Boys' Youth Team Wins NORCECA Gold

By BJ Evans | July 19, 2014, 11 p.m. (ET)
TULSA, United States (July 19, 2014) – The U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team defeated Cuba, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20 on Saturday to win the NORCECA Boys’ Under-19 Continental Championship in front of a boisterous crowd at the Cox Business Center.

Team USA finished the tournament with a record of 4-0 and went 12-0 in sets. Cuba finished 4-1. Both teams were already qualified for the 2015 FIVB Boys’ U19 World Championship.

U.S. Boys' Youth National Team
  The U.S. Boys' Youth National Team shows off its hardware.

U.S. outside hitter T.J. DeFalco (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Best Spiker. Middle blocker Scott Stadick (Watertown, Wis.) was named Best Blocker. Outside hitter Jordan Ewert (Antioch, Calif.) won Best Receiver. Micah Ma’a (Kaneohe, Hawaii) was named Best Setter and Josh Tuaniga (Long Beach, Calif.) took Best Server.

The U.S. led in kills (53-31), aces (6-1) and digs (32-18). Cuba led in blocks (8-7).

“We did a good job of following the game plan that (assistant coaches) Kris Berzins and Brad Keller came up with,” U.S. Head Coach Ken Shibuya said. “Cuba is a good and powerful team. The kind of team we don’t get to experience in our country. We were excited to play them.”

A tight first set saw Cuba leading 23-22 when the United States called timeout. DeFalco came back with a kill to tie the score. DeFalco tipped the ball on the next play to take set point and Cuba called timeout. However a third straight DeFalco spike gave the U.S. the set victory.

The second set was tied 10-10 when Branden Oberender (Simi Valley, Calif.) scored with a kill, then took the serve  and the U.S. scored three more points on two blocks from Stadick and a kill from Ewert. Cuba got close, but never took the lead again as the U.S. jumped to a 5-1 victory in the third set.

“Congratulations to the USA. They played amazing today,” Cuba Coach Roberto Garcia Garci said. “We didn’t win the tournament but we are still very happy because we qualified for Worlds. Congratulations to my team as well.”

DeFalco and Ewert each finished with 18 points for the United States. DeFalco had 16 kills and two blocks. Ewert had 16 kills, one block and one ace. Ma’a added 10 points on five kills, two blocks and a match-high three aces.

Stadick scored nine points on five attacks, two blocks and two aces. Oberender and Dane Leclair (Rochester, N.Y.) each scored four points. Opposite Pat Gasman (Clovis, Calif.) added three points.

Libero Joe Worsley (Moraga, Calif.) was credited with 10 digs and 21 excellent receptions. DeFalco led in excellent receptions with 25. Ma’a was credited with 20 running sets and one fault on 70 attempts.

U.S. Boys' Youth National Team

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
Mexico def Puerto Rico, 22-25, 25-21, 27-25, 16-25, 15-6
USA def Cuba, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20