West, Rhein Named to U.S. Men's Junior National Volleyball Training Team
May 2, 2013
-USA Volleyball Release-
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Volleyball has announced the 22 players that will comprise the 2013 U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Training Team, including Pepperdine own Matt West and Scott Rhein.
From the roster of 22, 12 players will be chosen to compete in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship as well as the U21 Pan American Cup.
Eleven of the players on the training team were part of the 2012 U.S. Men’s Junior National Team that won the NORCECA Men's Junior Continental Championship in Colorado Springs. However that does not mean they are shoe-ins to make the 2013 team, U.S. Men’s Junior National Team Head Coach Pete Hanson said.
“As we watched players compete and looked at stats and checked their progress through the year, we saw some guys who were having very good college seasons and doing really nice things,” Hanson said. “We took it upon ourselves to say, ‘we need to look at those individuals.’ ”
The returning players on the roster are setters Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii), West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) and James Shaw (Woodside, Calif.), opposite Ben Patch (Provo, Utah), middle blockers Driss Guessous (Pasadena, Calif.) and Nick Olson (New Berlin, Wis.), outside hitters Michael Henchy (Ventura, Calif.), Greg Petty (Downers Grove, Ill.), Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn./Aaron Academy) and D.J. White (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and libero Tony Ensbury (Manhattan Beach, Calif.).
West led the NCAA during the 2013 collegiate season with 11.25 assists/set and was subsequently named to the AVCA All-American first team roster. He was also the only setter placed on the All-MPSF first team roster.
Rhein started in 14 matches for the Waves in 2013 and had a breakout, near-record setting performance on March 15 vs. UC San Diego. The sophomore was hitting over .900 for most of the night - a would-be Pepperdine record - going an errorless 4-for-4 in the opening frame, followed by a 5-for-6 effort in set two. The Tritons dug two Rhein attacks in the third set to push his success rate down to .812 (13 kills-0 errors-16 attacks), which still ranks fifth all-time at Pepperdine (rally scoring era only).
Players on the training team who were not on the 2012 U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team are opposite Matt Marsh (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.), middle blockers Taylor Gregory (Saugus, Calif.), Ryan Hardy (Lake Forest, Calif.), Ryan Mather (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Bobby Walsh (Chicago, Ill.), outside hitters Tom Jaeschke (Wheaton, Ill.), Austin Kingi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Kyle Russell (Loomis, Calif.) and Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.), and liberos Brennan Anderson (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Andrew Sato (Calabasas, Calif.).
Besides Hanson, who is the head coach of the men’s volleyball team at Ohio State University, the staff will include Jay Hosack, an assistant coach for the men’s volleyball team at Penn State University, and Jonah Carson, an assistant coach for the men’s volleyball team at University of the Pacific.
The 2013 FIVB Men’s U21 World Championships will be Aug. 22-Sept. 1 in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey. The World Championship competition for athletes born in 1993 or later will be much fiercer than at the 2012 NORCECA Championship, where the U.S. Men’s Junior Team won the gold medal having lost only one set in five matches against regional opponents.
“The competition is going be significantly upgraded from what we experienced last year,” Hanson said. “We do have guys (on the training team) who have been on the international stage. That’s going to help tremendously.”
The U.S. Men’s Junior National Training Team will first gather on June 16-20 in Southern California. During that time, the team will scrimmage Russia’s boys’ youth national team and the roster will be trimmed to 12 players. The team will then compete in the U21 Pan American Cup on July 12-20 in Costa Rica. Around Aug. 10, the team will reconvene at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to train for the world championship in Turkey.
Hanson said he and his staff are not looking forward to having to cut the roster from 22 to 12, but know they must focus on creating the best team.
“It is all about putting together the best team,” Hanson said. “We will have to tell the players, ‘You might excel at one skill, but maybe it’s not the skill that fits into the whole mix that makes us a stronger group.’”
2013 USA Men's Junior National Training Team
Name (Position, Hometown, School, USAV Region)