COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 9, 2016) – Josh Tuaniga and the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team used a 15-point run in the opening set to set the tone for a 25-9, 26-24, 25-21 semifinal win over Canada in the NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship on Saturday.
The United States (3-0) will play Cuba (4-0) in the gold medal match at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday. The winner will qualify for the 2017 FIVB U21 World Championship.
In the first set, Tuaniga, a left-handed setter, had his spinning salvos locked in while serving 14 consecutive points and keeping the U.S. attack running crisply.
“I think that was the first time I have ever done that – that was crazy,” said Tuaniga, an AVCA second-team All-American setter at Long Beach State University. “I’ve done maybe 10, at most. Fourteen was a rough one.
“(After the first set) we just had to keep reminding ourselves that the team on the other side is a good team and keep working. We did good job of that. Canada gave us a really good fight, so kudos to them.”
Outside hitter Dylan Missry was the United States’ top shot with 11 points (11 kills from 24 attacks). Team USA also got 10 each from Kyle Ensing (eight kills, one block and one ace) from Jordan Ewert (including nine kills on 16 attacks). Canada received 11 points from Sharone Vernon-Evans (all kills, from 31 attacks) and 10 from Eric Loeppky (eight kills from 19 attacks and two blocks).
Neither Cuba nor the United States has lost a set this week. The United States players have a slight edge over Cuba in age (19.0 to Cuba’s 18.2) and height (196 cm to 194).
“I think Cuba is going to be a big, powerful team,” U.S. Head Coach Jay Hosack said. “They’re not a finesse team, they just like to go up and bang away. They serve very well. We’re going to have to do a little better job of passing the ball if we want to have a chance. Those are the two things we’ll work on before (Sunday).”
U.S. Starters vs. Canada
Outside Hitters: Jordan Ewert and Dylan Missry
Middle Blockers: Scott Stadick and George Huhmann
Opposite: Kyle Ensing
Setter: Josh Tuaniga
Libero: Matthew Douglas
U.S. Statistics vs. Canada
Kills: Missry 11, Ewert 9, Ensing 8, Huhmann 6, Stadick 2, Tuaniga 1
Blocks: Huhmann 2, Stadick 2, Ewert 1, Ensing 1
Aces: Tuaniga 2, Stadick 1, Ensing 1
Digs: Douglas 11, Ensing 8, Ewart 8, Missry 5, Tuaniga 4, Huhmann 1
No. Name (Position, Height, College, Hometown, Region)
2. Kyle Ensing (Opposite, 6-7, Long Beach State, Valencia, California, SCVA)
4. Reese Devilbiss (Outside Hitter, 6-2, Ohio State University, Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania, Keystone)
5. Jack Cole (Middle Blocker, 6-6, Pepperdine University, Lafayette, California, NCVA)
6. George Huhmann (Middle Blocker, 6-10, Princeton University, High Ridge, Missouri, Gateway)
9. Scott Stadick (Middle Blocker, 7-0, UC Irvine, Watertown, Wisconsin, Badger)
10. Joshua Tuaniga (Setter, 6-2, CSU Long Beach, Long Beach, California, SCVA)
12. Austin Matautia (Outside Hitter, 6-5, University of Hawaii Manoa, Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Aloha)
13. Michael Wexter (Opposite, 6-6, Pepperdine University, New Lenox, Illinois, Great Lakes)
17. Joe Worsley (Setter, 6-0, University of Hawaii, Moraga, California, NCVA)
18. Matt Douglas (Libero, 5-10, USC, Pacific Palisades, California, Southern California)
19. Jordan Ewert (Outside Hitter, 6-5, Stanford University, Antioch, California, NCVA)
20. Dylan Missry (Outside Hitter, 6-4, UCLA, Holbrook, New York, Garden Empire)
Head Coach: Jay Hosack, George Mason University
Assistant Coach: Jonah Carson, Mountain View Volleyball Club
Assistant Coach: Matt McCarthy, Lewis University
Statistician: Virginia Pham, Virginia Commonwealth University
July 5: USA def Barbados, 25-15, 25-15, 25-16
July 6: USA def St. Vincent, 25-11, 25-12, 25-10
July 8: Semifinals
July 9: Finals