USC setter Micah Christenson will have one of the biggest international tournaments of the year to make his case for why he belongs on United States roster for the next Olympics.
The All-American junior was one of 12 players selected Friday afternoon to the U.S. National Team roster for the upcoming NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship.
Christenson was the youngest player selected to the U.S. roster and the only current college player to make the team. In addition, Christenson was one of two setters on the roster joining former UCLA setter Kyle Caldwell.
In two seasons with USC, Christenson has twice earned All-American honors and was named the 2012 AVCA National Newcomer of the Year as the Trojans reach the NCAA championship match. He also was a finalist for the 2013 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year after finishing the regular season among the national leaders with 41 aces.
This will be Christenson’s first international tournament appearance since leading the United States to a nation-best fourth-place finish at the 2011 FIVB Men’s Junior U21 World Championship. Christenson most recently training with the U.S. Men’s National Tournament for several weeks during the summer.
Along with Christenson, former UC Santa Barbara All-American outside attacker Jeff Menzel and former BYU All-American middle attacker Futi Tavana will make their first appearance with the U.S. National Team at the NORCECA tournament.
“I want to continue to look at other people,” U.S. Men’s National Team coach John Speraw said in a statement released Friday. “The general philosophy of this summer is that I want to look at a broad number of players and see where everyone fits.”
Speraw, who is also serving as the UCLA men’s volleyball head coach while coaching the U.S. National Team, also opted to add four former Olympic players to the U.S. roster for the upcoming tournament. Among the Olympian include outside attackers Reid Priddy, Matt Anderson and Sean Rooney and middle attacker David Lee.
The United States enters the NORCECA Championship after ending World League during the summer in 12th place and is tied with Cuba at No. 5 in the FIVB World Rankings.
The team will open the NORCECA Championship in Canada with pool-play matches against St. Lucia on Sept. 23 and the Dominican Republic on Sept. 24.
Speraw said in a statement he is optimistic about the United States’ chances entering the upcoming tournament.
“I hope to see us win and qualify for the Grand Champions Cup,” he said. “Aside from that, I’d like to see us improve in a number of areas that weren’t particularly strong during World League. This group has improved in those areas; but we’ve lacked competitive opportunities this summer. I want to get out there and compete and learn.”