U.S. Boys U19 Celebrate Gold Medal
The U.S. Boys U19 National Team celebrates NORCECA Gold Medal

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 19, 2024) – The U.S. Boys U19 National Team defeated Cuba 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18) to capture the gold medal at the 2024 NORCECA Continental Championship on Sunday in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The victory gives the U.S. squad a berth in the 2025 FIVB World Championship.

The U.S. finished the championship 5-0 with a 15-1 record in sets. The win over Cuba was its second in three matches after a 3-0 win in the final match of pool play.

Outside hitter Aleksey Mikhailenko led the U.S. in scoring with 16 points on 15 kills and one block. He recorded six kills, including four consecutive, in the fourth set and was named tournament Most Valuable Player and Best Spiker. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates supporting me and everything I learned from my coaches,” he remarked. “I’m really proud of our team and our coaching staff. I think we played great, and I am really happy with the result. I’m looking forward to World’s next year and I’m excited to keep working with this great group of guys.”

Middle blocker Roman Payne also reached double digits in kills with 10 to go with two aces for 12 points. Captain outside hitter Grant Lamoureux, who was named Second Best Spiker, totaled 10 points on nine kills and an ace.

Yosdani Medina Torriente of Cuba paced all scorers with 20 kills and 21 points.

Opposite Cooper Keane registered nine kills and led all players with 12 digs, five more than the next-best total. Middle blocker Luc Soerensen finished with seven points on three kills and a match-high four blocks. Payne was named the championship’s Best Blocker and Soerensen was chosen as Second Best Blocker.

Setter Rafa Urbina, selected as the Best Setter at the championship, added three kills and was the only other player in the match to post multiple blocks with two. He ran the efficient offense that hit .442 for the match.

Thomas Demps IV, chosen as Best Server, continued his strong serving with a match-best four aces, highlighted by consecutive aces late in the fourth set. Libero Layton Bluth contributed five digs with three coming in the final set. He was named Best Receiver of the championship.

The U.S. hit .692 with nine kills and no errors in 13 total attacks and took advantage of Cuba’s eight service errors to win the opening set. Five players scored either two or three points for the balanced U.S. attack.

Lamoureux and Keane each recorded four kills in the second set as the U.S. ended the set on an 8-3 run. With a 19-17 lead, the U.S. scored three consecutive points, keyed by a great dig by Keane for the 20th point and a kill by Urbina on the following rally. Keane scored to make it 23-18 and Demps served another ace for a six-point lead.

Cuba took its first three-point lead of the match at 12-9 in the third set. The U.S. pulled within two points on two occasions but could get no closer. The loss broke a 14-set winning streak in the tournament.

A Payne ace and a Soerensen block gave the U.S. an early 5-2 lead in the fourth set. Cuba pulled within one at 8-7, but a service error made it 9-7, and that was the closest the silver medalists could get.

A great dig by Mikhailenko led to an Urbina kill to make it 11-8. The two got on a roll later in the set with an Urbina block, and back-to-back Mikhailenko kills, the second set up by a tough serve by Urbina, to stretch the lead to six points, 18-12. Mikhailenko recorded back-to-back kills and Demps’ two aces put the set out of reach at 24-16.

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: U.S. def. Canada, 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 29-27)

May 19
Gold Medal Match, U.S. def. Cuba, 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18)