COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 1, 2018) – Coaches with USA Volleyball High Performance have selected the 12 players who will play in Costa Rica on the Boys Youth National Team.
The roster includes setters Joseph Karlous and Aidan Knipe, outside hitters Joseph Deluzio, James Hartley, Alex Knight and Akhil Tangutur, middle blockers Nathaniel Gates, Ethan Hill and Ethan Smith, opposites Clarke Godbold and Scott Solan, and libero Mason Briggs.
U.S. Head Coach Brad Keller said his staff had to make difficult decisions in cutting team from 20 to 12.
“This is the first time I have been a part of a program where all 20 could make this team,” he said. “The guys that are here are the ones who played the best and they earned the right to be here. That’s no offense to the other guys because the other guys are really good.”
Players said they missed their former teammates, but were happy the tension of the selection process was over.
“You can tell people came in this morning and just took a breath,” libero Mason Briggs said. “Everyone is giving their full effort. But we have time to work on our systems.”
Setter Joseph Karlous said the team’s chemistry was its greatest strength.
“We’ve been through so much together. This entire thing,” he said.
Keller said the team would fine tune over the next two days of training.
“We’ll focus on setter-hitter connection and serve and pass,” he said. “Also some systematic stuff, especially out-of-system play because that’s the bulk of the game. Those are generic things but there’s some fine details involved that we need to be really good at.”
Ten of the players are from USAV’s Southern California Region. Deluzio is from the Florida Region and Hartley is from the Carolina.
The team has been training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the Colorado Springs Christian School. It will leave Colorado Springs on Monday (June 4) for Costa Rica for the NORCECA U19 Continental Championship, which runs June 6-10.
In 2017, the boys youth team finished 15th at the FIVB Boys U19 World Championship in Bahrain. In 2016, it finished second at the NORCECA U19 Championship in Havana, Cuba.
2. Joseph Karlous (S, 6-0, Costa Mesa, Calif., So Cal)
3. Mason Briggs (L, 5-11, Valencia, Calif., So Cal)
4. Aidan Knipe (S, 6-2, Huntington Beach, Calif., So Cal)
5. Akhil Tangutur (OH, 6-4, Pacific Palisades, Calif., So Cal)
10. Ethan Smith (MB, 6-7, Laguna Niguel, Calif., So Cal)
12. Joseph Deluzio (OH, 6-6, Windermere, Fla., Florida)
13. Alex Knight (OH, 6-6, Culver City, Calif., So Cal)
14. James Hartley (OH, 6-6, Waxhaw, N.C., Carolina)
15. Ethan Hill (MB, 6-7, San Clemente, Calif., So Cal)
16. Clarke Godbold (Opp, 6-5, San Pedro, Calif., So Cal)
18. Scott Solan (Opp, 6-8, Las Vegas, Nev., So Cal)
19. Nathaniel Gates (MB, 6-8, La Jolla, Calif., So Cal)
Head Coach: Brad Keller (UCLA men’s volleyball assistant coach)
Assistant Coach: Nick MacRae (Long Beach State men’s volleyball associate head coach)
Assistant Coach: Colin McMillan (Penn State men’s volleyball associate head coach)
Team Leader: Gabby Lutjen
Technical Coordinator: Kevin Burch (The Ohio State University men’s volleyball assistant coach)