U.S. Men's Junior National Team Sweeps St. Vincent and the Grenadines

By Becky Murdy | Aug. 28, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Becky Murdy
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Feature Story: Olympic Dreams Ignited at Men's Junior Continental Championship

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2012) –The U.S. Men’s Junior (U-21) National Team used a 73.91 kill percent to sweep St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 25-8, 25-8, 25-9 in its second match of the 2012 NORCECA Men’s Junior (U-21) Continental Championship on Tuesday evening at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Michael Henchy (Ventura, Calif.) led the United States to its victory, posting a match-high 12 points at outside with a match-high nine kills, two blocks and two service aces.

“We came out today knowing that we had to play our game,” Hechy said. “We wanted to make sure we prepared for today and now we need to prepare for tomorrow.”

Team USA, the tournament’s defending champion, will face Mexico (2-0) on Wednesday. Both teams are undefeated and both look to secure a spot in the semifinals. The winner of the match will advance directly to the semifinal round on Friday and skip the quarterfinal round. St. Vincent and the Grenadines (0-2) meets Honduras (0-2) at 1 p.m. MST on Wednesday as both teams search for their first victories.

“In a tournament like this we can’t underestimate our opponents,” Henchy said. “Mexico is one of those teams that we can’t overlook. We want to play each game and not think too far ahead in the tournament.”

U.S. Men's Junior National Volleyball Team Head coach Peter Hanson started Henchy and D.J. White (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) at outside, team captain Micah Christenson (Honolulu) at setter, and Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif.) and Driss Guessous (Pasadena, Calif.) at middle blocker, Ben Patch (Provo, Utah) at opposite and Tony Ensbury (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) at libero.

“We would like to congratulate St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a well-played match, and it has been a pleasure to have them here at the NORCECA Championship in Colorado Springs,” United States head coach Peter Hanson said. “By having them here and playing, they will get better making NORCECA as a region even stronger. Tonight it was good for us to play everyone and rest some players. Now we will start to prepare for Mexico and for the playoffs after that.”

Guessous started all three sets and posted four kills, two blocks and two service aces to contribute eight points for the U.S. Tarantino charted six kills and one service aces in just two sets of play. James Shaw (Woodside, Calif.) subbed in at opposite in the first set and started the second and third, posting five points off of three kills and two blocks.

Nick Olson (New Berlin, Wis.) and Scott Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn.) both connected on four kills for four points each. Olson started the third set at middle while Rhein subbed in at outside the first and started the second and third. Matt West (Seattle, Wash.) subbed in for Christenson as setter in the first set and started the second and third sets. West posted two kills, a block and a service ace. Patch started the first set and posted three points off of two kills and a block. White contributed one point off of a block.

Behind Christenson's and West's setting, Team USA converted 34 of 46 attacks for a 73.91 kill percent and .670 hitting efficiency (34-4-46). The U.S. posted 34 kills to St. Vincent’s 13 and out blocked 9-0. Team USA delivered 5 unanswered service aces. St. Vincent converted just 24.07 percent of its attacks with a negative .167 hitting efficiency (13-22-54).

“First of all I want to congratulate St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a good match,” Christenson said. “Coming into this match we wanted to focus on our side of the net and concentrate on the small things. We are excited to play versus Mexico. We had a couple good matches against them in the past the youth level at Pan Am and NORCECA.”

Guessous came out in the first set swinging for the U.S. charting the team’s first two points. A service error by Guessous brought the set to 3-1. St. Vincent snuck a quick one-over at 3-2 before Patch got air on the right side for a kill. Tarantino responded with a kill of his own to bring the set to 5-2. Patch hit the tape on his serve for an error to give St. Vincent the ball at 5-3. Henchy took a huge swing on the left side for a kill and remained serving from a St. Vincent hitting error at 7-4. The U.S. was called on a net violation but St. Vincent’s serve went long giving the U.S. possession at 8-4. The overpass by St. Vincent went long and the U.S. took five-point lead at 9-4. Guessous surprised the defense with a one-over at 11-5. Patch used his ups to get through a double block on the right side at 12-5 only to me complimented by a double block from Guessous and White. Patch again connected for a kill and the U.S. went up 14-5. St. Out of the technical timeout Rhein came in to serve. A missed block by the U.S. gave St. Vincent the call at 16-7. The U.S. then used 11-1 point run to finish out the set. Tarantino swung big for a kill at 20-8 followed by a one-and-done from Henchy. Henchy then used the far left side to give the U.S. set-point at 24-8. St. Vincent hit the antennae and gave the U.S. its final point of the set with a 25-8 finish.

Starting the second set for the U.S. was Guessous and Tarantino at middle, Henchy and Rhein at outside, Shaw at opposite, West as the setter and Ensbury at liero. St. Vincent team errors gave the U.S. three of its first six points. At 6-3 St. Vincent used a huge dig and set for a kill before Shaw delivered a rocket down the line that knocked him and the defender of their feet at 7-3. Shaw served into the net to give St. Vincent the ball back at 7-4. St. Vincent gave the U.S. a point with a dropped ball from miscommunication at 8-4 before heading into the first technical timeout. The U.S. came off the break with three straight and Tarantino came out with a huge kill into a gap at 11-4 followed by a St. Vincent timeout. The U.S. went on a 6-1 run with Tarantino back to serve. St. Vincent couldn’t stop the team errors and was called on a hitting error followed by a double hit at 18-5. Guessous and Shaw teamed up for a double block at 21-7. Henchy delivered an outside attack for a kill at 22-7 followed by a long attack from St. Vincent at 23-7. St. Vincent was called for a hitting error to give the U.S. set point at 24-7. St. Vincent called a timeout and came off the bench with a kill at 24-8. The U.S. then took the second set, 25-8 from a St. Vincent service error.

