Providence, R.I. - January 23, 2018 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team picked up a three-set win at Johnson & Wales on Tuesday evening in the Wildcat Center as it delivered a 25-23, 25-12, 25-15 victory.
The Pride, which was once again ranked No. 1 in Division III according to the latest AVCA National Coaches Poll, improved to 4-1, while Johnson & Wales dropped to 1-4.
As a team, Springfield hit .392 as the duo of Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) and Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) combined for 35 assists. Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) registered a team-best 10 kills and three aces, while Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) tallied nine kills at a .533 clip. Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) had seven kills on eight errorless attempts and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) produced five kills and three blocks. Additionally, Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was credited with a a match-high five digs, anchoring a defensive unit that held the Wildcats to a .033 hitting percentage.
The Pride totaled 12 kills, including five from Figueroa Velez, and hit at a .435 clip in the opening frame. However, the Wildcats were able to keep things close thanks to 10 service errors by Springfield. Springfield jumped out to a 9-5 cushion after a solo stuff from Jasuta, but the hosts would respond with a 5-2 push to climb with 11-10 after a Pride miscue. Springfield rebuilt a 16-12 edge on another Jasuta stuff, only to have a 6-3 JWU surge force the Pride into its first timeout of the evening. The teams would be tied on three occasions, the last coming at 23-all, before consecutive errors by the Wildcats gave Springfield the 25-23 win.
Springfield stormed out to a 13-6 second set following consecutive aces by Figueroa Velez, and the Pride's lead ballooned to 23-10 after a big swing from Zuvich. The visitors racked up 15 kills, hitting .440, with Padilla Ayala and Zuvich combining for nine kills, while limiting JWU to a -.043 hitting percentage.
A kill and ace from Figueroa Velez book ended a 4-0 burst to start the third set for Springfield. Jasuta converted in transition at 10-4, but the Wildcats would make one final push, getting within 13-9 following a Pride attack error. However, Springfield propelled their way to the sweep, manufacturing a 12-6 run to conclude the set as five different players registered at least two kills in the stanza.
Springfield will return home to face its first Division III nationally-ranked opponent of the year when it hosts No. 10 NYU in Dana Gymnasium starting at 7 pm.