U.S. U21 Men Celebrate Win over Host Mexico

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 13, 2024) – Behind a spectacular performance from outside hitter Sterling Foley, the U.S. Men’s U21 National Team overcame previously undefeated Mexico and its raucous home crowd on Thursday, 3-1 (25-13, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16).

The victory gave the U.S. (3-0) a first-place finish in its pool and a bye into Saturday’s semifinals against an opponent and at a time to be determined.

“It was an awesome environment. The Mexican fans showed up and supported their team,” U.S. Men’s U21 head coach John Hawks said. “We jumped on them early in that first set and really took it to them. We kind of punched them in the gut a little bit.”

Foley scored 23 points, 10 more than the next-highest total by any player. He recorded 19 kills with a hitting efficiency percentage of .708 for the match, while contributing five successful receptions and four digs.

“Our ability to first-ball side out, even without passing the best, allowed us to run a system and put balls away,” Foley said.

Outside Sean Kelly and middle blocker Parker Tomkinson each finished with 12 points. Kelly totaled 11 kills to help the U.S. amass a decisive 59-27 advantage in that category and led the team with seven successful receptions.

Opposite Finn Kearney and setter Tread Rosenthal each scored nine points. Kearney finished with seven kills, one block and one ace, while Rosenthal ran the offense that hit at a .420 clip for the match and totaled six kills, two blocks and an ace.

The U.S. out-blocked Mexico, 11-5, with middle blocker Jackson Cryst leading all players with four blocks. Libero Roan Alviar reached double-digit digs with 12 and Kearney added seven.

The U.S. dominated the first set behind three service aces and five points from Foley. Back-to-back blocks by Cryst gave the U.S. a 13-6 lead and consecutive aces from Foley extended the lead to 13 points at 20-7. Six players recorded multiple points as the U.S. finished the set with a 12-4 advantage in kills, 4-1 in blocks, and 3-1 in aces.

Mexico stayed close most of the second set and trailed by just one point, 14-13 before the U.S. scored six of the next seven points to take control. Another Cryst block gave the U.S. its first three-point lead of the set, 16-13. A Kelly kill raised the lead to a set-high six points, 20-14. Foley again scored five points, this time on four kills and a block, and Cryst contributed four points.

Trailing 12-10 in the third set, Mexico went on a 7-0 run to take its biggest lead of the match, 17-12. The U.S, which scored the next three points culminating with a Tomkinson block, was never able to even the set. For the third set in a row, Foley scored five points. Tomkinson also scored five points and Rosenthal added four.

After dropping its first set of the tournament, the U.S. Men’s U21 squad quickly regained control of the match by scoring seven of the first nine points of the fourth set. A decisive 10-2 stretch gave the U.S. its largest lead of the set at 21-8. Foley saved his best for last with eight kills in 10 attacks. Kelly finished with five points on four kills and an ace.

The U.S. finished fourth at the most recent NORCECA Men’s U21 Continental Championship in 2018 and last captured gold at the event in 2016.

2024 U.S. Men’s U21 National Team for the NORCECA Continental Championship

Name (Pos., Height, Hometown, School, USAV Region)
2 Roan Alviar (L, 5-11, Hayward, Calif., Princeton, Northern California)
3 Cole Hartke (OH, 7-0, Barrington, Ill., Pepperdine, Great Lakes)
6 Victor Loiola (OH, 6-4, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Long Beach State, Southern California)
7 Trent Taliaferro (S, 6-5, San Clemente, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
11 Finn Kearney (Opp, 6-5, Phoenix, Ariz., Univ. of Hawaii, Arizona)
12 Sterling Foley (OH, 6-7, Newport Beach, Calif., Univ. of Southern California, Southern California)
13 Sean Kelly (OH, 6-7, Manhattan Beach, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
15 Joshua Aruya (MB, 6-9, Mission Viejo, Calif., UC Santa Barbara, Southern California)
16 Tread Rosenthal (S, 6-9, Hermosa Beach, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii, Southern California)
19 Aidan Klein (MB, 6-10, Evanston, Ill., Loyola University Chicago, Great Lakes)
20 Parker Tomkinson (MB, 7-0, Carlsbad, Calif., Univ. of Southern California, Southern California)
21 Jackson Cryst (MB, 6-10, Long Beach, Calif., Sage Hill School, Southern California)

Caleb Blanchette (S, 6-5, Franklin, Tenn., Univ. of Southern California, Southern)
Tre Jordan (MB, 6-10, Mesa, Ariz., Grand Canyon, Arizona)
Kellen Larson (L, 5-10, Irvine, Calif., Long Beach State, Southern California)
Braydon Savitski-Lynde (Opp, 6-7, Roscoe, Ill., Ball State, Great Lakes)
Justin Todd (OH, 6-8, Honolulu, Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Aloha)
Marek Turner (OH, 6-5, Long Beach, Calif., Woodrow Wilson HS, Southern California)
Jameson Vaccaro (OH, 6-4, San Diego, Calif., Princeton, Southern California Region)
Kainoa Wade (Opp, 6-9, Kailua, Hawaii, Kamehameha Schools, Aloha)
Tristan Whitfield (MB, 6-7, Virginia Beach, Va., Princeton, Old Dominion)

Head Coach: John Hawks, Loyola Chicago
Assistant Coach: Donan Cruz, Ball State
Assistant Coach: Matthew Pollock, Pepperdine
Performance Analyst: AJ Ruttenberg, UCLA
Athletic Trainer: Dr. Christopher Cornell, Coduhi Clinic
Team Leader: Donovan Martinez, USAV NTDP

U.S. Schedule for the NORCECA Men’s U21 Continental Championship
(All times PT)

June 11 USA def. Nicaragua, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-12)
June 12 at 4 p.m. USA def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-15)
June 13 at 8 p.m. USA def. Mexico, 3-1 (25-13, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16)
June 14 Quarterfinals (USA received a bye)
June 15 Semifinal: USA v. TBA
June 16 Final, third place, and classification matches