Wednesday, 29 May 2024

MCNT Emerges Victorious in World University Games Opener


The U.S. Men’s Collegiate National Team – World University Games (MCNT – WUG) has started the 2019 Summer Universiade with a thrilling win over South Korea. The match, held at the Palazzetto dello Sport in Ariano Irpino, saw MCNT – WUG triumph in five sets (25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 21-25, 15-13).

Perseverance and Grit Lead to Victory

“The key to tonight’s match was that we stayed steady when Korea made their run in the third and fourth sets,” said MCNT – WUG head coach Ryan Perrotte. The team displayed incredible resilience, getting back to their gameplan by focusing on the middle. This victory marks their first international competition in Italy, making it all the more special.

Dominating Performance Sets the Tone

The USA team started the match with an impressive show of strength, securing the first two sets for a 2-0 lead. The first set was a closely contested battle, with the USA keeping a slim lead throughout. In the second set, they used a late surge to clinch a 25-20 win. South Korea made a comeback, winning the third and fourth sets. However, the Americans seized control in the fifth set, taking three of the next four points and securing a 15-13 win, resulting in a 3-2 match victory.

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Uniting for Success

Despite limited practice together, the team demonstrated exceptional cohesion. Middle blocker Blake Leeson from Ohio State remarked, “For not playing a long time together or much at all, I thought we came together very well. We communicated and passed the ball extremely well in the first two sets, which was a big factor in our success and execution of the gameplan.”

Impressive Stat Lines

MCNT – WUG dominated in most statistical categories, outblocking South Korea 17-5 and achieving success on 56 of their 111 attacks. Opposite player Jaylen Jasper led all players with 16 points in the attack, while Blake Leeson recorded 14 kills. Both players also made important contributions on defense, with four blocks each. Raymond Barsemian excelled as the match’s leading blocker with five successful blocks.

A Team Effort

Five American players scored double-digit points in the match. Alongside Jaylen Jasper’s 21 points, Blake Leeson contributed 18, Raymond Barsemian added 12, Ethan Siegfried tallied 12, and Tyler Mitchem scored 10. Jeongho Kim (16) and Sanghyeok Hong (13) were the only South Korean players to reach double digits.

Strong Defensive Performance

The U.S. team also showcased their defensive prowess, recording more receptions (87) than their opponents. Impressively, 71% of those receptions were positive. Raymond Barsemian stood out with 47 receptions, 68% of which were positive. Ethan Siegfried also made a significant contribution with 20 receptions, 75% of which were positive. Libero Michael Simmons received 17 serves from the South Korean team, with 82% of them being successfully returned.

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Pool Standings and Next Match

With this victory, the U.S. team sits at the top of Pool B with a 1-0 record. They are currently tied with the winner of the match between Russia and Portugal. China, who had a bye on the first day of competition, holds third place with a record of 0-0. South Korea and the losing team from the Russia versus Portugal match will be tied for fourth place with a record of 0-1.

MCNT – WUG’s next match will be against China on Saturday, July 6, at 8 p.m. local time (Noon Eastern). The clash will once again take place at Pallazzetto dello Sport in Ariano Irpino.


Question: How many points did Blake Leeson and Tyler Mitchem contribute?
Answer: Blake Leeson scored 18 points, while Tyler Mitchem added 10 points.

Question: Who led the American team in receptions?
Answer: Raymond Barsemian recorded 47 receptions, the most among the American players.

Question: Which team did MCNT – WUG defeat in their opening match?
Answer: MCNT – WUG emerged victorious over South Korea in their opening match.


MCNT – WUG’s thrilling victory in their opening match of the World University Games sets the tone for a promising tournament. The team’s resilience, cohesion, and impressive statistics reflect their dedication and preparation for this international competition. As they face their upcoming challenges, MCNT – WUG aims to continue their winning streak and make their mark in the 2019 Summer Universiade.