U.S. Boys U19 celebrate sweep of Cuba

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 16, 2024) – The U.S. Boys U19 National Team used a smothering block to defeat Cuba, 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-18) in its final NORCECA Continental Championship pool play match Thursday in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The U.S. (3-0), which did not drop a set in its three victories in going undefeated in pool play, advances to the semifinals on Saturday.

Match Statistics (PDF)

While both teams recorded 32 kills, the U.S. Boys U19’s 16-4 advantage in blocks was the difference in the match.

“The guys are doing great. They are getting a lot better each match, showing a lot of improvement. Today was a really good test against a strong Cuba team,” said head coach Charlie Sullivan.

The block was strong from start to finish, led by middle blocker Roman Payne’s impressive nine blocks. Outside hitter Aleksey Mikhailenko registered three blocks and middle blocker Luc Soerensen added two.

Mikhailenko posted a match-high 10 kills and Payne totaled four as the two players shared high scorer honors with 14 points apiece. Captain outside hitter Grant Lamoureux recorded seven kills, a match-best three aces, and a block to finish with 11 points. Soerensen tallied four kills for six points and opposite Cooper Keane posted five kills.

The U.S. used six blocks, including three by Payne, to take the first set 25-22. Separate runs of 5-0 and 4-0 gave the U.S. a 14-8 lead. After another block raised the lead to six points at 19-13, Cuba fought back with a 9-4 run to close within one point, 23-22. A setter dump by Rafa Urbina stopped the run and the U.S. won the set on the next point.

The momentum carried into the next set as the U.S. jumped out to an 11-5 lead on a block by Lamoureux. Another block by Payne made it 16-10 and a Soerensen kill on an overpass raised the lead to eight points, 18-10. A Thomas Demps IV ace finished the set.

Cuba jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the third set, but the U.S. used a 7-1 run to take the lead for good, 9-6. The run included blocks by Payne and Mikhailenko, and another setter dump by Urbina, who ran the offense that hit .317 for the match. A Lamoureux ace made it 16-11 and Cuba could get no closer than two points, 19-17, before another block by Mikhailenko. Appropriately, the U.S. closed out the match on back-to-back blocks by Payne.

Boys U19 Roster for the NORCECA

No., Name (Pos., Ht, Hometown, School, USAV Region)
Layton Bluth (L, 5-8, Gilbert, Ariz., Casteel HS, Arizona)
Malakai Tuakoi (S, 6-3, Los Angeles, Calif., Da Vinci HS, Southern California)
Thomas Demps IV (OH, 6-4, Raleigh, N.C., Broughton HS, Carolina)
Noah Meabon (OH/Opp, 6-4, Fairport, N.Y., Fairport, Western Empire)
Myles Jordan (OH, 6-5, Houston, Texas, Ridge Point HS, Lone Star)
Dante Cayaban (MB, 6-6, St. Cloud, Fla., St. Cloud HS, Florida)
11 Cooper Keane (Opp, 6-6, Hermosa Beach, Calif., Mira Costa HS, Southern California)
12 Rafa Urbina (S, 6-6, Broomfield, Colo., Legacy HS, Rocky Mountain)
14 Aleksey Mikhailenko (OH, 6-7, Mequon, Wis., Homestead HS, Badger)
16 Luc Soerensen (MB, 6-8, Meadville, Pa., Meadville Area Senior HS, Southern)
19 Roman Payne (MB, 6-10, Carlsbad, Calif., Carlsbad HS, Southern California)
20C Grant Lamoureux (OH, 6-10, Clemmons, N.C., West Forsyth HS, Carolina)

Titus Brown (OH, 6-4, Groton, Conn., Robert E. Fitch HS, New England)
Joel Eanes (Opp, 6-9, Virginia Beach, Va., Floyd E. Kellam HS, Old Dominion)
Blake Fahlbusch (OH, 6-8, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Loyola HS of Los Angeles, Southern California)
Matt Fisher (S, 6-6, Camarillo, Calif., Adolfo Camarillo HS, Southern California)
Tristan Hassell (Opp, 6-5, Toronto, Ontario, Emily Carr SS, Western Empire)
Isaiah McCoy (MB, 6-7, Lantana, Fla., The Kings Academy, Florida)
Leon Meng (L, 5-8, Los Altos, Calif., Homestead HS, Northern California)
Lincoln Myers (MB, 6-9, Madison, Wis., Vel Phillips Memorial HS, Badger)
Thomas Phung (L, 5-10, Dallas, Texas, North Garland HS, Southern)

Head Coach: Charlie Sullivan (Springfield College)
Assistant Coach: Pat Shawaryn (Penn State)
Assistant Coach: Chris Seiffert (Concordia Irvine)
Performance Analyst: Evan Metzger (Springfield College)
Team Doctor: Dr. Chris Cornell (Coduhi Clinic)
Team Lead: Sean Byron (Marist College)

All Times PT

May 14
USA def. Canada, 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-23)

May 15
USA def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-13, 25-11, 25-16)

May 16
USA def. Cuba, 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-18)

May 17
Quarterfinals (USA earned a bye)

May 18
Semifinals, 5 p.m. vs. TBA

May 19
Medal Matches, TBA