U.S. to be top ranked team in pool at U19 World Championship

The chances of the United States advancing out of pool-play at the upcoming FIVB U19 World Championship just got significantly better.

The United States will be the highest ranked team in its five-team pool following the FIVB’s drawing of pools during the weekend for the international tournament.

The United States is No. 7 in the FIVB World Rankings and the only Pool A team in the top 10 of the rankings. Both Egypt and Tunisia are in the top 15 of the poll, while Puerto Rico and the host-nation Bahrain are outside of the top 30.

“This is very exciting news to hear that we have been placed in pool A for the FIVB U19 World Championships this summer. Of course pre-tournament rankings matter much less than post tournament finish, but we will not turn down any advantages whether perceived or otherwise,” U.S. coach Sam Shweisky said in an interview with Off the Block. “Every team in the FIVB World Championship is well coached, physical, and dynamic. Rankings can be deceiving and at this level there is no such thing as a guaranteed win. In the end, to advance, we will need to train hard, prepare diligently, and then preform when it matters most. I am incredibly fortunate to be flanked by two of the top coaches in the country in [UCLA]Associate Head Coach Brad Keller and [CSUN’s] Theo Edwards. Returning that tremendous staff and potentially a core nucleus of last year’s players could prove to be a great combination for Team USA. We can’t wait for the opportunity to represent USA Volleyball on the world stage in this prestigious event.”

Teams will play four matches during the pool-play stage of the bi-annual World Championship. The top four teams in each of the tournament’s four pools will advance to the single-elimination stage and the Round of 16.

The drawing for the pools was comprised of two parts. The top-seven ranked teams and Bahrain as the host nation were seeded into pools using a serpentine system, while the 12 other teams were randomly selected into pools.

Pool A is the only pool that does not feature multiple teams in the top 10 of the World Rankings.

The FIVB World Rankings is determined by a mathematical formula based on a country’s performance at the most recent continental tournaments and World Championship.

The United States under Princeton coach Shweisky qualified for the upcoming World Championship after winning the silver medal at the U19 NORCECA Championships last year. The country also finished in seventh place at the 2015 World Championship.

The World Championship is comprised of 20 teams and will begin Aug. 17 in Bahrain.

POOL A

Team How it qualified World Ranking
United States NORCECA (North American) runner-up 7
Egypt CAVB (African) runner-up 13
Tunisia CAVB (African) champions 15
Puerto Rico Second-best North American finish at Pan Am Cup 31
Bahrain Host nation 38

POOL B

Team How it qualified World Ranking
Poland CEV (European) fifth-place finish 1
Brazil CSV (South American) runner-up 6
Cuba NORCECA (North American) champions 9
Japan AVC (Asian) champions 11
France CEV (European) sixth-place finish 21

POOL C

Team How it qualified World Ranking
Argentina CSV (South American) champions 2
Russia CEV (European) fourth-place finish 5
Turkey CEV (European) third-place finish 10
Chile Top South American finish at Pan Am Cup 18
South Korea AVC (Asian) runner-up 27

POOL D

Team How it qualified World Ranking
Iran AVC (Asian) fourth-place finish 3
Italy CEV (European) runner-up 4
China AVC (Asian) third-place finish 8
Mexico Top North American finish at Pan Am Cup 12
Czech Republic CEV (European) champions 32