U.S. bounces back to sweep Puerto Rico, win bronze medal at NORCECA

The United States didn’t achieve its overall goal at the NORCECA Continental Championship but it will finish on the medal podium.

The U.S. Men’s Junior National Team one day after losing in the semifinals rebounded to sweep Puerto Rico 26-24, 25-19, 27-25 on Sunday in El Salvador to win the bronze medal at the international tournament.


The United States in the victory out-blocked Puerto Rico 13 to 6. BYU incoming recruit Storm Faagata-Tufuga had a match-high four blocks, while Loyola incoming recruits Jeff Jendryk and Ben Plaisted each added three blocks.

Faagata-Tufuga and Plaisted also each led the United States with nine kills against Puerto Rico.

The United States in the third-place match had four players finish with at least five kills. Along with Faagata-Tufuga and Plaisted, BYU incoming recruit Brenden Sander had six kills and Stanford middle attacker Kevin Rakestraw had five kills.

Puerto Rico opposite and USC incoming recruit Jon Rivera led all players with 12 kills and only played in two games before being pulled for the start of the third game.

Erskine outside attacker Roberto Perez Vargas also added seven kills for Puerto Rico.

This is the eighth consecutive NORCECA tournament that the United States had a top-three finish in the biannual event. The United States last had a third-place finish in 2008 and then proceeded to win the next two NORCECA championships.

With its third-place finish, the United States will not receive one of the two NORCECA bids to the 2015 FIVB Men’s U-21 World Championship. Canada, which beat the United States in the semifinals, and Cuba will represent NORCECA next year at the international tournament.

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