U.S. loses to Belgium, eliminated from medal contention at U21 Worlds

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

A big offensive performance from opposite Shane Wetzel was not enough to keep the United States in medal contention.

The Ohio State opposite finished with a team-high 13 kills on a .409 attack percentage as the United States lost to Belgium 25-23, 16-25, 25-22, 25-20 on Saturday in Bahrain at the FIVB U21 World Championship.

This was the second consecutive pool-play loss for the United States to open the international tournament. The loss assured the United States will not advance to the second round and will be relegated to the consolation bracket.


Wetzel was one of three U.S. players with more than five kills against Belgium. UCLA outside attacker Zach Rama also had a team-high 13 kills, while Stanford outside attacker Alex Rottman contributed eight kills.

Despite the loss, UCLA setter Andrew Rowan guided the U.S. offense to out-hit Belgium .319 to .286.

Opposite Ferre Reggers led all players with 19 kills to help Belgium remain undefeated in pool-play and clinch a second-round berth.

The United States will conclude pool-play with a match against the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Both the United States and the Czech Republic enter this pool-play finale attempting to get their first win of the tournament. The Czech Republic lost to Argentina on Saturday and will be relegated to the consolation bracket.