USC middle attacker Andy Benesh even in an U.S. near-comeback loss was difficult to contain both on offense and defense.
Benesh had a team-high 17 kills and six blocks as the United States rallied a two-game deficit before losing to Argentina 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 22-25, 15-10 in its FIVB U-21 World Championship pool-play opener on Friday in Mexico.
The United States (0-1, 1 point) in the decisive fifth game overcame an early deficit and trailed 10-9. However, Argentina (1-0, 2 points) closed out the match on a 5-1 run to win the match.
Despite the loss, the U.S. comeback to force a fifth game resulted in the team earning one point in the Pool B standings and move in third place at the end of the opening day of the international tournament.
Benesh led all players with a 62.69 percent hitting efficiency and was one of three U.S. players to have double-digit kills. Hawai’i outside attacker Kupono Fey and UCLA Freshmen All-American outside attacker J.T. Hatch each had 11 kills against Argentina.
Hatch also added 11 digs, while UC Santa Barbara Freshmen All-American libero Hayden Boehle had a team-high 12 digs.
Outside attacker Bruno Limo in the victory finished with a match-high 20 kills.
Argentina overcame 38 errors in its tournament opener — 11 more errors than the United States. In addition, the United States out-blocked Argentina 10 to 9, including having multiple blocks from Benesh and Loyola Freshmen All-American middle attacker Jeff Jendryk.
With this loss, the United States will play Poland on Saturday in a near must-win pool play match to remain in contention for the pool championship. Poland in its opener lost in three games to first-place Russia.