Members of the U.S. men's volleyball team celebrate at the FIVB World Championship on Sept. 23, 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The U.S. and Brazil came into Friday’s match at the FIVB Men’s World Championship knowing that no matter what happened, both teams would have a place in the semifinals. The winner, however, would place first in the pool and gain the higher seeding in the playoff round as the tournament continues in Torino, Italy, this weekend.
Brazil ended up getting the best of the U.S. and took the match in straight sets, 25-20, 25-18, 25-19. Team USA entered the match with a tournament record of 9-0. It was the first time the U.S. opened the world championship with nine consecutive wins.
The U.S. will now face the winner of Pool J on Saturday. Poland led the pool heading into its second match on Friday against Italy. If Poland wins the match, it will be the winner of the group and take on Team USA. The winners of the semifinals will determine the medal-round match on Sunday.
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This was the first meeting between the U.S. and Brazil at the world championship since 2006 and eighth meeting overall, with the U.S. holding a 5-2 advantage. Brazil won gold at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 while Team USA took bronze.
Both teams opted to rest most of their usual starters, giving them a chance to recharge before Saturday’s contests.
Ben Patch had a strong first two sets for the U.S. with seven kills and two blocks while Jeffrey Jendryk II and Jake Langlois led the team in scoring overall with nine points and two blocks each. Taylor Averill had five kills and a block for Team USA.
The U.S. is seeking its second world championship title ever and first since 1986. Team USA also won the bronze medal in 1994.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.