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U.S. Men Look Forward to NORCECA

Sept. 20, 2013, 6:28 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 20, 2013) – Two returning veterans and three newcomers highlight the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the 2013 NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship on Sept. 23-28 in Langley, B.C., Canada.

The biennial NORCECA (North America, Central America and Caribbean) Championship will qualify the victor for the FIVB Grand Champions Cup on Nov. 19-24 in Japan.

Matt Anderson receives the Molten as Reid Priddy watches
  Matt Anderson receives the Molten.

Information about event tickets and the live stream ($1.99 per day or $4.99 for all) is available at langleyeventscentre.com/continentalvolleyball.

Playing with the team for the first time since the 2012 Olympic Games in London will be outside hitters Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) and Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), both of whom won gold medals at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

Competing with the National Team for the first time in their careers will be setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu), outside hitter Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and middle blocker Futi Tavana (Kalaheo, Hawaii).

“I want to continue to look at other people,” U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said.  “The general philosophy of this summer is that I want to look at a broad number of players and see where everyone fits.”

The other seven players on the roster all had significant playing time for the U.S. Men at the 2013 FIVB World League: outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.; 2012 Olympian), middle blockers David Lee (Alpine, Calif.; 2008 gold medalist and 2012 Olympian) and Max Holt (Cincinnati), opposites Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.), setter Kyle Caldwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) and libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu).

When he was announced as the U.S. Men’s head coach in March, Speraw said his first season would be devoted to assembling the best team and developing a new culture and would not focus on wins and losses.

Yet it was hard for him not to be excited when the team won four 2013 World League matches in a row.

“We were successful in that we were doing better than we expected,” he said. “But then we were disappointed when we came so close (to victory) in Poland, but we didn’t win. Then in Brazil, we just didn’t play well. I think those environments are really challenging for players that have never been in them.”

The U.S. finished 12th at World League with a 4-6 record and goes into the NORCECA Championship tied with Cuba for the No. 5 ranking in the world.

Speraw is going into NORCECA with a hopeful but practical attitude.

“I hope to see us win and qualify for the Grand Champions Cup,” he said. “Aside from that, I’d like to see us improve in a number of areas that weren’t particularly strong during World League. This group has improved in those areas; but we’ve lacked competitive opportunities this summer. I want to get out there and compete and learn.”

Following World League, the U.S. Men are ranked No. 5 in the world, and tied with Cuba, which finished 13th at World League and has won the last two NORCECA Championships. Canada had a good World League, winning its pool and upsetting Russia in the Final Round before finishing fifth. Canada’s world ranking improved to No. 11.

Bahamas, Cuba and Puerto Rico are in Pool B. Pool C is composed of Canada, Guatemala and Mexico.

In Pool A, the U.S. Men will open with matches against St. Lucia (ranked No. 53 in the world) at 4 p.m. PT on Sept. 23 and Dominican Republic (ranked 41 in the world) at 8 p.m. PT on Sept. 24.

The U.S. Men last won the NORCECA Championship in 2007. They finished second to Cuba in 2009 and ’11. Overall, the United States has won the Men’s NORCECA Championship seven times since it was first held in 1969. Cuba, the only other team to have won, has 15 titles.

2013 U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team
NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship
Sept. 23-28 in Langley, B.C., Canada

U.S. Roster for the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship
No. - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 - Matt Anderson (OH, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2 - Sean Rooney (OH, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 - Kyle Caldwell (S, 6-8, Newport Beach, Calif., UCLA)
4 - David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
8 - Reid Priddy (OH, 6-4, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 - Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
11 - Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
14 – Jeff Menzel (OH, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
15 - Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17 - Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
21 - Futi Tavana (MB, 6-7, Kalaheo, Hawaii, BYU)
22 - Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw (Los Angeles)
Team Manager: Anton Willert (Berlin, Germany)
Assistant Coach: Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Mike Wall (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Andrea Becker (Martinez, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Charlie Sullivan (Springfield, Mass.)
Athletic trainer: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

NORCECA Men’s Continental Championships Schedule
All times PT
Sept. 23
4 p.m.: United States vs. St. Lucia (Group A)
6 p.m.: Cuba vs. Bahamas (Group B)
8 p.m.: Canada vs. Guatemala (Group C)

Sept. 24
4 p.m.: Mexico vs. Guatemala (Group C)
6 p.m.: Cuba vs. Puerto Rico (Group B)
8 p.m.: United States vs. Dominican Republic (Group A)

Sept. 25
4 p.m.: Puerto Rico vs. Bahamas (Group B)
6 p.m.: Dominican Republic vs. St. Lucia (Group A)
8 p.m.: Canada vs. Mexico (Group C)

Sept. 26
9th-Place Final, 4 p.m.
Quarterfinals, 6 p.m.
Quarterfinals, 8 p.m.

Sept. 27
7th/8th-Place Final, 4 p.m.
Semifinals, 6 p.m.
Semifinals, 8 p.m.

Sept. 28
Fifth-Place Match, 4 p.m.
Bronze-Medal Match, 6 p.m.
Championship Finals, 8 p.m.

Past Champions
1969:  Cuba (USA, third)
1971:  Cuba (USA, second)
1973:  USA
1975:  Cuba (USA, third)
1977:  Cuba (USA, fifth)
1979:  Cuba (USA, fifth)
1981:  Cuba (USA, second)
1983:  USA
1985:  USA
1987:  Cuba (USA, second)
1989:  Cuba (USA, third)
1991:  Cuba (USA, second)
1993:  Cuba (USA, second)
1995:  Cuba (USA, second)
1997:  Cuba (USA, second)
1999:  USA
2001:  Cuba (USA, second)
2003:  USA
2005:  USA
2007:  USA
2009:  Cuba (USA, second)
2011:  Cuba (USA, second)