Argentina recovers to beat Puerto Rico in four sets

CALI, Colombia, November 26, 2021. - Argentina recovered to beat Puerto Rico in four sets 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21) in pool A of the men’s volleyball tournament of the I Junior Pan American Games Cali-Valle 2021.


Argentina had a rough start losing the first set but recovered with tenacity to beat a resistant Puerto Rico. Both teams scored 50 points on attacks and 7 points on blocks, Argentina held a slim 3-2 margin in serves while committing fewer errors (29-34).


Outside hitter and captain Mauro Zelaya led Argentina’s scorers with 15 points, middle blocker Imanol Salazar added 14 points including the most blocks with 5 and opposite hitter Lorenzo Nieto scored 11 points.


Puerto Rican outside hitter and captain Pedro Molina scored a match-high of 19 points, accompanied by middle blocker Willy Varela and outside hitter Omar Hoyos with 11 points each.


Next matches in pool A are Puerto Rico against Guatemala and Colombia vs. Argentina.

Mauro Zelaya, captain of Argentina: “The difference with Puerto Rico was our block-defense, whey we blocked we were able to recover and held a huge margin. We must start every match with energy and conviction, that way we won’t lose the first set like today”.


Pablo Rico, head coach of Argentina: “Our counter-attack in the first set made the difference, we did poorly and it wasn’t what we had planned, I recognize our opponents’ good effort that attacked noticeably well. We adjusted and then it was better, we lived it with intensity”.


Pedro Molina, captain of Puerto Rico: “Argentina is a well-adjusted team, compared to us that we had a few practices before coming. I think we did it well against a good team and every day we will perform better than today”.


Gerardo De Jesús Sánchez, head coach of Puerto Rico: “It was intense, we played against one of the best teams in the world, and Argentina has a decade of being in finals, in U21 they finished among the top 8 in the world. Argentina is a team with a lot of practice and good technique, we did our best but it wasn’t enough”.