With Stanford sophomore Kevin Rakestraw in the middle of it all, the U.S. Men's Junior National Team defeated Puerto Rico in a straight-set victory, 26-24, 25-19, 27-25, to claim bronze at the NORCECA U-21 Men's Continental Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Rakestraw, a middle blocker for the Americans, had five kills, one block and the team's only two aces. Outside hitter Brenden Sander had six kills and a block.
Kevin Rakestraw/Photo by Shirley Pelfey/stanfordphoto.com
Outside hitter Storm Faagata led the U.S. in scoring with 13 points on nine kills and a team-high four blocks. Faagata also recorded 15 excellent receptions on 25 total attempts.
Opposite Benjamin Plaisted recorded 12 points with nine kills and three blocks.
"The boys grew up a lot," U.S. coach Dan Friend said. "They only had 20 days together. We got hurt by injuries, and one player got sick so it was very difficult. Third place is a very good finish for our team and our country. It gives us a lot of pride."