U.S. falters to Czech Republic in pool-play finale at U21 World Championship

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

UCLA outside attacker Zach Rama delivered the best offensive performance from a U.S. player at the FIVB U21 World Championship – it, though, just happened to come in a loss.

Rama finished with a match-high 18 kills as the United States lost to the Czech Republic 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22 in its pool-play finale Sunday in Bahrain.

This was the second consecutive match that Rama had double-digit kills. The outside attacker had a team-high 13 kills in a four-game loss to Belgium on Saturday that eliminated the United States from medal contention at the international tournament.


Rama was one of two U.S. players with double-digit kills against the Czech Republic. USC outside attacker Dillon Klein contributed 10 kills in the loss.

Along with the offensive performance, Rama led the United States with 12 digs.

The Czech Republic out-hit the United States .193 to .147 and committed 11 fewer errors than the United States. The United States opened the match hitting zero in the first game and did not have more than a .250 attack percentage in any of the four games.

Both the United States and the Czech Republic entered this match winless in pool-play and already relegated to the consolation bracket for the tournament’s second round that starts Tuesday.

The United States and Czech Republic will compete in Pool H along with Mexico and Egypt. The top-two teams at the end of this pool-play stage will advance to the ninth-place semifinals.