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CONGRATULATION TO OUR SETTER RAFA URBINA

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 19, 2024) – The U.S. Boys U19 National Team defeated Cuba 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18) to capture the gold medal at the 2024 NORCECA Continental Championship on Sunday in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The victory gives the U.S. squad a berth in the 2025 FIVB World Championship.

The U.S. finished the championship 5-0 with a 15-1 record in sets. The win over Cuba was its second in three matches after a 3-0 win in the final match of pool play.

Outside hitter Aleksey Mikhailenko led the U.S. in scoring with 16 points on 15 kills and one block. He recorded six kills, including four consecutive, in the fourth set and was named tournament Most Valuable Player and Best Spiker. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates supporting me and everything I learned from my coaches,” he remarked. “I’m really proud of our team and our coaching staff. I think we played great, and I am really happy with the result. I’m looking forward to World’s next year and I’m excited to keep working with this great group of guys.”

Middle blocker Roman Payne also reached double digits in kills with 10 to go with two aces for 12 points. Captain outside hitter Grant Lamoureux, who was named Second Best Spiker, totaled 10 points on nine kills and an ace.

Yosdani Medina Torriente of Cuba paced all scorers with 20 kills and 21 points.

Opposite Cooper Keane registered nine kills and led all players with 12 digs, five more than the next-best total. Middle blocker Luc Soerensen finished with seven points on three kills and a match-high four blocks. Payne was named the championship’s Best Blocker and Soerensen was chosen as Second Best Blocker.

Setter Rafa Urbina, selected as the Best Setter at the championship, added three kills and was the only other player in the match to post multiple blocks with two. He ran the efficient offense that hit .442 for the match.

Thomas Demps IV, chosen as Best Server, continued his strong serving with a match-best four aces, highlighted by consecutive aces late in the fourth set. Libero Layton Bluth contributed five digs with three coming in the final set. He was named Best Receiver of the championship.

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