Brenden Sander after watching his older brother win the FIVB World League most valuable player made the most of his own international debut.
The BYU incoming freshman recruit had a match-high six kills and two aces as the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team swept Nicaragua 25-12, 25-13, 25-20 on Tuesday in El Salvador to open the NORCECA U21 Continental Championship.
Sander started the pool-play opener for the United States and played in the first two games before getting pulled with the team having a two-game lead. The Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection is also the younger brother of former BYU All-American and current U.S. Men’s National Team outside attacker Taylor Sander.
The United States in its pool-play victory committed two attack errors throughout the entire match and out-hit Nicaragua .555 to .115.
Along with Sander, the United States had five players finish with at least five kills. Middle attacker and Loyola incoming recruit Jeffrey Jendryk had six kills, while BYU incoming freshman recruit Storm Faagata-Tufuga, Lewis incoming recruit Mitch Perinar and Stanford middle attacker Kevin Rakestraw each added five kills.
Outside attacker and Stanford incoming recruit Kyle Dagostino also had two aces for the United States.
With this victory, the defending tournament champions United States is tied with Cuba for first place in Group C. Cuba in its pool-play opener defeated Mexico in four games on Tuesday.
The United States and Cuba will continue the pool-play round with a match against each other at 8 p.m. Wednesday in El Salvador. A United States win would likely guarantee the team a spot in the semifinals as it attempts to finish the tournament in at least the top three to qualify for the 2015 FIVB U-21 World Championships.