Springfield, Mass. - July 20, 2017 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team had three student-athletes earn national player of the year honors after standout seasons that resulted in the Pride winning its 10th national title.
Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) was the unanimous selection for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division III National Outside Attacker of the Year honor, Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) was chosen as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Setter of the Year, and Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was tabbed the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Libero of the Year.
Off the Block is a college men's volleyball website that launched in 2011 and is the nation's leader in college men's volleyball coverage. The voting committee for these awards was comprised of 12 Division III head coaches from around the nation, with the top-three vote-getters for the award being named finalists, before the student-athlete receiving the most votes was announced as the award winner.
In addition, Springfield's Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) finished third in the voting for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Middle Attacker of the Year honor, and Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) finished four in the outside attacker category.
Vega powered the Pride to its 10th-straight national title as he was chosen as the Most Outstanding Player of the Championship for the third time in his career. In his final season in maroon and white, Vega produced a .459 hitting percentage from the pin to go along with 372 kills, averaging 4.28 per set. He also posted 131 digs, 41 blocks, and 39 aces and graduated with a degree in Physical Education.
Garcia Rubio had a dominant senior season in which he repeated as an AVCA Division III First Team All-America selection, while earning his degree in Business Management. Garcia Rubio led Springfield to the top offense in all of college men's volleyball as the Pride hit .414 on the year, marking the sixth-straight season that it has led Division III in offensive efficiency. He finished the season with 994 assists, averaging 10.80 per set, and chipped in 94 digs, 51 blocks, and 20 aces.
In his second season at libero for the Pride, Irizarry Pares led the team with 189 digs, averaging 2.33 per set. Majoring in Health Care Management, the sophomore owned a serve reception percentage of .963 this season, and in the closest vote of the five Division III national award presented by Off the Block and Springbak, Inc., Irizarry Pares edged out five other liberos to garner the accolade.