Boys' Youth Team Wins Big over Nicaragua

By BJ Evans | July 14, 2014, 11:19 p.m. (ET)

TULSA, USA (July 14, 2014) – After a slow start, the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team pulled together to defeat Nicaragua, 25-13, 25-11, 25-13 on Monday in a Pool A match on the NORCECA U19 Continental Championship at the Cox Business Center Arena.

Jordan Ewert
  Jordan Ewert attacks against Nicaragua.

Team USA (1-0) will have Tuesday off while Nicaragua (0-1) will play Puerto Rico at 4 p.m. CT. The U.S. Boys’ will play Puerto Rico on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Tough serving was key to the U.S. victory as it led in aces, 18-1. The U.S. Boys also led in kills (28-12) and blocks (10-2). Nicaragua scored on 22 U.S. errors while committing 18.

“We started out kind of rocky as a team collectively,” U.S. Team Captain Dane Leclair (Rochester, N.Y.) said. “Then we settled down as a team. We grew with each other and we broke that lead. We got a few runs. I was really happy to see that we played together as a team and we got through the match efficiently.”

Nicaragua led 11-8 in the first set but it served into the net and setter Josh Tuaniga (Long Beach, Calif.) got the United States’ first ace with his first serve. He served for two more points to put the U.S. ahead 14-11. Later, Jordan Ewert would serve for seven straight points, including three aces, to put the U.S. ahead for good. The U.S. did not struggle after that.

“We’re really early in the process,” U.S. Head Coach Ken Shibuya said. “Every match we play, the team is learning something. Sometimes it’s as simple as, don’t switch and get called out of rotation so much. We saw a lot of really nice things and we saw some things that we are going to work on.”

Every player on the U.S. team started a set and every player scored except for libero Joe Worsley (Moraga, Calif.), who was credited with six digs and nine excellent receptions.

Tuaniga led all scorers with nine points on two kills, one block and a match-high six aces. He was also credited with 27 running sets and one fault on 41 attempts. Middle blocker Scott Stadick (Watertown, Wis.) added eight points on six kills and two blocks.

Outside hitters Ewert (Antioch, Calif.) and T.J. DeFalco each scored seven points. DeFalco scored on five kills, one block and one ace. Ewert had three attacks and four aces.

Leclair, who played opposite, scored six points on one kill, one block and four aces. Outside hitter Brett Rosenmeier (Virginia Beach, Va.) added four points on two attacks and two aces. Opposite Micah Ma’a (Kaneohe, Hawaii) scored four points on four kills. Middle blocker Patrick Gasman (Clovis, Calif.) contributed four points on two kills and two blocks.

Middle blocker Bryant Ekstein (Virginia Beach, Va.) scored three points on two attacks and one block. Middle blocker Branden Oberender (Simi Valley, Calif.) scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace. Outside hitter Collin Mahan (Victor, N.Y.) added one points with a kill.

Outside hitter Roberto Espinosa paced Nicaragua with six points on six attacks.

Shibuya started Ewert and Mahan at outside hitter, Tuaniga at setter, Ekstein and Stadick at middle blocker, Ma’a at opposite and Worsley at libero. DeFalco started the second and third sets for Mahan. Leclair started the second and third sets for Ma’a. Rosenmeier started the third set for Ewert. Gasman started the second set at middle blocker for Ekstein, who returned to start the third. Oberender started the third set at middle for Stadick.

No. Name Last Position Height Grad Year Hometown Club Region
1 T.J. DeFalco OH 6-3 2015 Huntington Beach, CA The HBC Southern California
3 Collin Mahan OH 6-3 2015 Victor, NY Pace Bootlegger Western Empire
5 Brett Rosenmeier OH 6-4 2015 Virginia Beach, VA Coastal Old Dominion
6 Patrick Gasman Rightside/Middle 6-10 2015 Clovis, CA Pacific Rim Northern California
7 Dane Leclair Rightside 6-3 2015 Rochester, NY Pace Bootlegger Western Empire
9 Micah Ma'a Setter 6-3 2015 Kaneohe, HI Ka Ulukoa Aloha
10 Joshua Tuaniga Setter 6-2 2015 Long Beach, CA The HBC Southern California
13 Bryant Ekstein Middle 6-5 2015 Virginia Beach, VA Coastal Old Dominion
14 Scott Stadick Middle 6-10 2016 Watertown, WI West Allis Badger
15 Branden Oberender Middle 6-5 2015 Simi Valley, CA Bones Southern California
17 Joseph Worsley Libero 5-10 2015 Moraga, CA Pacific Rim Northern California
19 Jordan Ewert OH 6-3 2015 Antioch, CA Pacific Rim Northern California

Head coach: Ken Shibuya
Assistant coach: Kris Berzins
Assistant coach: Brad Keller
Team manager: Randy Nako
Team doctor: Julie Chuan

Schedule and Results for the 2014 NORCECA Boys’ U19 Continental Championship
(All times CT)
July 14    
Mexico def. Barbados, 25-17, 25-16, 25-14
Cuba def. Guatemala, 25-14, 25-12, 25-13
USA def. Nicaragua, 25-13, 25-11, 25-13

July 15    
2 p.m. Cuba vs. Barbados
4 p.m. Nicaragua vs. Puerto Rico
6 p.m. Mexico vs. Guatemala

July 16    
2 p.m. Guatemala vs. Barbados
4 p.m. Cuba vs. Mexico
6 p.m. USA vs. Puerto Rico

July 17 Quarterfinals 
2 p.m. 2nd B vs. 3rd A
4 p.m. 2nd A vs. 3rd B

July 18  
2 p.m. Classification match
4 p.m. Semifinal
6 p.m. Semifinal

July 19 Finals
4 p.m. Bronze medal
6 p.m. Gold medal