BYU, Purdue Fort Wayne players to compete with Puerto Rico at Pan Am Games

Photo courtesy of NORCECA and the FIVB

Two of the top pin-hitters in college men’s volleyball will join Puerto Rico in its attempt to win a medal at the Pan American Games.

BYU opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez and Purdue Fort Wayne outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas were selected to the Puerto Rican roster for the men’s volleyball tournament that will begin on Tuesday at the international event in Peru.

Fernandez and Vargas were the only active college players to make the Puerto Rican Men’s National Team. Both players also ended last season among NCAA offensive leaders and earned All-American honors.

Fernandez, a Second-Team All-American and finalist for the 2019 Bryan Ivie Award, led the MPSF and was fourth in the nation with a 4.29 kills per game average. The opposite had at least 20 kills in seven regular season matches, including a match-high 27 kills on a .413 attack percentage in a five-game road victory against Penn State in January.

Vargas was an All-American honorable mention after finishing in the nation’s top 15 with a 3.83 kills per game average and in the conference’s top 10 averaging 1.74 digs per game.

This is the second time during the offseason that Vargas was selected to play for Puerto Rico at an international tournament. The First-Team All-MIVA selection finished the 2019 NORCECA Challenger Cup second among all players at the tournament with both 29 kills and six aces.

Puerto Rico will play the host nation Peru in its pool-play opener on Tuesday at the Pan American Games. It also will play Cuba and Argentina as part of the pool-play stage of the tournament.

The top-two teams from this four-team pool will advance to the semifinals.

Puerto Rican Men’s National Team roster

Setter: Arturo Iglesias, Cal Baptist 2015-17
Setter Brian Negron, George Mason 2015-18
Opposite: Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU
Opposite: Maurice Torres, Pepperdine 2010-13
Outside attacker: Pablo Guzman
Outside attacker: Sequiel Sanchez, Elms 2009, Baruch 2010
Outside attacker: Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
Middle attacker: Pedro Nieves, Grand View 2013-16
Middle attacker: Jessie Colon
Middle attacker: Jonathan Rodriguez, Springfield 2016-17
Libero: Dennis Del Valle, Penn State 2008-11
Libero: Arnel Cabrera