Four current college men’s volleyball players, including two All-Americans, have a chance to represent the United States at an upcoming international tournament.
USA Volleyball announced Wednesday that BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander, Pepperdine outside attacker Josh Taylor, UC Irvine libero Michael Brinkley and Long Beach State setter Connor Olbright were among the 18 players included on the U.S. preliminary roster for the Pan American Cup tournament.
The United States enters the Pan American Cup as the defending tournament champions. The seven-team tournament will feature teams from throughout North American and South American, including Brazil and Argentina.
Despite being the youngest players on the preliminary roster, all four current college players have international playing experience.
Sander last year was named the Pan American Cup most valuable player as the United States won the gold medal. The three-time All-American also helped BYU last season win the MPSF championship and reach the NCAA finals.
Taylor as a sophomore last season Second-Team All-MPSF honors and helped Pepperdine qualify for the MPSF Tournament. In addition, the outside attacker, along with Sander and Olbright, played for the U.S. Junior National Team that finished in fourth place at the 2011 World Championship.
Brinkley was among the national leaders last season with a 2.46 digs per game average and earned All-American honors as UC Irvine won its second consecutive NCAA championship. The sophomore also was an alternate for the U.S. Junior National Team in 2011.
Olbirght earned All-American honors as Long Beach State’s starting setter last season and led the 49ers to the MPSF Tournament championship match.
Among the 14 non-college players making the U.S. preliminary roster includes former Olympian setter Brian Thornton and several former All-Americans who now play at the professional level.
The preliminary roster will be cut to 12 players by the start of the Pan American Cup tournament on Aug. 17 in Mexico City.
The United States opens the tournament with pool-play matches against Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago.
U.S. Men’s Team Preliminary Roster
Setter: Ryan Ammerman
Setter: Chris Austin
Setter: Connor Olbright
Setter: Brian Thornton
Opposite: Taylor Hughes
Opposite: Will Price
Opposite: Shawn Sangrey
Outside attacker: Jayson Jablonsky
Outside attacker: Jeff Menzel
Outside attacker: Garrett Muagututia
Outside attacker: Ryan Jay Owens
Outside attacker: Taylor Sander, BYU
Outside attacker: Joe Sunder
Outside attacker: Josh Taylor, Pepperdine
Middle attacker: Dylan Davis
Middle attacker: Andy Hein
Middle attacker: Russ Lavaja
Middle attacker: Dan McDonnell
Middle attacker: Jacek Ratajczak
Libero: Michael Brinkley, UC Irvine
Libero: Alfee Reft