COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 7, 2022) – The U.S. Men’s U21 National Team qualified for the 2023 FIVB World Championship and the finals of the Pan American Cup by beating Cuba on Friday 3-2 (25-21, 25-14, 20-25, 24-26, 16-14) in Havana.

The U.S. Men (4-0) will play Mexico (4-1) for the gold medal at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday. Both teams qualified for the World Championship by being the top two finishing NORCECA teams. Mexico’s only loss was to the U.S. Men, who won 3-2 in their opening match.

All four U.S. age group teams (Girls U19, Boys U19, Women’s U21 and Men’s U21) have now qualified for the 2023 World Championships.

“It means everything for these players,” U.S. Head Coach Andy Read said. “Going to Worlds next year could not be a better result for them and for USA Volleyball.”

Cuba led in attacks (51-49) while the U.S. Men led in blocks (15-8) and aces (8-6). The United States scored 37 points on Cuba’s errors and gave up 33.

U.S. setter and team captain Andrew Rowan finished with eight points on a match-high seven aces (five during one service run in the second set) and one block. He set the U.S. to a .296 hitting efficiency.

“Obviously (the match) was great, super competitive,” U.S. setter and team captain Andrew Rowan said. “It was a five-set match, and we came out with a win. I think Cuba is a very physical team. They had some great swings, some great blocks, some great serves and we did too. It was a great matchup.”

Outside hitter Zach Rama led the U.S. scoring with 16 points on 15 kills and one block.

Opposite Shane Wetzel and outside hitter Noah Roberts each scored 11 points on 10 kills and one block.

Middle blocker Wesley Smith finished with 11 points on five kills and a match-high six blocks. Middle Nyherowo Omene totaled 11 points on five kills, five blocks and one ace.

Libero Christopher Connelly was credited with 12 digs and six excellent receptions. Rama led the U.S. in excellent receptions with 12.

Opposite Trent Moser, who took over for Wetzel in the fourth set and started the fifth, scored four points on four kills. Outside hitter Kyle Teune also played as a substitute.

Cuba was led by outside hitter Bryan Camino who finished with 24 points on 21 kills and three aces.

U.S. Roster for the 2022 Men’s U21 Pan American Cup

No. Name (Pos., Ht., Hometown, School, USAV Region)
2 Christopher Connelly (L, 5-10, Naples, Fla., Long Beach State, Florida Region)
4 Dane Hillis (OH, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., Long Beach State, Southern California Volleyball Association)
8 Kyle Teune (OH, 6-6, Downers Grove, Ill., Ohio State, Great Lakes Region)
10 Tyler Morgan (S, 6-7, Dike, Iowa, Lewis University, Iowa Region)
11 Noah Roberts (OH, 6-7, Seal Beach, Calif., University of Southern California, Southern California Volleyball Association)
12 Andrew Rowan (S, 6-7, Trabuco Canyon, Calif., UCLA, Southern California Volleyball Association)
13 Shane Wetzel (Opp, 6-7, Longwood, Fla., Ohio State, Florida Region)
14 Max McCullough (MB, 6-8, San Marcos, Calif., Concordia University Irvine, Southern California Volleyball Association)
16 Nyherowo Omene (MB, 6-8, South Holland, Ill., Princeton, Great Lakes Region)
17 Trent Moser (Opp, 6-8, Gilbert, Ariz., BYU, Arizona Region)
20 Zach Rama (OH, 6-9, Phoenix, Ariz., UCLA, Arizona Region)
21 Wesley Smith (MB, 6-10, Encinitas, Calif., La Costa Canyon HS, Southern California Volleyball Association)

Head Coach Andy Read
Assistant Coach Hudson Bates
Second Assistant Chris Seiffert
Performance Analyst Alex Hurlburt
Athletic Trainer Chris Cornell
Team Leader Donovan Martinez

U.S. Men’s Schedule for the 2022 Men’s U21 Pan American Cup
All times PT
USA def Mexico, 3-2 (25-13, 24-26, 25-21, 22-25, 15-12)
USA def Dominican Republic, 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-21)
USA def Chile, 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-17)

Oct. 7
Mexico def Canada, 3-2 (25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 20-25, 15-13)
USA def Cuba, 3-2 (25-21, 25-14, 20-25, 24-26, 16-14)

Oct. 8
Bronze medal: 11:30 a.m. Canada vs Cuba
Gold medal: 1:30 p.m. USA vs Mexico