Boys' Youth Team Qualifies for Worlds with Win

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 09, 2018, 10 p.m. (ET)
The 2018 U.S. Boys' Youth National Team
The Boys' Youth National Team celebrates its victory over Puerto Rico at the NORCECA Championship. 
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 9, 2018) – The U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team qualified for the 2019 FIVB World Championship by defeating Puerto Rico, 25-17, 25-19, 25-20 in the semifinals of the NORCECA U19 Championship on Saturday in San José, Costa Rica.

The United States (4-1) will play Cuba (4-0) in the gold medal match at 5 p.m. PT on Sunday. Both teams have qualified for the World Championship. FloVolleyball.tv will live stream the match. It is a subscription service.

The U.S. Boys led Puerto Rico in kills (46-24), blocks (7-1) and aces (5-3). Puerto Rico scored 29 points on U.S. errors while committing 17.

“I’m really, really proud of these guys,” U.S. Head Coach Brad Keller said. “We started faster (than against Cuba), so that gave us a little bit of confidence moving forward. I thought we served and passed really well.”

The U.S. Boys jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first set. They trailed 8-5 in the second, but tied it at 9-9. At 13-13, setter Joe Karlous dumped the ball and opposite Scott Solan and outside hitter Alex Knight scored on back-to-back kills to go ahead 16-13 and the U.S. didn’t trail again.

The third-set score was tied 8-8 when Solan got a kill of the block, outside hitter Akhil Tangutur got a block and Knight served an ace to put the U.S. ahead for good.

Solan led all scorers with 18 points on 12 kills, two blocks and four aces.

“Whenever I went back there to serve, I knew I had my guys at my back, whether it was going in or going out,” Solan said. “That gave me a lot of confidence.”

Tangutur and Knight each scored 13 points.

“We’ve got a little of our swagger back now and hopefully we can get a good game tomorrow and get one for the fans here,” Keller said.

The U.S. Boys opened Saturday with a 25-21, 25-14, 25-13 win over Nicaragua in the quarterfinals.

Tangutur led all scorers with 10 kills, one block and three aces. Outside hitter Joe Deluzio had 13 points on five kills, three blocks and five aces. Opposite Clarke Godbold scored 12 points and Gates added 10. Ethan Smith had four points and starting setter Aidan Knipe scored on an ace.

U.S. STARTERS VS PUERTO RICO
Outside Hitters: Alex Knight and Akhil Tangutur
Middle Blockers: Ethan Hill and Nathaniel Gates
Setter: Joe Karlous
Opposite: Scott Solan
Libero: Mason Briggs
Substitutes: James Hartley (OH)

U.S. STATISTICS VS PUERTO RICO
Kills: Solan 12, Tangutar 11, Knight 10, Gates 7, Hill 3, Karlous 3
Blocks: Tangutar 2, Knight 2, Solan 2, Gates 1
Aces: Soland 4, Knight 1

U.S. STARTERS VS NICARAGUA
Outside Hitters: Alex Knight and Akhil Tangutar
Middle Blockers: Ethan Smith and Nathaniel Gates
Setter: Aidan Knipe
Opposite: Clarke Godbold
Libero: Mason Briggs
Substitutes: Joe Karlous (S)

U.S. STATISTICS VS NICARAGUA
Kills: Tangutur 10, Gates 6, Godbold 6, Deluzio 5, Smith 3
Blocks: Gates 3, Deluzio 3, Godbold 3, Smith 1, Tangutur 1
Aces: Deluzio 5, Tangutur 3, Godbold 3, Knipe 1, Gates 1
Digs: Tangutur 5, Briggs 2, Gates 1

NORCECA U19 Continental Championship
Boys’ Youth National Team – Click here for bios
2. Joe Karlous (S, 6-0, Costa Mesa, Calif., So Cal)
3. Mason Briggs (L, 5-11, Valencia, Calif., So Cal)
4. Aidan Knipe (S, 6-2, Huntington Beach, Calif., So Cal)
5. Akhil Tangutur (OH, 6-4, Pacific Palisades, Calif., So Cal)
10. Ethan Smith (MB, 6-7, Laguna Niguel, Calif., So Cal)
12. Joseph Deluzio (OH, 6-6, Windermere, Fla., Florida)
13. Alex Knight (OH, 6-6, Culver City, Calif., So Cal)
14. James Hartley (OH, 6-6, Waxhaw, N.C., Carolina)
15. Ethan Hill (MB, 6-7, San Clemente, Calif., So Cal)
16. Clarke Godbold (Opp, 6-5, San Pedro, Calif., So Cal)
18. Scott Solan (Opp, 6-8, Las Vegas, Nev., So Cal)
19. Nathaniel Gates (MB, 6-8, La Jolla, Calif., So Cal)

Head Coach: Brad Keller (UCLA men’s volleyball assistant coach)
Assistant Coach: Nick MacRae (Long Beach State men’s volleyball associate head coach)
Assistant Coach: Colin McMillan (Penn State men’s volleyball associate head coach)
Team Leader: Gabby Lutjen (USA Volleyball)
Technical Coordinator: Kevin Burch (The Ohio State University men’s volleyball assistant coach)

Schedule and Results (All times PT)
Pool Play
June 6
United States def Guatemala, 25-23, 25-14, 25-18
Cuba def Honduras, 25-9, 25-10, 25-10
Puerto Rico def Nicaragua, 25-12, 25-11, 25-20

June 7
Cuba def Guatemala, 25-13, 25-12, 25-18
United States def Honduras, 25-16, 25-15, 25-14
Costa Rica def Nicaragua, 25-21, 23-25, 25-14, 27-25

June 8
Guatemala def Honduras, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 25-11
Cuba def United States, 25-19, 25-19, 28-26
Puerto Rico def Costa Rica, 25-13, 25-16, 25-12

June 9
QF: Guatemala def Costa Rica, 25-23, 22-25, 18-25, 27-25, 15-13
QF: United States def Nicaragua, 25-21, 25-14, 25-13
SF: Cuba def Guatemala, 25-10, 25-15, 25-17
SF: United States def Puerto Rico, 25-17, 25-19, 25-20

June 10
1 p.m. Costa Rica vs Nicaragua
3 p.m. Guatemala vs Puerto Rico
5 p.m. Cuba vs United States