Springfield, Mass. - February 11, 2017 - The top-ranked Springfield College men's volleyball team made quick work of visiting SUNY Poly and Arcadia in a straight-set sweep on Saturday in Blake Arena.
The Pride, which was once again voted the top-ranked men's volleyball program in Division III in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Poll, improved to 10-1 with the wins on Saturday.
Springfield will now focus on an important regional showdown on the road with the nation's sixth-ranked team in Wentworth. The two teams will battle on Tuesday evening at 7 pm.
Springfield 3, SUNY Poly 0 (25-10, 25-4, 25-10)
The Pride defeated SUNY Poly in three straight sets on Saturday afternoon, recording a .550 hitting percentage for the match. Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) and Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) directed the offense, with Garcia Rubio producing a match-high 13 assists. Springfield had six players with three or more kills and were lead by Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico), who tallied a team-high five kills. As a team, the Pride totalled a season-high 14 service aces, five of which came off the arm of Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico). Springfield's defense was bolstered by a season-best13 blocks, including from Trevor Mattson (Redlands, Calif.), as it held SUNY Poly to a -.203 hitting percentage.
Vega got hot from the end line to help Springfield jump out to a 6-2 lead and the Pride forced the visitors into a timeout at 13-5 when Mattson and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) combined for a block at 13-5. Springfield contined to cruise, thanks to six team blocks and five aces, and Vega converted out of the back row for the 25-10 first-season win. The Pride hit .600 in the frame, while the Wildcats were limited to a -.333 hitting percentage.
The Pride continued its strong play in the second set, seizing a 10-1 lead thanks to a block from Padilla Ayala and Jasuta on the pin. Springfield would coast to a 25-4 victory, with Vega putting a ball away in transition to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage. The Pride, which hit .750 in the set, benefited from six aces, including a pair from both Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and Padilla Ayala.
Head coach Charlie Sullivan went with an entirely new lineup for the third set, and a kill from Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) pushed the hosts cushion to 7-3. The visitors answered back with a 3-1 push to close within 8-6 before Springfield took advantage of some tough serving from De La Espriella to pour on a 9-1 surge that featured four Wildcat attack errors. Springfield finished the sweep with a 25-10 win, with Figueroa Velez and De La Epriella each totaling three kills in the stanza.
Springfield 3, Arcadia 0 (25-10, 25-4, 25-10)
Springfield hit above .400 for the seventh time this season as Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) directed a Springfield offense that posted a .474 hitting percentage in the sweep, totaling 28 assists and four blocks on the evening. Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) posted 10 kills on 16 errorless attempts, hitting .625, to go along with four aces and four blocks, while Jason Weedon (North Tustin, Calif.) added eight kills of his own.
Thanks to four-consecutive aces by Figueroa Velez, Springfield snagged a 13-5 advantage to begin the first set. The visitors would climb within 17-11, but the hosts closed out the frame on a 8-1 push, getting a service ace from Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) to complete the 25-12 win. The Pride hit at a remarkable .769 clip in the set, led by three kills from both Shaun Ermi (Rush, N.Y.) and Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.).
The second set featured six ties, the last coming at 10-all following a Pride service error. A trio of kills from Weedon fueled a 9-3 burst which put Springfield in command, leading 19-13 following a kill by Figueroa Velez. The Knights would get no closer than four, as the visitors seventh attack error of the set wrapped up the 25-19 frame. Weedon produced six kills in the set for the Pride, which hit .400 as a team.
The Pride stormed out to a 7-2 lead in the third set, however, out of an Arcadia timeout, the visitors responded with a 5-2 run to close within 9-7 after a block. Consecutive points would push the Pride's lead to four, an advantage it would hold seven times, until a Weedon kill and Ermi ace provided the hosts a six-point cushion. Ermi, Neary, and Figueroa Velez put the exclamation point on the win, producing back-to-back triple blocks for the 25-16 triumph.