Micah Christenson Starts For U.S. National Team In FIVB Grand Champions Cup

    Micah Christenson

    Nov. 26, 2013

    USC junior Micah Christenson started at setter every match for the U.S. Men's National Team at the recently-concluded 6-team FIVB Grand Champions Cup in Japan. Christenson was the only current collegian on the USA squad that was composed of players with years of international and Olympic experience.

    Former Trojan Murphy Troy, the 2011 Collegiate National Player of the Year, also was on the U.S. squad, but appeared briefly in only one match in the tourney.

    The U.S. Men finished the tournament in fifth place with a record of 2-3. Brazil was first while Russia took second and Italy was third.

    The U.S., fourth in the current world rankings, opened the tourney with a 25-17, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20 win over host and No. 17 Japan on Nov. 19, then fell in a nail-biter to top-ranked Brazil, 31-29, 25-23, 25-23, on Nov. 20. Both matches were in Kyoto.

    The competition then moved to Tokyo, where the USA fought back to defeat No. 3 Italy, 25-21, 20-25, 22-25, 28-26, 15-13 on Nov. 22. The Americans were then upset by No. 12 Iran, 28-26, 19-25, 19-25, 27-25, 18-16, on Nov. 23 in another tight match. Finally, the U.S. finished play on Nov. 24 against No. 2 Russia and was swept, 29-27, 25-22, 25-19.

    Earlier this year, in September, Christenson helped the USA National Team win the NORECA (North America, Central America and Caribbean) Continental Championship for the first time since 2007, thereby qualifying for the FIVB Grand Champions Cup.

    Christenson was one of three players (along with Jeff Menzel and Futi Tavana) competing this year in international play with the USA National Team for the first time in their careers.

    But Christenson has a wealth of international experience at lower levels. He captained and started at setter on the 2012 U.S. Junior National Team that captured the gold medal at the NORCECA Men's Junior Continental Championship in Colorado Springs, Co., where he won the Best Setter Award. He also started at setter on the U.S. Junior National Team that placed fourth (the team's highest finish ever in the tourney) at the 2011 FIVB Volleyball Men's Junior World Championship in Brazil, on the U.S. Junior National Team that won a gold medal in the 2010 NORCECA Junior Championship in Canada (he was named Best Setter), on the U.S. Youth National Team in 2009 and 2010 as the 2009 squad finished 10th at the FIVB Boys Youth World Championship in Italy (he was the youngest starting setter to ever compete for the U.S. on a national team) and the 2010 squad won a silver medal at the NORCECA Youth Championship in Mexico.



    Christenson made the All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation second team in 2013 as a sophomore for the second consecutive year. He led the Trojans this season in assists (867), digs (179) and aces (41) and was second in blocks (59). He is fifth nationally in aces (0.45, second in the MPSF) and was one of three finalists for the 2013 Off The Block National Server of the Year. As a freshman in 2012, he was the AVCA National Newcomer of the Year and MPSF Freshman of the Year while earning All-American second team acclaim.

    Troy has had significant international playing time for the USA Men at the 2013 FIVB World League, where the team finished 12th. He has also competed professionally overseas in Italy.

    Troy was an All-American first teamer in 2009 and 2011 while leading the Trojans to the NCAA Final Four both seasons. He set eight school rally scoring era season and career records.

    Christenson now returns to his duties with the USC men's volleyball team, which is coming off a rebuilding season in 2013 after having advanced to the NCAA Final Four 3 of the previous 4 years.

    The Trojans host Alberta in an exhibition on Dec. 31 in the Galen Center. USC then begins its 2014 spring season with non-conference road matches at Loyola-Chicago on Jan. 4 and Lewis on Jan. 5.