UC Irvine recruit spearheads U.S. sweep of Cuba in World Championship finale

UC Irvine outside attacker Joel Schneidmiller closed out his time at the FIVB U19 World Championship in style.

Schneidmiller finished with both a match-high 17 kills and four blocks as the United States swept Cuba 25-20, 25-19, 26-24 in the 15th-place finals on Sunday in Bahrain.

The UC Irvine incoming freshman ended the World Championship with double-digit kills in all eight of the U.S. matches. In addition, Schneidmiller concluded the bi-annual international event leading the United States (4-4) and in the tournament’s top 10 with 117 kills.

Schneidmiller had a team-best 56.67 percentage offensive efficiency against Cuba to improve his overall offensive efficiency to 52.23 percent, which was the third best among all players at the World Championship.

Along with his offensive performance, Schneidmiller by himself had double the amount of Cuban blocks and helped the United States out-blocked Cuba 9 to 2.

UC Irvine outside attacker recruit Jonny Bowles added eight kills and was the only other U.S. player besides Schneidmiller to have at least five kills versus Cuba (1-7). The United States, though, finished with a better offensive efficiency than Cuba at 46.15 percent to 43.37 percent.

Outside attacker Lazaro Yoelvis Brunet Llanes in the loss led Cuba with 17 kills.

The United States competing with a nine-player active roster because of injuries had seven aces — five more than Cuba. In addition, outside attacker Jerod Nelsen and Stanford middle attacker Kyler Presho each contributed a match-high two aces.

With this victory, the United States ended its four-match losing streak that regelated the team to the 15th-place finals after a 3-0 start to the tournament.

This also was the first meeting between the two teams since Cuba beat the United States in the 2016 NORCECA U19 Continental Championship gold-medal match.