Starting the third set for the U.S. was Guessous and Olsen at middle, Henchy and Rhein at outside, Shaw at opposite, West at setter and Ensbury at libero. Both teams came out swinging in the third set with kills coming from both sides at 1-1. Guessous delivered a rocket followed by a service error to bring the set to 3-2. St. Vincent posted a service error of its own at 4-2. Rhein used an overpass to set up the perfect attack for a kill followed by a kill off of a swing from Olsen at 7-3. West posted a block at 8-3 before the first technical timeout. Rhein’s serve went wide at 8-4. Guessous posted a block on the back row attack at 11-4 followed by a kill through the middle at 12-4 to force St. Vincent to call a timeout. Olsen hit the net on a service error coming out of the timeout . Henchy made up for the lost point with a kill from the left side at 13-5. St. Following a St. Vincent wide attach, Henchy posted back-to-back kills to bring the U.S. to 16-5 before the technical timeout. A lift call was called on the U.S. but St. Vincent responded with an error of its own at 17-6. Rhein’s attack went wide left but he made up for it with a huge swing from the left side at 18-7. St. Vincent found the back corner on an attack at 19-8. Following two St. Vincent errors, Olsen posted his fourth kill at 24-8 to give the U.S. its first set-match point. Shaw served into the net and the U.S. saw its second and final set-match point as St. Vincent ended the match with a service error. The final score of the third set was 25-9.

2012 U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team
# - Name (Position, Hometown, Grad Year, Club, Region, College Status)
3 - Micah Christenson (S, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2011, Outrigger Canoe Club, Aloha, University of Southern California)
4 - Tony Ensbury (L, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 2011, SCVC, Southern California, Princeton University)
5 - Driss Guessous (MB, Pasadena, Calif., 2012, Manhattan Beach Surf, Southern California Signed at Ohio State)
6 - Michael Henchy (OH, Ventura, Calif., 2011, Spectrum VBC, Southern California, Ohio State)
8 - Nick Olson (MB, New Berlin, Wis., 2012, West Allis Lightning, Badger, Signed at University of Chicago-Loyola)
9 - Ben Patch (Opp, Provo, Utah, 2012, Utah Elite, Intermountain, Signed at Brigham Young University)
10 - Greg Petty (OH, Downers Grove, Ill., 2011, Sports Performance, Great Lakes, Lewis University
11 - Scott Rhein (OH, Pleasant View, Tenn., 2011, Impact Volleyball Club, Southern, Pepperdine)
14 - James Shaw (S/Opp, Woodside, Calif., 2012, Mountain View Volleyball Club, Northern California, Signed at Stanford)
16 - Matt Tarantino (Opp, Van Nuys, Calif., 2011, Santa Monica Beach Club, Southern California, Pepperdine)
17 - Matt West (S, Seattle, Wash., 2011, Space Needle Volleyball Foundation, Puget Sound Region, Pepperdine)
18 - DJ White (L/OH, Hermosa Beach, Calif., 2011, Manhattan Beach Surf, Southern California, Harvard)

Head Coach: Peter Hanson
Assistant Coach: Jonah Carson
Assistant Coach: Jay Hosack
Statistician: Jake Schick
Team Leader: Collin Powers

2012 NORCECA Men's Junior Continental Championship Schedule

Pool A

Aug. 27: Mexico def. St. Vincent and the Grenadines 25-7, 25-10, 25-15 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 27: United States def. Honduras 25-12, 25-12, 25-16 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 28: Mexico def. Honduras 25-15, 26-24, 25-14 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 28: United States def. St. Vincent and the Grenadines 25-8, 25-8, 25-9 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 29: Honduras def. St. Vincent and the Grenadines 25-17, 25-11, 25-20 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 29: United States def. Mexico 25-18, 25-18, 25-20 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)

Pool B
Aug. 27: Puerto Rico def. Curacao, 27-25, 25-13, 25-23 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 27: Canada def. Guatemala 25-15, 25-13, 25-21 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 28: Canada def. Curacao 25-13, 25-7, 25-22 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 28: Puerto Rico def. Guatemala 25-20, 25-19, 25-20 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 29: Guatemala def. Curacao 25-14, 23-25, 25-19, 25-18 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 29: Canada def. Puerto Rico 25-13, 25-15, 28-30, 25-12 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)

Aug. 30: Puerto Rico def. Honduras 25-16, 25-16, 25-11 (Match 13) (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 30: Mexico def. Guatemala 25-23, 25-17, 25-23 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)

Classification 5/8
Aug. 31: Guatemala def. St. Vincent and the Grenadines 25-12, 25-16, 25-16 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 31: Honduras def. Curacao 25-27, 25-19, 27-25, 25-19 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)

Aug. 31: Canada def. Mexico 25-17, 25-18, 24-26, 25-21 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Aug. 31: United States def. Puerto Rico 25-15, 25-16, 25-20 (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)

Final Classifications
Sept. 1: St. Vincent and the Grenadines vs. Curacao, 11:00 a.m. (7th Place) (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Sept. 1: Guatemala vs. Honduras, 1:00 p.m.  (5th Place) (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Sept. 1: Mexico vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m. (Bronze) (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)
Sept. 1: Canada vs. United States, 5:30 p.m. (Gold) (Live Stats - Final Stats - Photos)