U.S. U21 Men Headed to Gold Medal Match

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 15, 2024) –The U.S. Men’s U21 National Team played its way into the 2024 NORCECA Continental Championship gold medal match with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-16) semifinal win over Cuba on Saturday night in Nogales, Mexico.


It will be an all-North American final as the U.S. and Canada, who are each undefeated in the championship, will vie for the gold at 6 p.m. PT on Sunday, June 16. Canada defeated Puerto Rico in four sets in Saturday’s first semifinal. The match will be livestreamed.

“Canada is a well-coached team. They do a nice job; their system is good. They have a couple really nice players. We are going to have to be sharp tomorrow night,” said U.S. Men’s U21 National Team head coach John Hawks, who remained concerned about his team’s high number of service errors (22 in three sets). “I don’t know what it is. If you are thinking about a tree, you are going to hit a tree. If you are thinking about missing serves, you are going to miss serves. We need to go in tomorrow morning and work at it, talk about it, and do a better job.”

Outside hitters Sean Kelly and Cole Hartke combined for 28 points. Kelly led all scorers with 13 kills (.600 hitting efficiency) and 15 points, while Hartke ranked second in the match with 11 kills (.556) and 13 points. Sterling Foley also reached double-digits in scoring with 11 points on nine kills and two blocks.

The U.S. finished with 15 more kills than Cuba (40-25) despite the teams being even in the category in the opening set. The U.S. Men’s U21 team dominated the block, 15-5, with setter Tread Rosenthal leading five U.S. players with multiple blocks with five of his own. The U.S. also recorded five of the six aces in the match, including three by Rosenthal, who totaled nine points.

Libero Roan Alviar finished with a match-high seven digs with Foley adding five and Kelly contributing four. Foley led all players with four successful receptions and Kelly added three.

The first set featured 11 ties with neither team leading by more than two points before back-to-back blocks by Kelly and Rosenthal gave the U.S. an 18-15 lead. Cuba was not able to get any closer than two points the rest of the way.

Kelly led the way in the opening set with five points on four kills and a block. Each team finished with 10 kills, but the U.S. Men’s U21 squad held a 6-3 edge in blocks and served the only two aces of the set.

The U.S. never trailed in the second set. Consecutive blocks by Rosenthal, his third and fourth of the match, gave the U.S. a 17-10 lead. The margin grew to 10, including 22-12, before Cuba went on a 9-2 run to pull within three points. A Hartke kill, his sixth of the set, gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead in the match. Kelly led all scorers with seven kills in the set.

Cuba was unable to maintain its momentum from late in the second set as the U.S. scored five of the first seven points and never trailed in the clinching set. Foley registered six kills in the set. Middle blocker Jackson Cryst scored five points on two kills, two blocks and an ace. Middle blocker Parker Tomkinson ended the match with his team’s 15th block.

The U.S. is guaranteed to improve on its fourth-place finish at the most recent NORCECA Men’s U21 Continental Championship in 2018 and is seeking to repeat its gold medal performance 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 USA def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-15)
June 13 USA def. Mexico, 3-1 (25-13, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16)
June 14 Quarterfinals (USA received a bye)
June 15 Semifinals: USA def. Cuba, 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-16)
June 16 Gold Medal Match, 6 p.m.: USA vs. Canada