U.S. drops first match, remains in hunt for World University Games quarterfinals berth

Photo courtesy of Stanford athletics

The serving game from Russia was just too much for the United States.

The United States allowed 10 aces and was held to a tournament-low 12.90 percent offensive efficiency as it lost to Russia 25-13, 25-15, 25-19 on Monday at the World University Games in Italy.

Both teams entered this pool-play match as the only remaining undefeated teams in Group B.

Despite this loss, the United States remains in contention for one of the group’s two berths to the quarterfinals but will have to beat Portugal in a de facto elimination match to conclude the pool-play round on Tuesday. Russia, which had already secured a quarterfinals berth on Sunday, clinched the group title and a top seed for the quarterfinals with its victory against the United States.

Stanford opposite Jaylen Jasper for the second time during the pool-play round led the United States kills. The All-American had six kills and was the only U.S. player to have at least five kills.

This was the first match at the World University Games that the United State did not have a player in double-digit kills or have less than a 30 percent offensive efficiency.

Russia finished with a 40.98 percent offensive efficiency, including opposite Dmitry Yakovlev contributing a match-high nine kills. Outside attacker Andy Surmachevskiy also had seven kills along with a match-high six aces.

Russia out-blocked the United States 5 to 3. However, Stanford middle attacker Kyler Presho in the loss led all players with two blocks.