The service game doomed the Olympic medal hopes for the United States and blasted Argentina into the quarterfinals.
The United States in a de facto elimination match committed 14 services with four coming late in the third game as Argentina completed the sweep 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 on Sunday in Tokyo.
Both the United States and Argentina entered the final day of the preliminary round with the fourth and fifth-most points in the six-team Pool B and vying for the pool’s final berth to the quarterfinals. This is the first time since the 2000 Olympics that the United States (2-3, points Pool B) has failed to advance to the quarterfinals.
The United States with one-point leads late in the third game committed two service errors that evened the game. It also had service errors with the game tied at 21-21 and 23-23 — the final one setting up a match-point that Argentina converted to win the match.
Argentina (3-2, 8 points Pool B) finished with three fewer error service errors than the United States and had seven aces — six more aces than the defending Olympic bronze medalists.
Outside attacker Facundo Conte in the victory led all players with three aces and was one of five Argentina players to record an ace. Conte had all of his aces in the opening game as Argentina had five aces in its four-point game one win.
The United States out-hit Argentina .288 to .274 but its attack percentage was below its tournament average. Setter Micah Christenson entered the match leading the tournament in assists and had guided the U.S. offense to more than a .400 attack percentage in three of its first four matches.
Opposite Matt Anderson led the United States with 11 kills on a .270 attack percentage, while outside attacker TJ DeFalco had 10 kills on a .240 attack percentage.
Outside attacker Taylor Sander was limited to six kills and hit less than .200 in the loss. The former BYU All-American entered in the tournament’s top 10 for kills and played the entire Olympics with an ankle injury.
Conte finished with a match-high 13 kills on a .385 attack percentage.
Opposite Bruno Lima added 10 kills but was held to a .100 attack percentage. Lima concluded the preliminary round leading the tournament with 88 kills.
The United States finishes the Olympics on a two-match losing streak. The team opened the tournament with a sweep against France but then lost three of its final four matches.
Argentina with this victory will advance to play Italy in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.