Boys' U19 World Championship 2023 - News.

USA (USA) vs. Costa Rica (CRC) - Pool A #6234856

American libero Kellen Larson celebrates

United States and Belgium started strong at the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship on Thursday. Joining the action with their opening games on the second competition day in San Juan, the two teams celebrated straight-set victories.

After “resting” on Wednesday’s opening day of the tournament in Argentina, United States stormed Pool A action on Thursday with an emphatic sweep of their all-NORCECA encounter with Costa Rica.

While the result may suggest total domination for USA, Costa Rica also had their moments in sets one and two when they had the lead in the score. The Central Americans even showed better stats in defence and reception, but the North Americans prevailed in all the scoring elements: 39 successful spikes against 28, 12 kill blocks against five and six aces against zero.

Costa Rica’s only player to reach the double digits in the match, opposite Yulius Brown, was also the best scorer of the match with 16 points, including one kill block. His American counterpart Finn Kearney finished with 14 points, including two aces and two blocks, while outside hitter Sterling Foley added another 11 points for the winners. Sub-in outside Victor Loiola scored only a point during the game, but it was the match winner for USA.

In the other Pool A game on Thursday, hosts Argentina produced their second victory of the tournament. By mastering a shutout of Serbia, they handed their European opponents their second defeat and topped the current standings in the pool. Outside hitters Fausto Diaz with 18 points and Mateo Gomez with 17 were the best scorers of the match.

Belgium (BEL) vs. Chile (CHI) - Pool D #6233882

Belgium’s Kobe Verwimp in attack

Belgium also celebrated a straight-set victory in their opening Pool D game in San Juan. The Europeans hammered out a shutout of Chile. While completely dominating the second set, the Belgians were made to work for taking the other two. In set one, they had to recover from a three-point deficit and, in set three, they bounced back from a four-point lag.

The number of aces and the number of unforced errors were relatively balanced between the two teams and what tilted the outcome Belgium’s way were the points in attack (39 against 28) and on the block (six against three).

Belgian opposite Eliot De Vleeschhauwer delivered two aces and two kill blocks towards the match high of 18 points. Outside and captain Kobe Verwimp added another nine, all in attack, including the match winner. Opposite Ian Gei was Chile’s leading scorer with 15 points (two blocks, one ace).

Italy registered their second win in Pool D. After a victory over Mexico, the reigning European champions lead the pool table without dropping a single set so far. Tomaso Barotto and Alessandro Bristot shared the top scorer honours of the match with 13 points each.

In Pool B, France capitalized on the excessive Bulgarian errors to produce a upset of the world’s number one U19 team. While Bulgarian opposite Kristian Titriyski was the best scorer of the match with 17 points, captain Mathis Henno, with 15 points, led France towards their second win in the pool. Meanwhile, Slovenia recovered from Wednesday’s loss to the Bulgarians to spoil Japan’s opener with a defeat on a 19-point match high by Luka Marovt.

Iran mastered their second straight-set win in Pool C. They delivered a shutout of Puerto Rico, with Seyed Hosseini Tolouti and Abolfazi Mahdian leading the way with 12 points each. The other match of the day’s Pool C programme did not take place. After Nigeria’s withdrawal from the tournament, a forfeit win was awarded to Colombia.

Iran (IRI) vs. Puerto Rico (PUR) - Pool C #6231432

Iran’s setter Emran Kook Jili in action