Men's Jr. National Team World Championship Preview
| MJNT Head Coach Pete Hanson, center, instructs his players during a friendly scrimmage against Russia prior to the FIVB Men's U21
World Championship in Turkey.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 21, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team (MJNT) will field a veteran roster as it competes Aug. 22-Sept. 1 at the FIVB Men’s Under-21 World Championship in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey.
Eight players return from the 2012 MJNT that won the NORCECA Men’s Junior Continental Championship in Colorado Springs to qualify for the World Championship. These players include setters James Shaw (Woodside, Calif.) and Matt West (Seattle, Wash.), opposite Ben Patch (Provo, Utah), middle blockers Driss Guessous (Pasadena, Calif.) and Nick Olson (New Berlin, Wis.), outside hitters Michael Henchy (Ventura, Calif.) and D.J. White (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and libero Tony Ensbury (Manhattan Beach, Calif.).
Middle blocker Taylor Gregory (Saugus, Calif.) and outside hitters Tom Jaeschke (Wheaton, Ill.), Kyle Russell (Loomis, Calif.) and Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) are the newcomers to the MJNT and round out the roster.
“I think the new guys bring that enthusiasm,” MJNT Head Coach Pete Hanson said. “They’re excited all the time. They’re always on that high alert, where the guys that are been there done that are a little more mellow about it. That’s a nice mix.”
Hanson, the head coach of Ohio State’s men’s volleyball program, assumes the helm of the squad for the second year in a row. Jay Hossack (assistant coach at Penn State University) and Sean Byron (assistant coach at Ohio State) will serve as U.S. assistant coaches during the tournament.
“It’s nice to have that second year where you’ve built some relationships and can take them to a little further level,” Hanson said. “It’s a good group of guys, it really is. You ask them to do something and they’re right on task.”
The team trained at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs Aug. 11-16 before heading to Turkey. Matt West, the team captain, called it a family reunion.
“The new guys aren’t so new,” he said. “Even though they’re new to the team, we’ve been friends for quite a bit of time prior to this. We’re like a family because we’ve been playing together since we were 14. We’ve been going to high performance championships together, NORCECAs, Worlds, so we’re like brothers, basically.”
Aaron Russell, who is new to the MJNT, said he enjoyed having teammates with previous experience.
“They’ve been the ones giving a lot, helping out with people, instructing people on passing and stuff like that,” Russell said.
In addition to camaraderie, Hanson believes that this year’s team has more depth at outside hitter and middle blocker than last year.
“I think those two positions have increased significantly in terms of the quality of the guys that are playing, their experiences and just their abilities,” Hanson said. “Not that the guys that we had last year weren’t of that caliber, but we’ve added a couple of people, and just the maturity of some guys. They’re a year older and they’re playing at a higher level, so those positions are definitely upgrades for us.”
All athletes on the MJNT were born in 1993 or later. The 12 players represent eight USA Volleyball regions, including five from Southern California, two from Northern California and one apiece from the Great Lakes, Badger, Intermountain, Chesapeake and Puget Sound regions.
This is the first time that Turkey has hosted the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship, which is held every two years. At the previous FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship in 2011, the MJNT secured its best finish ever at fourth place. In past years, the U.S. has finished seventh three times and eighth twice.
This is the first time the FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship has 20 teams participating, expanded from 16 in previous years. The countries are divided into four pools of five teams. Pool A consists of Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, China and India. Pool B is comprised of Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Estonia and Iran. Pool C is made up of the United States, Tunisia, Serbia, Rwanda and Canada. Rounding out the group in Pool D are Brazil, France, Russia, Italy and Venezuela.
The United States opens play on Aug. 22 against Rwanda, followed by Serbia on Aug. 23, Tunisia on Aug. 25 and Canada on Aug. 26. All U.S. pool play matches will take place in the Ataturk Sports Hall in Izmir, Turkey.
The fifth-place team in each pool will play for classifications 17-20, while the remaining 16 teams advance to the Eight Finals round to play for a spot in the quarterfinals. Losers in this and all future rounds will continue play for lower classification spots.
