Men's Volleyball Summer Update: NORCECA Boys' Youth Continental Championship
Assistant coach David Hunt checks in from Tijuana, Mexico as the U.S. Boys' Youth National team competes at the NORCECA Continental Championships.
July 7, 2012
After a quarterfinal win against Costa Rica, the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team played the No. 1 seed, Cuba, in the semifinals. Cuba is a big physical team that can score points with ease. The U.S. came out with a good game plan and executed well. The guys received serve well and we won game one with a final score of 25-22. In game two, Cuba made some key adjustments late and broke open the set to win 25-16. In game three, both teams came out firing! Cuba took the lead when #14, Uriarte, went back to serve. The U.S. came storming back to tie the game at 24. However, after a sideout and a big swing from #14, Cuba took the set 26-24. In game four the Cuban attack was relentless. Uriarte finished the match with 33 kills on 66 swings.
The staff felt that this was the best match we played since the tournament began. The team has been improving with each match. None of these players had prior international experience, and they've done a great job thus far. It has been fulfilling to watch them grow and mature as players.
With our record, we earned the right to play for a bronze medal and an automatic bid into the U-19 World Championships! This will be the toughest match of the tournament. We have a rematch against Puerto Rico, the team we battled with to start the tournament. Both teams are playing much better now. It will take a collective effort to be victorious today. Fatigue is starting to set in and may become a factor. We've played one match a day and the guys have just tried to rest whenever possible. We are about to go into our scouting report to get ready for the bronze medal match! Hopefully the guys are hydrating and ready to go!
We've had a great tournament and the athletes have been great. Let's get out there and win one more match!!
July 5, 2012
Waves Fans, here’s the latest from Mexico:
In the final match of pool play, the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team lost to Mexico in five games. It was a tightly contested battle with good volleyball on both sides of the net. Team USA was reminiscent of Pepperdine’s fabled ‘Malibu Roofing Company,’ blocking almost 20 balls! Our big block frustrated the Mexican attackers all night. Unfortunately, after battling for five-straight sets, Mexico's tough serving and relentless back row defense proved to be too much for Team USA. The match showed us that we can point score well, and gave us a good idea of what we need to improve on before we play Costa Rica.
After the conclusion of the match, the coaching staff spent a few hours reviewing the match to pull out useful pointers for the players. After we finished analyzing our match, we started on our next opponent, Costa Rica. We watched as much video as we could because we wanted to put together a great scouting report for the team. Once the report was finished we headed to our rooms to get some rest. Side note: my roommate on the trip is Mark Hulse, former Pepperdine middle blocker and current U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team statistician. As we were walking back to our room, Dan (head coach Dan Friend) called for Mark and I to come back and play a game of cards. Although it was late, as all Waves know, if there is a chance to play cards on the road, you take it! Dan and I took on Mark and Colin (assistant coach Colin McMillan) and we beat them with ease (they might not remember it this way, but this is my blog post after all).
This morning we went over our scouting report on Costa Rica with the team. This match is extremely important for Team USA. The winner of tonight’s match earns the right to play Cuba, the No. 1 seed in the overall tournament, in the semifinals tomorrow night. In order to qualify for next summer (2013 FIVB Boys’ Youth World Championship), our team must at least get to the semifinals. Needless to say, the troops are fired up and ready to go! Game time is 5 p.m. Tune in on the NORCECA website!
Let’s go USA!!!!!
July 4, 2012
The U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team won its second match in pool play with a decisive 3-0 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands. We were able to play some different lineups and give some guys some valuable experience. After the match, the guys were mobbed by groups of fans that wanted to take pictures with them. Even our assistant coach Colin McMillan was stopped.
Today we finish off pool play with the evening match against Mexico. The bleachers have been filled to capacity when they play so we expect a large crowd. This will far and away be the toughest match of the pool. Mexico has an experienced team that handles the ball well and attacks well from the pins. Defensively they have held their opponents to -4% attacking.
The winner of tonight's match will have a bye tomorrow, while the loser will most likely play Costa Rica in the quarterfinals tomorrow night.
Right now the coaches are off to scout the other matches while the guys rest up for Mexico.
July 3, 2012
Greetings from Tijuana, Mexico!
After a week of training in Chula Vista, Calif. at the Olympic Training Center, the U.S. Youth National Team started competition at the NORCECA Continental Championships. Our first opponent in pool play was Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico had a group of veteran guys that had been training together for four months. Our group had no player with any prior international experience.
The United States was down late in both games one and two but fought back to win both 25-23! We were able to knock Puerto Rico off the net with our serving and we scored points with our block. At the conclusion of the match, the United States out-blocked Puerto Rico 15-8!
The guys were ecstatic after the win! It was good to see the group play well and gain some confidence. I know the guys will continue to improve with each match as they gain more international experience. This morning the coaches and players joined together for a scouting report on the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are preparing to play the Virgin Islands this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. All of our matches can be seen live on the NORCECA website. For the full match recap and unofficial statistics, you can read the full release on the USA Volleyball website!
Until next time,
Assistant men’s volleyball coach David Hunt is currently serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. Boy’s Youth National Volleyball team (BYNT), and is in Tijuana, Mexico as the squad competes at the NORCECA Boys’ Youth (U-19) Continental Championship.
The NORCECA Boys’ Youth Continental Championship is a qualification tournament into the 2013 FIVB Boys’ Youth World Championship. With a bronze medal finish at this year's NORCECA Continental Championship, Team USA has earned a spot at next year's Youth World Championships.
Hunt, as well as other members of the Waves’ volleyball program, will be providing updates throughout the summer.
While Hunt is in Mexico with the U.S. BYNT, Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany HS), Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS), Scott Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn./Aaron Academy) and Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS) will be competing in the NORCECA Men’s Junior (U-21) Continental Championship in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Aug. 25-Sept. 2. Additionally, head coach Marv Dunphy is London-bound in a few weeks’ time to serve as consultant coach for the U.S. Women’s National team at the 2012 Olympics.