The youth movement is here for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
USA Volleyball announced the 25-player roster that will feature six current college players for the upcoming FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Long Beach State leads all schools with two current players on the U.S. roster – outside attacker Spencer Olivier and libero Mason Briggs. The roster also features UCLA middle attacker Merrick McHenry, Ohio State outside attacker Jacob Pasteur, Stanford outside attacker Will Rottman and Penn State outside attacker Brett Wildman.
“At the beginning of every quad, there’s an opportunity to look at young players who could be Team USA contributors,” coach John Speraw said in a statement. “There is a short period before the Paris Olympic Games, and this is the time for us to evaluate young talent.”
The VNL is an annual international event with 16 nations competing in a round robin during a five-week span. The top six teams qualify for the VNL Final Round that will start July 24 in Italy.
Briggs joins the U.S. roster after winning the 2022 Erik Shoji Award as the top libero in college mens’ volleyball. The sophomore led the Big West and was fifth in the nation with a 2.51 digs per game average, including having double-digit digs in 12 matches.
McHenry finished the season third in the nation with a .523 attack percentage, including hitting .700 and having eight kills in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The middle attacker also led UCLA and was fourth in the MPSF with a 0.97 blocks per game average.
Olivier was in the top 10 of the Big West with both a 3.25 kills per game average and a career-best .328 attack percentage. In addition, Olivier during the regular season had a streak of double-digit kills in 11 consecutive matches.
Pasteur finished last season in the nation’s top 15 averaging 4.03 kills per game, including having more than 20 kills in four of Ohio State’s final nine matches.. The outside attacker also was in the MIVA’s top 10 with both a .315 attack percentage and a 0.37 aces per game average.
Rottman led the MPSF and was fifth in the nation with a 4.37 kills per game average on a career-best .303 attack percentage. The outside attacker had more than 20 kills in six of the team’s last eight matches highlighted with a season-high 34 kills against Grand Canyon.
Wildman was among the national leaders with both a 3.28 kills per game average and a 0.45 aces per game average. In addition, Wildman led the Nittany Lions with 524 service receptions and had a 96.8 percent successful passing rating.
The VNL will start June 7 with round-robin play. While there are 25 players on the U.S. roster, only 14 players will be placed on the active roster for each week of the event.
The United States finished the 2021 VNL in seventh place and won the silver medal at the 2019 VNL.