Puerto Rico sweeps Canada to win nation’s first NORCECA Championship title

Photo courtesy of the FIVB and NORCECA

Outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas after years of playing for Purdue Fort Wayne in college and Puerto Rico in international tournaments now has a championship title.

And he didn’t leave any doubt about it in the gold-medal match.

Vargas finished with seven kills on a .462 attack percentage and had a team-high two blocks as Puerto Rico swept Canada 25-18, 25-21, 25-23 on Monday in Mexico to win the NORCECA Continental Championship for the first time in the nation’s history.

The recent All-MIVA graduate also led Puerto Rico with 14 excellent service receptions and zero errors and added five digs.


Vargas was one of three Puerto Rican players to have more than five kills against Canada. Former BYU opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez had a team-high 10 kills, while former Springfield middle attacker Jonathan Rodriguez added eight kills on a .500 attack percentage.

Former Cal Baptist setter Arturo Iglesias finished with 39 assists and guided the Puerto Rico offense to out-hit Canada .328 to .234.

Canada had two players finish with double-digit kills, including outside attacker Brandon Koppers who had a match-high 12 kills.

Along with Puerto Rico having former NCAA men’s volleyball players on its roster, the team features two current NCAA players. Barton outside attacker Adrian Iglesias and NJIT setter Roque Nido played during the tournament but did not appear in the gold-medal match.

Both Puerto Rico and Canada entered the gold-medal match after clinching berths to the 2022 FIVB World Championships with their semifinal wins.

Puerto Rico upset undefeated Cuba in the semifinals en route to ending the tournament on a four-match winning streak. Fernandez in that victory had 15 kills on a .419 attack percentage, while Vargas added 10 kills.