COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 12, 2017) – About an hour after his BYU Cougars had lost to Ohio State for the second straight year in the final of the NCAA Men’s DI-II National Championships, senior outside hitter Jake Langlois was ready to go.
“Let’s put all that behind us and move on to USA,” Langlois said with a grin.
The next step for Langlois would be training with the U.S. Men’s National Team at the American Sports Center in Anaheim. Langlois has trained with the U.S. Men each summer since 2014 and played on the Pan American Cup teams in 2015 and ’16. This year, the 24-year-old made the FIVB World League preliminary roster for the first time.
But Langlois didn’t even know if he would be playing college volleyball, let alone professional, when he graduated from high school in San Jose, Calif., where he played soccer and golf.
“My junior and senior year of high school, I grew 10 inches (from 5-foot-10 to 6-8),” he said. “When I got to college, I thought, ‘OK, might as well try out for a tall sport.’”
Supported by his father, Douglas, who had played club volleyball at BYU, Langlois, who is now 6-10, tried out for the volleyball team. He had decided that if it didn’t work out, he would try basketball, then golf.
As a true freshman in 2011, Langlois served as a manager and played a little with other newcomers. After a two-year church mission to Maceio, Brazil, Langlois made the team as a walk-on, red-shirt freshman.
By 2015, he was a starter. In 2016, he made the AVCA All-American Second Team and in 2017 he reached the first team as he was eighth in the country and first on his team in points per set (4.59).
As he begins his professional career, Langlois knows there is one key skill he needs to improve.
“The skill of passing, especially when guys are hitting the ball this hard at you, me just playing three years, it’s tough,” he said. “I’ll for sure get better at passing the more I practice. Hitting over the block is OK for me. The passing is hard.”
Matt Anderson, who plays outside hitter for Zenit Kazan, won the CEV Champions League, losing only two sets in 12 matches. In the semifinals on April 29, Kazan beat Germany’s Berlin Recycling Volleys, 25-21, 25-22, 25-13. Anderson scored 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. He was credited with 13 receptions, 69 percent positive.
In the final on April 30, Kazan beat Italy’s Sir Safety Conad Perugia, 25-15, 25-23, 25-14. Anderson scored seven points on four kills and three aces. He was credited with 12 receptions, 83 percent positive.
Anderson and Kazan also won Russia’s league championship, defeating Dinamo Moscow in the final, 25-20, 25-17, 25-16. Anderson scored 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace. He was credited with 11 receptions, 45 percent positive.
Libero Erik Shoji, setter Kawika Shoji and Lokomotiv Novosibirsk took the bronze medal, defeating Belogorie Belgorod in the third-place match, 31-29, 25-22, 25-10. Erik Shoji was credited with 20 receptions, 55 percent positive. Kawika Shoji scored five points on three blocks and two aces and set his team to a .561 hitting efficiency.
Setter Micah Christenson and Cucine Lube Civitanova finished third in the CEV Champions League, defeating Germany’s Berlin Recycling Volleys in the bronze medal match, 29-27, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21 on April 30. Christenson scored three points on two kills and one ace in the final. He set his team to a .481 hitting efficiency.
Christenson and Co. then won Italy’s league championship, going 3-0 in matches against Diatec Trentino. In the final match on May 7, Civitanova won, 28-26, 25-20, 18-25, 25-14. Christenson scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace. He set his team to a .467 hitting efficiency.
The No. 2-ranked U.S. Men will face No. 1 Brazil in two USAV Cup matches on Aug. 18 and 19 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Chaumont won the French league title, beating Spacer’s Toulouse in the final, 25-16, 25-21, 27-25 on May 6. McDonnell scored 10 points on six kills, one block and three aces.
Middle blocker David Lee and Ziraat Bankasi fell to Fenerbahce 2-1 in the series for third place in the Turkish league. In the final match on May 1, Ziraat Bankasi fell, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22. Lee scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace.