Long Beach, UCLA, Pepperdine players make U.S. roster for exhibition series

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

Four current college men’s volleyball players will be on the U.S. roster for exhibition matches against Argentina.

Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco and opposite Kyle Ensing, UCLA setter Micah Ma’a and Pepperdine outside attacker David Wieczorek were selected to play in the three-match series that begins Wednesday.

DeFalco and Ensing are among the four players on this 13-person U.S. roster who played for the United States during the recent FIVB Volleyball Nations League. In addition, both players joined the United States after leading Long Beach State to its first NCAA championship in almost 30 years.

DeFalco, the 2018 Karch Kiraly Award winner, ended last season in the nation’s 20 averaging 3.62 kills per game and was second among all pin-hitters in the nation with a .377 attack percentage. The All-American and Big West Player of the Year also was fifth in the country with a 0.53 aces per game average.

Ensing was among the nationalleaders in 2018 with a 3.55 kills per game average, including having at least 20 kills back-to-back NCAA Tournament matches.

Wieczorek and Ma’a will both make their U.S. debuts in this exhibition series.

Wieczorek made the U.S. preliminary roster for the Volleyball Nations League. The 2018 MPSF Player of the Year also was in the nation’s top five averaging both 4.00 kills per game and 0.57 aces per game.

Ma’a guided UCLA to the nation’s second-best attack percentage at .350 and was fourth in the country with a 10.55 assists per game average. The setter was a finalist for the Lloy Ball Award as he helped lead the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament finals.

This exhibition series against Argentina takes place three weeks before the start of the Pan American Cup and almost a month before the start of the FIVB World Championship.

All three matches will be played in Argentina. The series opener and the series finale on Friday will take place in Moron, while the other match will be played in Villa Lynch on Thursday.

Argentina finished the Volleyball Nations League in 14th place out of 16 teams.

U.S. roster

Setter: James Shaw, Stanford 2013-16
Setter: Micah Ma’a, UCLA

Opposite: Carson Clark, UC Irvine 2008-12
Opposite: Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Outside attacker: T.J. DeFalco, Long Beach State

Outside attacker: Kupono Fey, Hawai’i 2014-17

Outside attacker: Brenden Sander, BYU 2015-18

Outside attacker: David Wieczorek, Pepperdine
Middle attacker: Jeff Jendryk, Loyola 2015-18
Middle attacker: Matthew Pollock, Pepperdine 2009-12
Middle attacker: Mitch Stahl, UCLA 2014-17
Libero: Michael Brinkley, UC Irvine 2012-15

Libero: Larry Tuileta, USC 2015; Hawai’i 2017-18