U.S. Boys to Face Cuba for NORCECA Gold

By BJ Evans | July 18, 2014, 11 p.m. (ET)

TULSA, Okla. (July 18, 2014) – The U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team qualified for the 2015 FIVB World Championship and for the gold medal match at the NORCECA U19 Boys’ Continental Championship with a 25-22, 25-14, 25-21 win over Mexico on Friday at the Cox Business Center Arena.

T.J. DeFalco
  T.J. DeFalco flies in for the kill against Mexico.

Team USA (3-0) will play Cuba (4-0) for the gold medal at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday. Mexico (3-2) will play Puerto Rico (2-2) for the bronze medal and the final qualifying slot for the 2015 FIVB World Championship. Only the top three teams qualify.

“I want to say congratulations to Mexico,” U.S. Head Coach Ken Shibuya said. “They are a really good team. I don’t think the score indicated how good they are. We were really excited to beat them because they have kind of put it on us the last few years.”

The U.S. Boys’ Youth Team led in kills (39-24), blocks (7-3), aces (9-3) and digs (36-26). Mexico scored 27 points on U.S. errors while committing 20.

“Mexico really came with the emotion that we expected them to,” U.S. Captain Dane Leclair said. “I felt our team collected itself pretty well and grinded that one out start to finish.”

U.S. outside hitter T.J. DeFalco (Huntington Beach, Calif.) led all scorers with 25 points on a match-high 24 attacks, several of them from the back row, and one block.

"The back-row attack is something we have begun to master over the last week and a half," DeFalco said. "It's a lot of fun. It's almost more fun than anything else."

Outside hitter Jordan Ewert (Antioch, Calif.) added eight points on four kills, a match-high three aces and one block. Middle blocker Scott Stadick (Watertown, Wis.) scored eight points on four kills and a match-high four blocks.

Middle blocker Branden Oberender (Simi Valley, Calif.) scored six points on four kills and two aces. Setter Micah Ma’a (Kaneohe, Hawaii) scored four points on two attacks, one block and one ace. Opposite Dane Leclair (Rochester, N.Y.) had three points on one kill and three aces. Outside hitter Brett Rosenmeier (Virginia Beach, Va.) scored one point with an ace.

Ma’a, who moved from opposite to setter after an injury to setter Joshua Tuaniga (Long Beach, Calif.), was credited with 17 running sets and two faults on 65 attempts. Libero Joe Worsley (Moraga, Calif.) was credited with 16 excellent receptions and eight digs. Leclair also had eight digs.

Ridl Garay and Bruno Cruz scored 11 points each for Mexico. Garay scored all his points on kills while Cruz scored on nine attacks and two blocks.

The U.S. trailed 16-15 in the first set when it scored on a kill and block by DeFalco along with a Mexico violation. Mexico pulled to within one point at 18-17, but never caught up. The U.S. jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second set and Mexico never threatened. In the third set, Mexico led 17-16 when it served into the net. The U.S. got an ace from Leclair and Mexico hit its next attack out of bounds to put the U.S. ahead 19-17. Mexico came back with a kill, but the U.S. responded with kills from Ewert and DeFalco to put the set and match out of reach.

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
Pool B: Mexico def. Barbados, 25-17, 25-16, 25-14
Pool B: Cuba def. Guatemala, 25-14, 25-12, 25-13
Pool A: USA def. Nicaragua, 25-13, 25-11, 25-13

July 15
Pool B: Cuba def. Barbados, 25-13, 25-21, 25-17
Pool A: Puerto Rico def. Nicaragua, 25-14, 30-28, 25-18
Pool B: Mexico def. Guatemala, 25-16, 25-15, 25-12

July 16
Pool B: Guatemala def. Barbados, 25-21, 18-25, 24-26, 26-24, 15-13
Pool B: Cuba def. Mexico, 25-17, 19-25, 10-25, 25-17, 18-16
Pool A: USA def. Puerto Rico, 25-17, 25-18, 25-18

July 17 Quarterfinals
Mexico def Nicaragua, 25-18, 25-17, 25-22
Puerto Rico def Guatemala, 25-15, 25-16, 25-11

July 18
Fifth-place match: Nicaragua def Guatemala, 25-21, 25-18, 28-26
Semifinal: Cuba def Puerto Rico, 25-21, 25-17, 25-15
Semifinal: USA def Mexico, 25-22, 25-14, 25-21

July 19 Finals
4 p.m. Bronze medal: Mexico vs Puerto Rico
6 p.m. Gold medal: USA vs Cuba