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Pan Am Cup Team Includes 7 Collegians

By B.J. Evans | Aug. 11, 2015, 2:11 p.m. (ET)

RENO, Nev. (Aug. 11, 2015) – A team of up-and-coming men’s volleyball players will compete for the United States at the Pan American Cup on Aug. 12-17 at the Reno Events Center.

Seven of the players on the U.S. roster are still in college.

AVCA 2015 Newcomer of the Year Jeff Jendryk (Loyola of Chicago), who is also on the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team, plays at middle blocker.


Two outside hitters from nearby Northern California are also still in school: Jake Langlois of San Jose and Kyle Russell of Loomis. Langlois recently finished his sophomore season at BYU and Russell will play his senior season at UC Irvine this year.

Middle blocker Bobby Walsh will play his senior season at Lewis this year while setter Jonah Seif will play his final season at UC Santa Barbara and middle blocker Andy Benesh will be a junior at the University of Southern California (USC).

Finally, opposite Ben Patch, who was named AVCA Newcomer of the Year in 2013 as a freshman at BYU before leaving for his Mormon mission, has returned and will play as a sophomore for the school in 2015.

“This is our second week of being together as a team,” said U.S. Head Coach Jeff Nygaard, a three-time Olympian who recently accepted the men’s volleyball head coaching position at USC. "I think we've done some great team-building. We've got guys on the team that respond really well to direction. I feel we have the potential to be a great team in this tournament.

"That being said, we are playing some teams that I know are extremely difficult to compete against. They play at a high energy level. They play with passion. They are physical. They are extremely disciplined and they present a lot of challenges."

Opposite Cody Kessel, libero Michael Brinkley and middle blocker Bobby Walsh all finished their college careers in 2015 while setter Graham McIlvaine finished in 2014.

Outside hitter and team captain AJ Nally is the senior member of the group at 27, having finished at Springfield College in 2010.

The Pan American Cup is an annual tournament that gives the up-and-coming stars of men’s volleyball the opportunity to face international competition. Teams from the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela are schedule to compete this year.

The United States has never hosted the event, but has won it five times and finished second twice. Most recently, in 2014, the U.S. team finished second to Cuba.

Tickets are available at http://bit.ly/15PACTix.

2015 Pan American Cup

U.S. Men’s Roster

1 Cody Kessel (OH/Opp, 6-5, Colorado Springs, Colo., Princeton)
2 Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
3 Andy Benesh (MB, 6-8, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Southern California)
5 Michael Brinkley (L, 5-10, Huntington Beach, Calif., UC Irvine)
8 Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
9 Graham McIlvaine (S, 6-6, Hinsdale, Ill., Ball State)
19 AJ Nally (OH, 6-5, Rochester, N.Y., Springfield College)
20 Bobby Walsh (MB, 6-8, Chicago, Ill., Lewis)
21 Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
22 Jonah Seif (S, 6-6, Thousand Oaks, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
23 Greg Petty (OH, 6-5, Downers Grove, Ill., Lewis)
24 Kyle Russell (OH, 6-9, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine)

Head Coach: Jeff Nygaard (USC men's head coach)
Assistant Coach: Colin McMillan (Penn State men's assistant coach)
Assistant Coach: Nils Nielsen (UCLA men's assistant coach)
Technical Coordinator: Jordan Cheng (Pepperdine)
Physiotherapist: Berangere Dwyer

2015 Pan American Cup Schedule

Aug. 12 (pool play)
1 p.m. Argentina v Mexico
3 p.m. Brazil v Dominican Republic
5 p.m. Canada v Puerto Rico
7 p.m. USA v Venezuela

Aug. 13 (pool play)
1 p.m. Canada v Dominican Republic
3 p.m. Venezuela v Argentina
5 p.m. Puerto Rico v Brazil
7 p.m. USA v Mexico

Aug. 14 (pool play)
1 p.m. Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico
3 p.m. Mexico v Venezuela
5 p.m. Brazil v Canada
7 p.m. USA v Argentina

Aug. 15 (quarterfinals)
5 p.m. 2nd A v 3rd B
7 p.m. 2nd B v 3rd A

Aug. 16
1 p.m. Classification 5/8
3 p.m. Classification 5/8
5 p.m. Semifinal
7 p.m. Semifinal

Aug. 17
1 p.m. Classification 7/8
3 p.m. Classification 5/6
5 p.m. Bronze medal
7 p.m. Gold medal
Awards ceremony immediately following gold medal match