Dillon Klein attacking against Mexico.
Dillon Klein

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 13, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s U21 National Team dropped its final World Championship pool play contest to Mexico, 3-1 (25-18, 26-24, 20-25, 25-22), on Thursday in Manama, Bahrain.

The U.S., winless in the championship thus far, will have a day off before beginning play in the 13th through 16th place bracket on Saturday.

The loss came in spite of a tremendous effort from outside hitter Dillon Klein, who led all scorers with 20 points on 17 kills, two blocks, and one service ace. He hit at a .308 hitting efficiency percentage for the match and helped carry the U.S. to a third-set win with eight points. Klein also recorded seven digs and seven successful receptions.

Outside hitter Zach Rama scored 15 points on 13 kills and two blocks, and outside hitter Alex Rottman produced his best scoring effort of the championship with 12 points on 10 kills and two blocks. The three outside hitters combined for 40 kills with a .247 hitting efficiency percentage.

The U.S. held an advantage in kills (51-46) and blocks (12-6), but could not overcome 41 errors, including 23 service errors.

Middle blocker Nyherowo Omene totaled eight points on five kills and a team-high three blocks, and setter Island Doty added five points on three kills and was one of four U.S. players with two blocks. Libero Ryan Merk contributed 16 digs and 11 successful receptions with Rama adding seven digs and six successful receptions.

Mexico jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set and extended the lead to as many as 11 points (21-10) before the U.S. scored five consecutive points. Mexico led 17-13 in the second set, but the U.S. won five of the next six points to even the set at 18. Neither team gained more than a two-point lead until Mexico tallied the final two points of the set after the score was knotted at 24.

The U.S. led throughout the third set with a Klein kill giving them their biggest advantage of the match, six points, at 24-18. Mexico never trailed in the fourth set, though the U.S. did cut the lead to one point twice late in the set (21-20 and 23-22).

Jorge Ariel Hernández Cabrera, the top outside hitter at the Pan American Cup U23 in 2021, led Mexico with 17 points and 16 kills.

U.S. Men’s U21 Roster for the 2023 FIVB World Championship
No. Name (Position, Height, Birth year, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
Ryan Merk (L, 6-0, 2003, Chicago, Ill., Penn State, Great Lakes)
Dillon Klein (OH, 6-4, 2003, Pacific Palisades, Calif., Univ. of Southern California, Southern California)
6 Island Doty (S, 6-5, 2003, Colorado Springs, Colo., Long Beach State, Rocky Mountain)
12 Andrew Rowan (S, 6-7, 2003, Trabuco Canyon, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
13 Shane Wetzel (Opp, 6-7, 2004, Wekiwa Springs, Fla., Ohio State, Florida)
16 Nyherowo Omene (MB, 6-8, 2003, South Holland, Ill., Princeton, Great Lakes)
17 Trent Moser (OH, 6-8, 2003, Gilbert, Ariz., BYU, Arizona)
20 Zach Rama (OH, 6-8, 2004, Phoenix, Ariz., UCLA, Arizona)
22 Owen Rose (MB, 6-8, 2003, Long Island, N.Y., Penn State, Garden Empire)
21 Wesley Smith (MB, 6-11, 2004, Encinitas, Calif., Univ. of Southern California, Southern California)
23 Alex Rottman (OH, 6-7, 2004, Santa Barbara, Calif., Stanford, Southern California)
25 Theo Snoey (OH, 6-8, 2004, Berkeley, Calif., Stanford, Northern California)

Head Coach: Andy Read (Long Beach State)
Assistant Coach: Chris Seiffert (Concordia-Irvine)
Assistant Coach: Rory Prager (Univ. of Southern California)
Performance Analyst: Alex Hurlburt
Team Doctor: Dr. Chris Cornell
Team Lead: Donovan Martinez (USAV NTDP)

U.S. Men’s U21 Schedule for the 2023 FIVB World Championship
Live stream on VolleyballWorld.tv
(All times PT)
July 7 Argentina def. USA, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-23)
July 8 Belgium def. USA, 3-1 (25-23, 16-25, 25-22, 25-20)
July 9 Czechia def. USA, 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22)
July 11 Egypt def. USA, 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20)
July 12 Czechia def. USA, 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-17)
July 13 at 1 a.m. Mexico def. USA, 3-0 (25-18, 26-24, 20-25, 25-22)
July 15 Consolation playoffs at 12 a.m. USA vs. Bahrain
July 16 Consolation match