BENEVENTO, Italy (July 12, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s Collegiate National Team – World University Games (MCNT – WUG) continued play at the 2019 Summer Universiade Friday, falling in four sets to Chile (21-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-21) in a 13-16 Semifinal at PalaTedeschi in Benevento, Italy.
“After a slow start, we really got into it in the first set and we were really crisp in our sideout game. Then the errors started to mount, and that shows me that our team is mentally fatigued,” said Ryan Perrote, MCNT – WUG head coach. “We’re just not able to get through these last couple of matches due to fatigue. When the mind goes, so does the body. I think the effort is there, but our execution unfortunately isn’t consistent point per point, which you need in order to battle. I think our guys are really trying hard.”
The Americans opened the match by rallying for a win in the first set. Chile led through the first half of the frame, but MCNT – WUG scored six consecutive points to turn a three-point deficit into a three-point lead at 17-20. They closed out the frame at 21-25.
Chile bounced back by taking early leads in both the second and third sets and maintaining them throughout the frames, tenuously in the third set, however. The fourth saw more back-and-forth with four tie scores, but Chile came out ahead to clinch the match 3-1 and send USA Team to the 15-16 Final.
“It was a tough match for us physically and mentally,” said Kyler Presho, a middle blocker from Stanford. “We’re a little bit drained here at the end of the tournament, and we’ve had some tough injuries and a lot of guys have had to play maybe more than their body can handle over this period of time. We faced a team that played a solid game tonight fundamentally. They were able to use our block a lot and dig seemingly everything. They played really good defense, and I think that was the difference-maker tonight, on top of our errors – we made too many of those to succeed in international volleyball. But as a team, we’re looking to bounce back tomorrow and get a good win.”
Lewis University Middle blocker Tyler Mitchem led MCNT – WUG with 16 points, including 14 on the attack. He tallied his 14 kills in just 20 attempts for a .500 attack percentage (14-4-20). Outside hitter Brett Wildman posted 12 points, nine of which came from the attack, and opposite Jaylen Jasper was one shy at 11 after notching seven kills, two blocks and two service aces. In all, nine different players scored at least once for USA Team.
In addition to his offensive contributions, Wildman was quite active in the backcourt as well. He made 52 receptions Friday, more than any two other players on the court. Of those, 33 were deemed excellent for a success percentage of .627. Libero Michael Simmons, also from Lewis, added 13 receptions, and both Parker Dixon of Princeton and Ethan Siegfried of Long Beach State made eight.
With the loss, MCNT – WUG drops to 2-4 in at the 2019 World University Games. They’ll play one final match Saturday, July 13, at 12 Noon local/6 a.m. Eastern when they take on Argentina at Palazzetto dello Sport in Ariano Irpino. The winner of that match will finish 15th in the tournament.