Erskine, Lewis, NJIT players make Puerto Rico roster for U21 World Championship

Photo courtesy of NJIT athletics

Three NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players have traveled halfway around the world to represent Puerto Rico at one of the top international tournaments of the summer.

NJIT setter Roque Nido, Lewis middle attacker Antonio Elias Rodriguez and Erskine setter Francisco Pomar were selected to the Puerto Rican Men’s Junior National Team for the FIVB U21 World Championship that started on Thursday in Bahrain.

Nido, Rodriguez and Pomar were initially named to the team’s preliminary roster and then made the 12-player active roster for the bi-annual tournament. Puerto Rico, which earned its tournament berth with a third-place finish at the 2019 U21 Pan American Cup, is making its first World Championship appearance since 2011

Nido joins Puerto Rico after finishing his freshman season fourth in the EIVA with an 8.29 assists per game average. The setter guided the NJIT offense to more than a .300 attack percentage in six conference matches and ended the season with 13 aces.

Rodriquez did not playing in his first college season as Lewis won the 2019 MIVA championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. In addition, Rodriquez was a starter on the Puerto Rican Boys’ Youth National Team two years ago that finished in 14th place at the FIVB U19 World Championship.

Pomar as a freshman last season was in the nation’s top 15 and third in the ConfCarolinas with a 9.81 assists per game average. He also added 15 aces and helped Erskine advance to the ConfCarolinas Tournament quarterfinals.

All three players received playing time during Puerto Rico’s three-game loss to the host nation Bahrain in its World Championship opener.

Rodriguez was inserted into the Puerto Rican starting lineup and had a kill and an ace. Nido came off the bench and started the final game, while Pomar was used as a serving specialist for all three games.

Puerto Rico will conclude pool-play with matches against China on Friday and Morocco on Saturday. The top-two teams from Puerto Rico’s four-team pool will advance to the second round of the World Championship.