Loyola outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke wasn’t the biggest name on the U.S. roster entering the World Championship, but he played like it in the team’s opener.
Jaeschke had a match-high 14 kills and four blocks as the United States defeated Rwanda 25-11, 25-18, 27-29, 25-14 on Thursday in Turkey to open the preliminary round of the FIVB U21 Men’s Junior World Championship.
The 2013 MIVA Freshman of the Year and all-conference selection was one of two U.S. players with double-digit kills in the victory. In addition, BYU All-American opposite Ben Patch had a 12 kills against Rwanda (0-1, 0-1 Pool C).
Long Beach State middle attacker Taylor Gregory also added nine kills and a match-high four aces. The United States (1-0, 1-0 Pool C) finished the match with 10 aces, including Stanford setter James Shaw having two aces while coming off the bench as a serving specialist.
Aimable Mutuyimana in the loss had a team-high 14 kills — the only Rwanda player with more than eight kills against the United states.
With this victory, the United States will maintain at least share of first place in Pool C entering the second day of this international tournament. The top four teams in Pool C following the four-match preliminary round will advance to the Round of 16.
The United States will continue the preliminary round as it plays Serbia on Friday. Serbia, No. 2 in the FIVB World Rankings, and the United States, No. 6 in the FIVB World Rankings, are the two highest ranked teams in Pool C.