2013 U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team Name (Position, Hometown, School, USAV Region)
2 - Taylor Gregory (MB, Saugus, Calif., Long Beach State University, SCVA)
4 - Tony Ensbury (L, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Princeton University, SCVA)
5 - Driss Guessous (MB, Pasadena, Calif., Ohio State University, SCVA)
6 - Michael Henchy (OH, Ventura, Calif., Ohio State University, SCVA)
8 - Nicholas Olson (MB, New Berlin, Wis., Loyola University, Chicago, Badger)
9 - Ben Patch (Opp, Provo, Utah, Brigham Young University, Intermountain)
12 - Aaron Russell (OH, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State University, Chesapeake)
14 - James Shaw (S, Woodside, Calif., Stanford University, NCVA)
15 - Kyle Russell (OH, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine, NCVA)
16 - Tom Jaeschke (OH, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola University, Chicago, Great Lakes)
17 - Matt West (S, Seattle, Wash., Pepperdine University, Puget Sound)
18 - D.J. White (OH, Hermosa Beach, Calif., Harvard University, SCVA)
1 - Brennan Anderson (L, Newport Beach, Calif., Ohio State University, SCVA)
10 - Greg Petty (OH, Downers Grove, Ill., Lewis University, Great Lakes)
20 - Bobby Walsh (MB, Chicago, Ill., Lewis University, Great Lakes)
Head Coach: Pete Hanson (Ohio State University)
Assistant Coach: Sean Byron (Ohio State University)
Assistant Coach: Jay Hosack (Penn State University)
Technical Assistant: Jacob Schick
Team Manager: Collin Powers (USA Volleyball)
Head of Delegation: Tom Tait
2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship Pool Play Schedule (all times listed are local)
Pool A (at Ankara, Turkey – Baskent Volleyball Hall)
Aug. 22: China vs. Morocco, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 22: Turkey vs. India, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 23: Egypt vs. China, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 23: Morocco vs. Turkey, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: India vs. Morocco, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: Turkey vs. Egypt, 7:00 p.m.
Aug. 25: Egypt vs. India, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 25: China vs. Turkey, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26: India vs. China, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 26: Morocco vs. Egypt, 2:30 p.m.
Pool B (at Ankara, Turkey – Baskent Volleyball Hall)
Aug. 22: Iran vs. Estonia, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 22: Japan vs. Mexico, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 23: Estonia vs. Japan, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 23: Argentina vs. Iran, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 24: Japan vs. Argentina, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 24: Mexico vs. Estonia, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 25: Argentina vs. Mexico, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 25: Iran vs. Japan, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 26: Mexico vs. Iran, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 26: Estonia vs. Argentina, 7:30 p.m.
Pool C (at Izmir, Turkey – Ataturk Sports Hall)
Aug. 22: United States vs. Rwanda, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 22: Tunisia vs. Canada, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 23: Rwanda vs. Tunisia, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 23: Serbia vs. United States, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 24: Tunisia vs. Serbia, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 24: Canada vs. Rwanda, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 25: Serbia vs. Canada, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 25: United States vs. Tunisia, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 26: Canada vs. United States, 12:00 p.m.
Aug. 26: Rwanda vs. Serbia, 2:30 p.m.
Pool D (at Izmir, Turkey – Ataturk Sports Hall)
Aug. 22: Brazil vs. Italy, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 22: France vs. Venezuela, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 23: Italy vs. France, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 23: Russia vs. Brazil, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: France vs. Russia, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 24: Venezuela vs. Italy, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 25: Russia vs. Venezuela, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 25: Brazil vs. France, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26: Venezuela vs. Brazil, 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 26: Italy vs. Russia, 7:30 p.m.
Round Robin 17th-20th (Aug. 29-31)
The fifth-ranked teams after the first round will play a round robin to determine the classification 17th-20th.
Semifinals and Playoffs (Aug. 30-31)
The semifinals and playoffs rounds consist of a total of eight matches: two semifinal matches for the rankings 1-4, two matches for the classification 5-8, two matches for the classification 9-12 and two matches for the classification 13-16.
Finals and Playoffs (Sept. 1)
The finals and playoffs consist of a total of eight matches: the winners of the semifinals will play the final, 1st-2nd position. The losers of the semifinals will play for the 3rd and 4th rank position. The winners of the playoff 5-8 will play for the 5th-6th position and the losers of the playoff 5-8 will play for the 7th-8th position. The winners of the playoff 9-12 will play for the 9th-10th position and the losers of the playoff 9-12 will play for the 11th-12th position. The winners of the playoff 13-16 will play for the 13th-14th position and the losers of the playoff 13-16 will play for the 15th-16th position.