COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 1, 2019) – A young U.S. Men’s National Team is in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada this week for the NORCECA Continental Championship.

The U.S. Men are the defending champions of the biannual NORCECA Championships, which was last held in Colorado Springs in 2017.

The U.S. team is a combination of young players who have played in both FIVB and Pan American events this season. Many are hoping to make the roster for the FIVB World Cup in October and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“This is a great opportunity for this group to go and prove that they’re worthy of being on the World Cup roster,” U.S. Head Coach John Hawks, an assistant for UCLA’s men’s team, said. “And making an impact for Tokyo next summer.”

Three players on the roster – middle blockers Jeff Jendryk and George Huhmann and setter and team captain Micah Ma’a – were on the roster for the U.S. men at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League Final team that won silver this year.

Outside hitters on the team are T.J. DeFalco, Cody Kessel, Brenden Sander and David Wieczorek. Middle blockers are Huhmann, Jendryk, Tommy Carmody and Mitch Stahl. Opposites are Kyle Ensing (see photo) and Kyle Russell. Setters are Ma’a and Joe Worsley. Liberos are Kyle Dagostino and Gage Worsley.

After the tournament, Huhmann will play his final season at Princeton and Gage Worsley will have two more seasons at Hawaii.

“The group we’ve assembled has really good arms. They can serve well,” Hawks said. “We’ve got enough size where we can touch balls at the net.

“Our concern is, can we be in system enough to set our quicks, which I think is a pretty good weapon for us.”

Hawks will be assisted by Princeton Head Coach Sam Shweisky and Joaquin Acosta.

Other teams at the NORCECA Championships will be jockeying to qualify for the NORCECA Tokyo qualifier in January. But since the U.S. Men have already qualified, that pressure is off the team.

Suriname, which was expected to compete, has withdrawn from the tournament, so there will only be seven teams competing: Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States.

 “I think the expectation is for us to go there and win,” Hawks said. “We’re going to go and be tough and play with grit and have some fun.”