COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 21, 2019) – The U.S. Boys Youth National Team opened the 2019 FIVB U19 World Championship on Wednesday with a 25-18, 31-29, 25-17 pool play win over the Dominican Republic in Tunisia.

The United States (1-0) will play Korea (0-1) in their second match on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. PT.

The U.S. Boys Youth National Team had to make a roster change shortly before leaving for Tunisia. Due to a registration discrepancy, opposite Akinola Akinwumi went in place of Klistan Lawrence.

The U.S. Boys Youth National Team led the Dominican Republic in kills (46-27) and blocks (5-4). The Dominican Republic led in aces (6-2).

The United States’ hitting efficiency behind starting setter Kevin Kauling was .389. The Dominican Republic’s was .227.

Outside hitter Alex Knight led the U.S. against the Dominican Republic with a match-high 13 points on kills (.400).

“We were all really excited to get going,” Knight said. “I thought we got the nerves out pretty fast and it was good.”

The U.S. team struggled a big in set two, falling behind 17-13 and later trailing 21-18. Kills from Knight and outside hitter Clarke Godbold and a Dominican error tied it at 21-21. The U.S. reached set point first at 24-23, but the Dominican tied it on a U.S. service error. The U.S. held set point five more times, with the Dominican tying it each time. At 29-29, Knight scored on two straight attacks to give the U.S. the set win.

“We put in aggressive serves and kept them in and we made good plays in transition,” Knight said.

Middle blocker Ethan Hill added nine points on seven kills (.500) and two blocks. Middle blocker Gavin Juien totaled seven points. Godbold and opposite James Harley each scored six points. Akinwumi, who started the third set for Hartley, totaled four points. Kauling and outside hitter Joe Deluzio each scored two and outside hitter Francesco Sani finished with one point.

Libero Mason Briggs was credited with 11 receptions, 55 percent positive. Godbold led the U.S. with 24 receptions, 62 percent positive. Knight added 14 receptions, 64 percent positive.

Outside hitters: Alex Knight and Clarke Godbold
Middle blockers: Ethan Hill and Gavin Julien
Opposite: James Hartley
Setter: Kevin Kauling
Libero: Mason Briggs
Substitutes: Joe Karlous (S), Akinola Akinwumi (Opp), Rico Wardlow (MB), Francesco Sani (OH), Joe Deluzio (OH)

2019 U.S. Boys Youth National Training Team

Name (Pos., Height, Hometown, Region, College commit)
1 Kevin Kauling (S, 6-8, Naperville, Ill., Great Lakes, committed to Lewis)
3 Mason Briggs (L, 5-11, Valencia, Calif., So Cal, signed with Long Beach State)
4 Joe Karlous (S, 6-0, Costa Mesa, Calif., So Cal, signed with Pepperdine)
8 Akinola Akinwumi (Opp, 6-6, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., So Cal, signed with Pepperdine)
9 Clarke Godbold (Opp, 6-5, San Pedro, Calif., So Cal, committed to Long Beach State)
10 James Hartley (OH, 6-6, Waxhaw, N.C., Carolina, signed with Princeton)
11 Rico Wardlow (MB, 6-5, Bolingbrook, Ill., Great Lakes, signed with Purdue University Fort Wayne)
12 Alex Knight (OH, 6-6, Culver City, Calif., So Cal, signed with UCLA)
13 Ethan Hill (MB, 6-7, San Clemente, Calif., So Cal, signed with UCLA)
14 Francesco Sani (OH, 6-8, Bethesda, Md., Old Dominion, committed to UC Irvine)
15 Joe Deluzio (OH, 6-6, Windermere, Fla., Florida, committed to Pepperdine)
17 Gavin Julien (MB, 6-8, Whitefish Bay, Wis., Badger, signed with BYU)

Head Coach: David Hunt (Pepperdine men’s volleyball head coach)
Assistant Coach: Nick MacRae (Long Beach State men’s assistant coach)
Assistant Coach: Colin McMillan (Penn State men’s associate head coach)
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo (U.S. Men’s National Team)
Team Manager: Gabby Lutjen
Doctor: David Dyck

Schedule/Results (All times PT)
Aug. 21: USA def Dominican Republic, 25-18, 31-29, 25-17
Aug. 22 at 8:30 a.m. USA vs Korea
Aug. 23 at 11:30 a.m. USA vs Nigeria
Aug. 25 at 11:30 a.m. USA vs Russia