The offense for the United States just couldn’t find a consistent rhythm in its opener at the FIVB U21 World Championship.
The United States was limited to a .163 attack percentage as it lost a pool-play match to Argentina 25-22, 25-19, 25-23 on Friday in Bahrain.
Penn State middle attacker Owen Rose in the loss finished six kills and hit a team-best .500. Rose, though, was the only U.S. player to have more than five kills and more than a .200 attack percentage against Argentina.
BYU outside attacker Trent Moser and UCLA outside attacker Zach Rama each led the United States with seven kills.
Argentina in the victory finished with a .289 attack percentage and committed seven fewer attack errors than the United States.
German Alfredo Gomez had a match-high 14 kills and hit .524 en route to the pool-play win. Nahuel Rojas also contributed six kills and had zero errors on a .429 attack percentage.
Despite the loss, the United States out-blocked Argentina 6 to 4. Moser had a team-high three blocks, while Ohio State opposite Shane Wetzel added two blocks.
The United States had an opportunity to avoid the sweep and extend the match to a fourth game.
Rose had two kills as part of a 4-1 run to erase a three-point deficit and tie the third game at 20-20. Argentina responded, though, converting on four of the next five points to set up a match-point opportunity.
The United States fought off two match-points before Imanol Salazar delivered the match-winning kill to avoid overtime and secure the victory.
The United States will next play Belgium on Saturday in its second of three pool-play matches. Belgium swept the Czech Republic in its pool-play opener on Friday.
The top two teams in the four-team pool at the end of the pool-play stage will advance to the second round and remain in medal contention. The bottom two teams will remain in the U21 World Championship but compete in the consolation bracket.