A near tournament-best performance from Long Beach State outside attacker Kyle Ensing was not enough for the United States to avoid a sweep on the opening day of the FIVB U21 World Championship.
The All-American finished with a match-high 17 kills as the United States lost to Turkey 25-19, 25-14, 30-28 in its pool-play opener on Friday in the Czech Republic.
Despite the United States (0-1 Pool B) losing in three games, it had its opportunities to extend the match.
The United States led by as many six points in the third game. However, Turkey trailing 23-20 went on a 4-0 run and stopped multiple U.S. game-points in overtime before eventually winning the match.
U.S. coach Jay Hosack unveiled a new lineup for the third game that included UCLA All-American setter Micha Ma’a playing in place of the starter and team captain Long Beach State All-American setter Josh Tuaniga.
Hawai’i outside attacker Brett Rosenmeier also came off the bench for the start of the third game and contributed one kill and two digs.
The United States made its lineup change after Turkey closed out the second game on a 13-4 run to win the game and take a two-game lead.
Turkey (1-0 Pool B) finished the match with a 60 percent offensive efficiency, while the United States was held to a 38.64 offensive efficiency. In addition, Ensing was the only U.S. player to have more than four kills in the loss.
Ensing had the third-most kills of any player during the opening day of the World Championship. He also had the most kills for any player involved in a three-game match.
Three Turkish players had double-digit kills, including outside attacker Avci Batuhan who had a team-high 14 kills.
Libero Sahin Huseyin defensively in the victory had a match-high 12 digs, while Hawai’i libero Gage Worsely led the United States with seven digs.
Turkey also out-blocked the United States 8 to 4. Ensing ended the match with a team-high two blocks.
With this loss, the United States is tied with Cuba (0-1 Pool B) for last place in the four-team pool.
The United States and Cuba will play each other on Saturday in a virtual must-win match to remain in medal contention. The top two teams in the pool at the conclusion of the three-match opening round will advance to the second round.