Before They Were NCAA Men's Stars...

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | May 06, 2017, 2:11 p.m. (ET)

Christy Blough

Ohio State setter Christy Blough with the 2013 U.S, Boys' Youth National Team (left) and today with the Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 6, 2016) – Each team that made it to the NCAA Men’s Division I-II Volleyball Championship semifinals had players with international experience gained from being a part of USA Volleyball’s High Performance and National Team programs.

College coaches agree that these players have benefited from their experiences.

“Getting these really good young talented players around other talented players… they always come back better for us,” said Long Beach State Head Coach Alan Knipe, who served as the U.S. Men’s Head coach from 2009-12. “I know for our guys who did it, it was beneficial.

“It’s an experience to put on the red, white and blue that I want all my players to have the experience to do… A lot of them have aspirations to go on to the Olympic team. That is their No. 1 goal.”

BYU Head Coach Shawn Olmstead also sees advantages.

“I think it definitely benefits our team. Any time you can surround yourself with great competition at your level or even higher then you’re going to work to meet those standards,” Olmstead said. “The continue to play volleyball year-round. They get a little break and then they play, play, play. They are surrounded with great competition and great coaching.”

NCAA MEN'S DIVISION I-II NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP INFORMATION

BYU
Outside hitter Storm Fa'Agata-Tufuga: Played on the 2014 Men’s Junior National Team.
Outside hitter Jake Langlois: Didn’t start playing volleyball until college, but played on the U.S. team for the 2015 and 2016 Pan American Cups and has made the 2017 FIVB World Cup preliminary roster.
Opposite Ben Patch: Member of the 2015 Men’s Team for the Pan Am Games and the Pan American Cup; Named MVP of the 2012 NORCECA Men's U21 Championship as a part of the Men’s Junior National Team; Won a bronze medal as a part of the 2011 Boys’ Youth National Team at the U19 Pan American Cup; Named to the 2017 FIVB World League preliminary roster.
Outside hitter Brenden Sander: Member of the 2016 Pan American Cup team. Member of the 2014 and 2015 Junior National Teams.
Libero Erik Sikes: Played on the 2012 U.S. Youth National Team

Hawaii
Outside hitter Kupono Fey: Member of the 2014 and 2015 Junior National Teams.
Setter Jennings Franciscovic: Member of the 2015 Men’s Junior National Team and also competed at HP holiday camps and on select teams.
Middle blocker Patrick Gasman: Won a NORCECA championship with the 2014 U.S. Youth National Team.
Outside hitter Austin Matautia: Won gold at NORCECA with 2016 Men’s Junior National Team.
Outside hitter Brett Rosenmeier: Won gold with the 2014 Boys’ Youth Team at the NORCECA Championship.
Middle blocker Dalton Solbrig: Played in the U.S. High Performance A1 camps in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Tulsa, Okla.
Setter Joe Worsley: Played libero on the 2014-15 Boys’ Youth Teams and setter on the 2016 Men’s Junior National Team. Won gold at NORCECA in 2014 and 2016.

Long Beach State
Outside hitter Louis Richard: Selected to the 21-man roster for the 2015 U.S. Men’s Junior National Training Team. Came in ninth place at the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships. Tied for fifth at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games with TJ DeFalco.
Outside hitter Kyle Ensing: Member of the U.S. Men's Junior National Team that won the 2016 NORCECA U-21 Continental Championships. Selected to the 2015 Boys' Youth National Team for the FIVB U-19 World Championships. Helped USA Select A1 Red Team win gold at the 2013 U.S. High Performance Championships.
Setter Curtis Stallings: Selected to the U.S. Boys' Youth National Team that competed in the 2013 FIVB U19 World Championship. Named to the 21-man roster for the 2015 U.S. Men's Junior National Training Team.
Setter Josh Tuaniga: Competed for Team USA at the 2016 Pan American Cup and 2015 Pan American Games. Named MVP and Best Setter with the Men's Junior National Team that won gold at the 2016 NORCECA U21 Continental Championships. Competed with the U.S. Boys' Youth National Team at the 2015 FIVB U19 World Championship. Named Best Server as the Youth National Team won the 2014 NORCECA U19 Continental Championship.
T.J. DeFalco: Selected to the 2017 U.S. roster for the FIVB World League. Competed for Team USA in the 2016 Pan American Cup and the 2015 Pan Am Games. Member of the 2014 and ’15 Boys’ Youth Teams. Named MVP and Best Spiker at the 2014 NORCECA U-19 Continental Championship. Had two top-10 finishes at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U-19 World Championships (claimed the bronze medal in 2013 and placed ninth in 2014). Tied for fifth with Louis Richard at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

#FinalFour bound! #GoBeach #BoomBaby pic.twitter.com/f0Js5GKrUR

Outside hitter/Opposite: Erik Ensing: Selected to the U.S. U19 Youth Beach National Team.
Libero Andrew Sato: Member of the 2010 Boys' Youth Team that finished second at the 2011 NORCECA U19 Championship. Played on the 2011 Boys' Youth Team that competed in the U19 Pan American Cup. Selected to the Junior National Training Teams in 2012 and ’13.

Ohio State
Middle blocker Driss Guessous: Member of the 2012 Men’s Junior Team that won the NORECA Championship and competed at the 2013 FIVB U21 World Championship.
Setter Christy Blough: Two-time captain of the Boys’ Youth Team (2012-13). Took bronze at the 2012 NORCECA Championship and qualified for the 2013 FIVB U19 World Championship. Won NORCECA bronze again in 2014 with the Junior National Team.
Outside hitter Reese Devilbliss: Member of the 2016 Junior National Team.
Libero Josh Tublin: Member of the 2010 and 2011 A1 National Boy's Select teams. Member of the 2012 Boys’ Youth Team.