BYU’s Garcia powers Puerto Rico past U.S. for big World Championship win

The offensive dominance of BYU outside attacker Gabriel Garcia was on full display against the United States at the FIVB U19 World Championship.

Garcia had a match-high 26 kills on a 54.17 percent offensive efficiency as Puerto defeated the United States 25-20, 21-25, 30-28, 25-23 in the 13th-place semifinals on Saturday in Bahrain.

Garcia was the only Puerto Rican player to finish with more than seven kills against the United States (3-4). In addition, the BYU incoming freshman contributed a team-high two aces to help Puerto Rico (2-5) end its five-match losing streak.

This was the second match at the World Championship that Garcia had at least 20 kills. Garcia led all players with 26 kills in a the team’s tournament-opening victory versus Tunisia.

Despite the loss, the United States had a better offensive efficiency than Puerto Rico at 47.01 percent to 45.00 percent.

UC Irvine outside attacker Joel Schneidmiller ended with a team-high 18 kills to extend his streak to seven consecutive matches with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Jerod Nelsen also led the United States with 18 kills, while Stanford opposite Jasper Jaylen added nine kills.

Puerto Rico out-blocked the United States 14 to 9. However, U.S. middle attacker Anthony Matheney led the team with five blocks.

The United States because of injuries had a nine-player active roster for thid mstch. It also was the fourth straight loss for the United States after starting the tournament 3-0, including a victory against Puerto Rico in the opening round.

With this loss, the United States will play Cuba in the 15th-place match on Sunday to conclude the World Championship.