BYU volleyball: Ben Patch on Jr. National Volleyball Team

By Whitney Weekes

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 24 2012 6:20 p.m. MDT

USA Volleyball announced BYU’s men’s volleyball’s incoming freshman Ben Patch as a member of the 2012 U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team 12-player roster.

The team will compete at the 2012 NORCECA Men’s Junior (U-21) Continental Championship Aug. 27 - Sept. 1 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.

An 18-player training team spent the three weeks prior to NORCECA (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) training in Colorado Springs, Colo. The training team roster was selected through USA Volleyball Indoor High Performance tryouts held across the country, while the final six cuts were made during the training block.

Peter Hanson, head coach for the 2012 U.S. MJNT, selected his final 12 players at the conclusion of the training camp on Aug. 21 with the help from assistant coaches Jay Hosack and Jonah Carson.

“We have an exceptional group of 12 athletes and volleyball players,” Hanson said. “During the training block, this group of guys continually rose to the top.”

The team draws from a pool of talented athletes nationwide, with representation from seven states and eight USA Volleyball Regions.

Patch will join James Shaw (Woodside, Calif.) as the team’s two opposite hitters.

“The neat thing about our opposites is that they give us flexibility and we can use them to manage games,” Hanson said. “Shaw is our shutdown blocker and Patch really found his serving rhythm. They both bring a strong side-out game. We have options utilizing those two.”

Despite their youth, Patch and Shaw bring international experience to the position having competed at the 2011 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ Youth World Championship.

Going into the NORCECA event, Hanson and his coaching staff expect nothing short of a podium appearance.

“They are battling for a medal (at NORCECA),” Hanson said. “As well as a chance to go to the 2013 FIVB Men’s Junior World Championship. We are excited about our final 12.”

Eight teams are slated to compete at NORCECA. Team USA opens Pool A against Honduras on Aug. 27. The Americans will face St. Vincent on Aug. 28 and conclude group play against Mexico on Aug. 29. All three matches will be at 5:30 p.m. MT.

Pool B consists of Canada, Curacao, Guatemala and Puerto Rico.

Each team will play one match per day during pool play Aug. 27-29. The playoff round begins on Aug. 30, and the matchups will depend on the results of group play.

The U.S. has earned a medal in all seven editions of the biennial event, including a gold medal at the most recent edition in 2010. Team USA earned a pair of silver medals in 2004 and 2006, while taking bronze in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2008.

Whitney Weekes works in BYU Athletic Communications as the tennis sports information director. She can be reached at tennis_sid@byu.edu.

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