Outside attacker Sean Kelly showed exactly why they are considered one of the top recruits in the nation.
The Princeton commit finished with seven kills and zero errors on a team-best .580 attack percentage as the United States swept Costa Rica 25-20, 25-16, 25-15 at the FIVB U19 World Championship on Thursday in Argentina.
Kelly was one of three U.S. players with at least five kills in the pool-play opener. Hawai’i commit Finn Karney and USC commit Scott Foley each had a team-high 10 kills against Costa Rica.
Both Kelly and Kearney also led all players with two aces.
Hawai’i setter Tread Rosenthal guided the offense to out-hit Costa Rica .268 to .103, including the team having a match-best .385 attack percentage in the final game to secure the sweep.
Rosenthal defensively contributed a team-high two blocks. The United States had five players with multiple blocks and finished with 12 blocks – seven more blocks than Costa Rica.
Libero Kellen Larson in the victory led all players with 21 digs. Larson also had a match-high 14 excellent service receptions and helped the United States limit Costa Rica to zero aces.
Costa Rica opposite Yulius Melvin Brown Rudolf in the loss finished with a match-high 15 kills. Brown, though, was the only Costa Rica player to have more than five kills in its second consecutive loss to open the tournament.
The United States with this sweep moves into second place in Pool A. The top-four teams in the five-team pool at the conclusion of the round-robin pool-play stage will advance to the Round of 16.
The team will continue the pool-play stage as it plays Egypt on Friday.
Egypt in its pool-play opener defeated Serbia in four games on Wednesday.