Men's National Team Flaunts its Youth

May 25, 2013, 11 p.m. (ET)
The 2013 U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team for the FIVB World League
  The U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team that will compete in the 2013 FIVB World League

B.J. Hoeptner Evans, Manager of Communications, Phone: (719) 228-6800, EMail: bj.evans@usav.org
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 25, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team youth movement was on full display on Saturday at an intra-squad scrimmage held at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., in preparation for the 2013 FIVB World League.

Although the scrimmage had been advertised as Red versus Blue, a jersey switch meant that the team wearing white ended up beating the team wearing red, 25-20, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21.

“As I’ve said before, we are using this World League as an opportunity to look at new faces and people saw some of those tonight,” first-year U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.) said.

“I was pleased with the way we competed,” Speraw said. “I thought the younger players brought great energy. They were excited to get the opportunity to wear the U.S. jersey for the first time.”

The average age of the 2012 U.S. Men’s World League Roster was 29.6. With several players from that team taking time off, the average age of the 2013 roster is 27.1.

Speraw has said that this season, it will be important for implementing his systems and overall culture with the players. But he added, “We also need to work on serving and passing.”

Outside hitter Tony Ciarelli (Huntington Beach, Calif.), the youngest player on the 2013 U.S. World League roster at 23, led all scorers on Saturday with 21 points on a match-high 17 kills, one block and three aces for the White Team. Opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.), who was born a year before Ciarelli, added 20 points on 15 attacks, one block and a team-high four aces for the White Team.

Brad Lawson (Honolulu, Hawaii), also 23, played as a substitute and started the fourth set and scored six points on six kills. Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) totaled five points on two attacks, two blocks and one ace. Middle blocker Futi Tavana (Saipipi, Samoa) scored five points on four kills and a match-high three blocks.

Middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak (Warsaw, Poland) played as a substitute and scored two points on two kills. Setter Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) added one point with a kill. He set the white team to a 54.3 kill percent and a .495 hitting efficiency.

White Team libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with 19 receptions, 58 percent positive. Ciarelli led the White Team in receptions with 29, 52 percent positive.

The Red Team was led by Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.), who was the youngest player on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Volleyball Team, but is now one of the team veterans at 26. He scored 19 points on 13 kills and a match-high six aces. Opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.),who played the first three sets, added 16 points on 14 kills, one block and one ace.

Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia (Oceanside, Calif.) scored 15 points for the Red Team on 12 kills and three aces. Middle blocker Matt Rawson (Los Angeles) totaled eight points on six attacks, one block and one ace. Middle blocker Futi Tavana (Saipipi, Samoa) totaled five points on four kills and a match-high three blocks. Middle blocker Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.) scored four points on four kills.

Opposite Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.), who played as a substitute before starting the fourth set, scored two points on one kill and one ace. Setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu) totaled one points with an ace. He set the Red Team to a 47.6 kill percent and a .390 hitting efficiency.

Red Team libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) was credited with 20 receptions, 75 percent positive. Anderson led his team in receptions with 33, 48 percent positive.

The White Team started Ciarelli and Lotman at outside hitter, Smith and Tavana at middle blocker, Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) at middle blocker, Troy at opposite, Thornton at setter and Lambourne at libero. The Red Team started Anderson and Muagututia (Oceanside, Calif.) at outside hitter, Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Rawson at middle blocker, Clark at opposite, Kawika Shoji at setter and Eric Shoji at libero.

The U.S. Men will open the 2013 FIVB World League on June 7-8 against Argentina in Wichita, Kan. They will move on to play France on June 14-15 in Tulsa, Okla., and Bulgaria on June 28-29 in Reno, Nev.

On June 5 and 7, the U.S. Men will play Poland in Poland and on June 13-14, the will face Brazil in Brazil. Six teams will qualify for the Final Round on July 17-21 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

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