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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Boys Youth National Team defeated the host country of Bahrain in the opening match of the FIVB Boys U19 World Championship, 28-26, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23 at the Isa City Sports Hall.

The U.S. will next play Puerto Rico Sunday morning, Tunisia on Aug. 21 and Egypt on Aug. 22.

What was it like to play your first match against the host country at Worlds?

“It was insane,” said opposite Jaylen Jasper. “Everyone was yelling. I could barely hear myself think. Coaches are screaming at us in the huddle. When I’d go back to serve, they were chanting my number. I don’t think I’ve ever played in front of a crowd that loud and that large. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Team USA Starters

Libero: Parker Mikesch
Setters: Chris Hall
Middles: Samuel Lewis, Kyler Presho
Opposites: Jonny Bowles, Jaylen Jasper
Outside Hitters: Brandon Browning, Joel Schneidmiller

Team USA Stat Leaders
Points: Joel Schneidmiller, 23 (21 kills/43 att.); Jaylen Jasper, 19 (16 kills/33 att.); Samuel Lewis, 9; 7 kills/20 att.); Kyler Presho, 8 (3 kills/10 att.)
Kills: Joel Schneidmiller, 21; Jaylen Jasper, 19; Samuel Lewis, 9; Kyler Presho, 8
Blocks: Kyler Presho, 4; Jaylen Jasper, 3; Joel Schneidmiller, 2; Samuel Lewis, 2
Aces: Kyler Presho, 1
Digs: Parker Mikesch, 9; Joel Schneidmiller, 4; Jaylen Jasper, 4; Brandon Browning, 3
Sets: Chris Hall, 28 running sets, 79 still sets on 107 att.
Excellent Receptions: Joel Schneidmiller, 11; Brandon Browning, 9; Parker Mikesch, 8

Bahrain, No. 38 in world rankings, proved to be a strong first opponent for the U.S., ranked No. 7, with the crowd firmly on their side. The host country withstood three set points before dropping the first set 28-26. Bahrain opened the second set by taking a 9-5 before the young Americans righted the ship, 25-19.

“The crowd was unbelievable,” said head coach Sam Shweisky. ‘We really couldn’t hear each other right next to each other. The energy was fantastic. Once we got a chance to settle down a little bit and get comfortable, the guys started playing really well. The staff did an amazing job keeping the guys focused on the task, playing great systems. Coach Brad Keller, Theo Edwards and Galen Dodd did a fantastic job preparing the guys for the match and I think that’s the major reason we did well today.

Bahrain owned the third set with an 18-12 advantage; the U.S. fought back but Bahrain took the set 25-20. Coach Shweisky subbed in Jerod Nelsen in the third and started him in the fourth. The 6-7 Nelsen provided a spark, scoring six points with four kills and two blocks. The fourth set was closed throughout but the Americans closed out the set and the match 25-23.

Outside hitter Joel Schneidmiller led the U.S. scoring with 23 points with 21 kills on 43 attempts, and two blocks. Schneidmiller also had 11 excellent receptions and four digs. Opposite Jaylen Jasper scored 19 points with 16 kills on 33 attempts, plus three blocks. The U.S. led in kills 54-46 and blocks 13-5, while Bahrain had 38 opposition errors, nine more than Team USA.

“For the next matches, we’re going to work on getting the guys more comfortable with all the tempo sets,” said Shweisky. “We ran some bic really well. I think in system we can go a little faster with certain guys. As a starting point, if we can improve from here, that’s a real nice job.”

Said Jasper: “I think we ran the bic perfectly. Our middles were up. The middles opened up the pins, which was amazing, made my job and the outsides’ jobs a lot easier. I think we could improve on the serve receive and serving. If we get that down, it will be hard to beat us.”

The U.S. team earned a silver medal at the 2016 NORCECA Boys’ Youth Continental Championship in Cuba and finished seventh at the last U19 World Championship in 2015, equally the team’s best finish at Worlds.

Pool Matches

Date … Matches
Aug. 19 … USA v. Bahrain … 28-26, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23
Aug. 20 … USA v. Puerto Rico
Aug. 21 … USA v. Tunisia
Aug. 22 … USA v. Egypt

2017 U.S. Boys Youth National Team

# — Name (Position, Ht., Hometown, Club, Region)

1 – Jonny Bowles – OP, 6-7, Chandler, Ariz., Aspire Volleyball, Arizona
2 – Brandon Browning – OH, 6-4, Newport Beach, Calif., 949 Volleyball, Southern California
3 – Joel Schneidmiller – OH, 6-6, Saratoga, Calif., Bay to Bay, Northern California
4 – Chris Hall – S, 6-2, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Manhattan Beach Surf, Southern California
5 – Jaylen Jasper – OP, 6-8, Arnold, Md., Annapolis Volleyball, Chesapeake
6 – Chase Johnson – S, 6-6, Moyock, N.C., Coastal Virginia Volleyball, Old Dominion
7 – Devin Joslyn – OH, 6-6, Angola, N.Y., Eden Volleyball, Western Empire
11 – Samuel Lewis – MB, 6-10, Long Beach, Calif., Team Rockstar, Southern California
13 – Daniel Matheney – MB, 6-6, Lawndale, Calif., Team Rockstar, Southern California
15 – Parker Mikesch – L, 5-11, Xenia, Ohio, Vanguard Volleyball, Ohio Valley
17 – Jerod Nelsen – OH, 6-7, Monte Sereno, Calif., Mountain View Volleyball, Northern California
20 – Kyler Presho – MB, 6-8, Rancho Mission Viejo, Calif., 949 Volleyball, Southern California

Staff

Head Coach: Sam Shweisky
Associate Head Coach: Brad Keller
Asst. Coach: Theo Edwards
Team Manager: Joel Walton
Doctor: Priscilla Tu
Technical Coordinator: Galen Dodd