The United States playing on national television was unable to complete could have been one of the biggest upsets of the Pan American Games.
The U.S. Men’s Volleyball Pan American Games Team lost to first-place Brazil 18-25, 25-17, 25-14, 25-18 on Wednesday in Guadalajara, Mexico to finish group-play in third place.
The United States (1-2, 1-2 Group B, 6 pts.) entered its group-play finale, which aired live on ESPN2, having already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the international tournament earlier in the day. However, it had a chance to win the group if it swept Brazil (3-0, 3-0 Group B, 14 pts.) or finish in second place if it extended the Brazil match to a fifth game.
No U.S. player had at least 10 kills for the first time in the team’s three group-play matches. Outside attacker Matthew Rawson had a team-high seven kills in the loss.
This was also the first time at the Pan American Games that USC All-American outside attacker Tony Ciarelli did not lead the United States in kills. Ciarelli, one of four current college players on the U.S. roster, had a tournament-low three kills against Brazil, one day after having 24 kills in a loss to Canada.
Brazil out-blocked the United States 11-5 as Gustavo Endres and Luiz Fonteles each had a match-high three blocks.
UCLA middle attacker Nick Vogel led the United States with three blocks.
Brazil with this victory against the United States clinched the Group B title and a bye into the semifinals. Cuba, which won Group A and earned the bye to semifinals, and Brazil remain the only undefeated teams left in the tournament.
The United States’ seven-point victory in the opening game was the first time Brazil dropped a game in group-play.
With a third-place group-play finish, the United States will play Argentina in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Argentina (2-1, 2-1 Group A, 8 pts.) defeated Venezuela and Mexico in its final two group-play matches to finish Group A in second place.
Puerto Rico (1-2, 1-2 Group B, 7 pts.) will play Mexico (1-2, 1-2 Group A, 6 pts.) in the other quarterfinals match Thursday.