PUNE, India (July 31, 2009) – The United States and Belarus opened the FIVB Men’s Junior World Championship (U-21) on Friday morning at Pune, India, and the seventh-seed U.S. squad defeated to Belarus 32-30, 21-25, 25-18, 30-28 at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
Antonio Ciarelli led the U.S. with 23 points via 18 kills, four blocks and an ace, while Joseph Sunder chipped in 12 kills and three blocks for 15 points. Murphy Troy added nine points and Nicholas Vogel produced eight points.
Pavel Audochanka paced Belarus with 22 points on 20 spikes and two blocks. Siarhei Busel contributed 14 points with a match-high nine blocks in the loss, while Artur Udrys provided tacked on 12 points.
Both teams tallied 15 blocks, while USA won the service battle with six aces.
The match was part of the three-day, four-team round-robin first round Pool A also involving host India and Tunisia. The U.S. faces Tunisia on Saturday at 14:00 local time on the middle day of the opening round, while Belarus challenges host India at 18:00 local time.
The top two teams from each first-round pool advances to second round 1-8 classification matches to be held Aug. 4-6. The bottom two teams in each first-round pool falls to the second round 9-16 classification matches.
The U.S. rallied from an early 3-0 deficit in the opening set to win marathon 32-30 set. Belarus’s Artur Udrys served an ace to go into the second technical timeout up 16-15. Belarus obtained a two-point cushion at 18-16 and stretched its margin to three points at 20-17 forcing a U.S. timeout. Consecutive kills started by Troy closed the deficit to 20-19. A Ciarelli kill and Jaynes ace tied the set at 20-all. Vogel put down an overpass to yield a 22-21 U.S. lead. Belarus earned the first set point at 24-23. A Belarus attack outside the antenna gave the U.S. its first set point at 26-25 after a Belarus service error. Belarus earned its third set point at 27-26. Team USA grabbed a 29-28 lead on back-to-back Belarus errors. The Americans ended the match at 32-30 on a Belarus attack into the net. Ciarelli led the U.S. with nine points to offset Audochanka’s 10 points for Belarus.
After falling behind 2-0 to start the second set, USA earned its first advantage at 6-5. Belarus went into the first technical break leading 8-7. Belarus gained a three-point cushion at 13-10 on a U.S. attack wide of the antenna and Belarus block forcing an American timeout. Belarus stretched the margin to four at 14-10 with another American miscue. Kauliakamoa and Troy connected for quick aces to close to within one at 15-14, then Ciarelli knocked down a kill to tie the set at 15-all. Radziuk powered a back-row kill and a USA yield stretched the gap to 15-18. Belarus’ Mikhnevich served an ace to extend the lead to 21-17. Busel formed a block allowing Belarus to assume a 23-18 advantage. Busel put up a block to give Belarus a 24-20 lead and its first set point of the second period, and Audochanka powered the final kill of the set at 25-21. Radziuk paced Belarus in the second set with four points, while the team put up six blocks and took advantage of 10 other USA errors.
Belarus gained a quick 4-2 lead in the third set, but a Vogel ace in the early go was not enough for the USA to keep pace in the early going as Belarus hit the technical timeout up 8-5. A Belarus service error and long attack narrowed its lead to 8-7 out of the break and tied it at 8-all with a Lavaja block. On consecutive Belarus errors, USA took its first lead at 10-9. A long USA attack lifted Belarus back in front at 11-10. A Belarus four-touch call and Vogel block brought the U.S. back in front at 13-11. USA continued the scoring run with a Lavaja ace producing a 14-11 margin. USA added another two more points to the run with consecutive kills at 16-11. Team USA increased its lead to 18-12. An American triple block and Belarus lift increased the scoreboard to 20-14. The U.S. ended the set with a comfortable 25-18 victory. Troy paced the Americans with five points in the set and the squad charted four blocks.
A Jaynes block put the U.S. in front 3-0 to open the fourth set, but Belarus rallied back with three consecutive points to tie the set at 3-all. Team USA answered with a quick 5-1 run to establish an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. Belarus responded with two unanswered points to slice the deficit in half at 8-6 and reached within one at 9-8. A Ciarelli block lifted the U.S. in front 12-8. Belarus cut the gap to 13-10 on a USA error. The Americans built a 15-10 lead before the technical timeout, then without stood two Belarus points before going into the break at 16-12. Belarus remained active in the late stages to move within three at 18-15. Belarus continued to close the gap and forced a USA timeout at 19-18. Team USA answered with a couple kills off the Belarus block and Bourne powered a kill through the defense to go back up 22-19. Busel put up a block to help Belarus close to within one at 23-22, followed by a kill from the left side to tie the set at 23-all. Sunder gave the U.S. its first match point at 24-23 with a kill. Belarus saved the point and earned its first set point at 25-24 as the U.S. was called in the net with a joust of four players. The U.S. went up 28-27 with an errant Belarus attack. The U.S. ended the set and match at 30-28 with a Sunder block.