U.S. fends off comeback attempt, beats South Korea to open World University Games

Photo courtesy of Stanford athletics

Stanford opposite Jaylen Jasper delivered once again for the United States in a big international tournament.

Jasper had a match-high 17 kills as the United States defeated South Korea 25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 21-25, 15-13 on Friday in its pool-play opener at the World University Games.

The All-American finished with a 41.38 percent offensive efficiency and added an ace. He also contributed defensively with two blocks to help the United States avoid losing its opener after winning the first two games.

This is the second consecutive year that Jasper has represented the United States in an international event. Jasper was named the Best Server honor at the 2018 NORCECA U21 Continental Championship after having a match-high 11 aces in an opening-round victory against Canada.

Loyola setter Garrett Zolg guided the United States to have a better offensive efficiency than South Korea at 32.41 to 21.30 percent.

Jasper was one of three U.S. players with double-digit kills in the victory. Lewis middle attacker Tyler Mitchem had 10 kills, while former Ohio State middle attacker Blake Leeson added 11 kills on a team-high 44.44 offensive efficiency.

Long Beach State outside attacker Ethan Siegfried also had nine kills against South Korea.

Along with Leeson’s offensive performance, the former All-MIVA middle attacker and former Concordia-Irvine outside attacker Raymond Barsemian each led the United States with five blocks.

South Korea’s Jenogho Kim in the loss finished with a team-high 15 kills but was held to a 27.27 percent offensive efficiency. No South Korean player had more than five kills and 30 percent offensive efficiency.

The United States will continue the four-match pool-play round as it plays China on Saturday. China had an off day on Friday and will make its tournament debut against the United States.