Lexington, Ky. - April 24, 2017 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team had a program-record five student-athletes earn American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Men's Division III All-America recognition.
Seniors Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) and Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) and junior Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) were named to the first team. Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) received second-team honors.
As a program, Springfield College has had 24 student-athletes garner AVCA All-America recognition a total of 47 times, including 31 first-team selections. No other Division III program in the country has received more AVCA All-American selections than the Pride's 47 honorees. Springfield has had at least two AVCA First-Team All-America selections in each of the past eight seasons.
Vega has been instrumental in Springfield earning the top seed in the upcoming NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship as the Pride own a 26-2 record. The outside hitter currently ranks second in the country with a .463 hitting percentage and is fifth nationally in both kills per set (4.21) and points per set (4.95). One of only three Springfield College men's volleyballs students to earn three AVCA All-America First Team honors (Cal Palumbo '11), Vega has also posted 121 digs, 37 blocks, and 36 aces this year.
Garcia Rubio has directed Springfield to the top offense in all of college men's volleyball as the Pride have recorded a .419 hitting percentage. The Business Management major ranks second in the country with 10.62 assists per set and has chipped in 80 digs, 45 blocks, and 19 aces. Earning the first team honor for the second-straight year, Garcia Rubio became just the seventh student-athlete in program history to repeat the first-team national honor.
Padilla Ayala had another standout season for Springfield, registering 188 kills at a .368 clip, to go along with 108 digs and 36 blocks. The Business Management major leads the team with 44 aces, and ranks ninth in the country in aces per set (.56). A three-time AVCA All-America selection, Padilla Ayala is one of only four Springfield College men's volleyball players to earn the national recognition three times.
Jasuta earned his first-ever national honor following a sophomore campaign in which he hit .536 out of the middle while totaling 114 kills. The Accounting and Finance major has posted 51 blocks and keyed a Pride defense that leads the country in opponent's hitting percentage (.110). He is now the eighth middle to have played at Springfield and be tabbed AVCA All-America.
In his second season at libero for the Pride, Irizarry Pares leads the team with 173 digs, averaging 2.44 per set. Majoring in Health Care Management, the sophomore also owns a serve reception percentage of .965 this season and becomes just the third libero in program history to earn AVCA All-America honors.
The top-seeded Pride will play in the NCAA Division III Championship this upcoming weekend in Blake Arena and will host Hunter in the quarterfinals on Friday at 12:30 pm.