Chinese outside attacker Yuantai Yu in the loss had a match-high 14 kills.

With this victory, this team tied the 1995 U.S. team for the nation’s best finish at the Youth World Championship. It is also third time in its seven appearances at the tournament that the United States finished in top 10.

The United States opened the Youth World Championship going undefeated in the group-play stage and swept Mexico in the Round 16 to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in the nation’s history. The team in the quarterfinals, though, lost in three games to Russia and dropped into the consolation bracket where it lost to Brazil before beating China.