(Posted May 16, 2006)

Huntingdon, PA - After a memorable freshman season Juniata College men's volleyball player Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) has been selected as a member of the USA Volleyball Men's Junior National Training Team roster. The 18-member team features the top 18 players in the country who were born in 1987 or 1988.

Werle will join the team for a month of training at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Co. during the month of July. Following the month of practice, 12 members of the team will be selected to represent the United States at the North American-Central American-Caribbean (NORCECA) Zone Continental Championship which will be held in August in Monterrey, Mexico. The champion of the NORCECA Championship will qualify for the Men's Volleyball Junior World Championships which will be held in 2007.

Werle, a 6-foot-5-inch setter, is the only player from a Division III institution to be selected for the training roster, which includes 10 players who competed at the collegiate level this season. He is one of three setters on the roster as the team heads into the training period.

"It's really such an honor to be selected for a team that includes the best players in the country at my age group," Werle said. "I'm really excited for the opportunity to play with these great players, and to work with the great coaching staff. I think the experience of working with the coaches can really help me a lot."

In his first season at Juniata, Werle assumed the starting setter position and made an immediate impact. He was selected as an American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III All-American and was also named to the EIVA Division III All-Star Team. He finished the season with a team-high 1,108 assists, an average of 11.08 per game. His assists per game average ranked 10th in the EIVA and was 14th among all Division III players. He also led Juniata with 39 aces on the season, and he ranked fourth in the EIVA in aces per game. Werle's defense was also strong for the Eagles all season as he was third on the team with 76 blocks and ranked fourth on the squad with 141 digs.

"One thing that separates Matt is his athleticism at the setter position," Juniata head coach Ken Shibuya said. "He has a multitude of skills and is by no means a one-dimensional player, which makes him extremely valuable. For him to have a chance to get involved with USA volleyball this early in his career is really outstanding, and should provide great opportunities to expand his skills."

Werle helped Juniata to a 14-13 record and its third-consecutive Molten Division III Volleyball National Invitational Championship in his freshman season. The Eagles also claimed their fourth-straight EIVA Division III title, and earned three victories in the extremely-competitive EIVA Tait Division.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.