UCLA’s Hatch propels U.S. to win in World Championship finale

UCLA outside attacker JT Hatch continued to be one of the most consistent offensive options for the United States during the FIVB U-21 World Championship all the way through the final match.

Hatch had a match-high 12 kills as the United States survived a comeback attempt to beat Iran 25-18, 25-18, 21-25, 12-25, 15-10 and finish the international tournament in 11th place on Sunday in Mexico.

Hatch led the United States (4-4) having double-digit kills in five of the team’s eight matches at the World Championship. The Freshmen All-American selection also added one block and an ace against Iran (3-5) in the 11th-place finals.


Along with Hatch, the United States had two players finish with more than six kills. Pepperdine outside attacker Colby Harriman in his first start of the tournament had 10 kills, while Hawai’i outside attacker Kupono Fey coming off the bench midway through the match had seven kills.

The United States in the victory out-blocked Iran 14 to 8.

USC middle attacker Andy Benesh led all players with five blocks — the second time in the last three matches that Benesh had at least five blocks.

Iran outside attacker Salim Cheperli in the loss finished with a team-high 11 kills.

This was the second time the United States defeated Iran in five games during the World Championship. The United States also beat Iran in a second-round pool-play match and went on to win the Pool G championship.

With this victory, the United States finished in 11th place for the second consecutive time at the bi-annual international tournament.