Fullerton, Calif. - January 14, 2016 - Behind 29 kills from Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico), the Springfield College men's volleyball team toppled Hope International in four sets on Saturday night in Darling Pavilion. The Pride won by the set scores of 25-17, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23 for its first victory of the 2017 campaign.
Springfield, which is the No. 1 ranked team in Division III in the preseason AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, evens its record at 1-1 after dropping a five-set match to Hope International on Friday evening.
Vega was sensational in the win, totaling 29 kills at a remarkable .561 clip. Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) added 10 kills, six digs, and five blocks, while Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) totaled nine kills and five service aces. Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) totaled 57 assists in just four sets as the Pride hit .400 on the night.
Springfield opened up with the first three points of the match following an ace by Padilla Ayala, only to have the Royals close within 8-7 after a Pride miscue. The visitors responded with a 5-1 push, capped off by a block from Vega and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), to force HIU into a timeout trailing 13-8. The lead grew to 16-9 on a back-row kill by Padilla Ayala, and the Royals would get no closer than five as Vega crushed his sixth kill of the set to give Springfield the 25-18 win.
The Royals raced out to an 8-4 advantage to begin the second set before consecutive back-row kills by Vega brought Springfield within 11-10 as the hosts burned a timeout. Zuvich hammered an overpass kill to knot things at 13, but back-to-back Pride attack errors made head coach Charlie Sullivan call a timeout facing a 19-16 deficit. The visitors would get as close as 23-21 on a kill by Zuvich, but the hosts held on for a 25-22 win as HIU hit at a .423 for the frame.
Back-to-back aces from Padilla Ayala gave the Pride a 10-9 lead and Vega later blistered an ace of his own to push the visitors lead to 16-12. Vega cracked a kill off the block in transition to give Springfield a 21-16 lead as the hosts burned a timeout, and Zuvich put away the Pride's 16th kill to seal the 25-17 win. Springfield hit at a .609 clip in the game, with Vega producing 11 kills in the frame.
Springfield jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the fourth, but the Royals benefited from consecutive Pride miscues to even the set at 14 all. The Pride used a three-point surge capped off by a Jonathan Rodriguez Lopez (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) kill to earn a 21-18 cushion, only to have the hosts answer with three-straight points of their own to force Springfield into a timeout. Vega crushed consecutive kills for match point and later smashed his 29th kill of the night to complete the 25-23 fourth-set win.
The Pride will return east for an in-region tri-match with Rivier and Endicott starting at 5:00 pm in Nashua, N.H.