UC Irvine recruit powers U.S. past Bahrain in U19 World Championship opener

It didn’t take long for UC Irvine recruit Joel Schneidmiller to have a big offensive performance at the FIVB U19 World Championship.

Schneidmiller finished with a team-high 21 kills as the United States defeated the host nation Bahrain 28-26, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23 in its pool-play opener on Saturday.

“We were pretty nervous heading into this game, especially since we were playing the hots,” Schneidmiller said in the postmatch news conference. “We knew there was going to be a big crowd, so it really helps a lot for us to come out and get this win.”

The outside attacker playing in front of a road crowd of 1,000 people also led the United States with a 48.84 percent offensive efficiency and was one of two players with double-digit kills. Stanford opposite Jaylen Jasper added 16 kills against Bahrain (1-1, 3 points Pool A).

USC setter Chris Hall had a match-high 28 excellent assists and guided the United States to a better offensive efficiency than Bahrain at 40.60 percent to 37.40.

Opposite Hasan Mohamed led all players with 24 kills but was the only Bahrain player to have more than seven kills.

The United States (1-0, 3 points Pool A) in the victory out-blocked Bahrain 14 to 5, including Stanford middle attacker Kyler Presho having a match-high four blocks. Persho was one of five U.S. players to have multiple blocks in the team’s first for four pool-play matches.

Ohio State libero Parker Mikesch also led the United States defensively with nine digs, while Schneidmiller and Jasper both contributed four digs.

With this victory, the United States moves into first place in Pool A. In addition, Bahrain, Egypt and the United States all have three points in the standings.

The United States will continue pool-play with a match against fourth-place Puerto Rico (1-1, 2 points Pool A) on Sunday. Puerto Rico after beating Tunisia in its tournament opener on Friday lost to Egypt in four games on Saturday.