Japan big comeback knocks off U.S. in World Games opener

The United States couldn’t close-out Japan in its World University Games opener, despite the offensive performance from opposite Miles Johnson.

The former Ohio State All-American finished with a match-high 27 kills as the United States surrendered a two-game lead in a 23-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 15-9 loss to Japan on Sunday in Taipei.

Along with Johnson, the United States (1-0 Pool A) had three players with double-digit kills. UCLA All-American outside attacker Jake Arnitz had 13 kills, while Ohio State middle attacker Blake Leeson added 11 kills and zero attack errors on a team-high .733 attack percentage.

Japan in its comeback victory had a better offensive efficiency than the United States at 34.78 percent to 32.19 percent. In addition, outside attacker Kenya Fujinaka led Japan (0-1 Pool A) with 18 kills and outside attacker Takahiko Imamura had 14 kills.

Imamura also was one of six Japanese players to have an ace against the United States.

Johnson had the only U.S. ace as the team committed 24 service errors — 14 more errors than Japan.

Japan out-blocked the United States 10 to 8. However, former Long Beach State All-American middle attacker Amir Lugo Rodriguez finished with a match-high five blocks.

Stanford libero Evan Enriques also led the United States defensively with 10 digs.

This was the first of four pool-play matches for the United States. The United States will continue the tournament as it players Chinese Taipei on Monday.