Penn State’s Wildman big night not enough for U.S. to thwart Chilean comeback

Photo courtesy of NORCECA and the FIVB

Even having one of the top offensive performances during the tournament could not avert the United States from suffering a comeback loss.

Penn State outside attacker Brett Wildman led all players with both a tournament-high 20 kills and four aces as the United States lost to Chile 24-26, 17-25, 25-21, 26-24, 15-10 in the U21 Pan American Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday.

With this loss, the United States (1-3) is eliminated from medal contention at this international tournament that served as a last-chance qualifier for the upcoming FIVB U21 World Championship.

Wildman finished with 60 attack attempts — 27 more attempts than any other U.S. player — and was one was one of two players on the team to have double-digit kills. UC Santa Barbara outside attacker Ryan Wilcox added 10 kills against Chile.

UCLA middle attacker Daniel Matheney also had nine kills and zero errors on a .900 attack percentage along with a team-high three blocks.

Both Wildman and Cox ended the match with more than a 30 percent offensive efficiency. The United States in the loss had a better offensive efficiency rating than Chile at 33.54 percent to 32.61 percent.

Outside attacker Vicente Ibarra led Chile with 17 kills, while outside attacker Manfred Borgstedt added 12 kills.

Despite the loss, UCLA libero Garland Peed defensively led all players with 17 digs.

The United States now faces the likely possibility of not qualifying for the World Championship for the first time since 2003. The team still has an outside chance to earn the final berth based on its No. 12 FIVB World Ranking, but it needs Canada to earn the World Championship berth from the Pan American Cup.

The team with the highest finish at the Pan American Cup that previously did not clinch a berth will earn this tournament’s World Championship berth.

Canada, which is ranked ahead of the United States at No. 8, finished its pool in first place and received a bye to the Pan American Cup semifinals. Cuba, which previously clinched a World Championship berth at the NORCECA U21 Continental Championship last year, won its pool and received the other bye to the semifinals.