Springfield, Mass. - January 26, 2018 - Facing its first nationally-ranked Division III opponent of the season, the Springfield College men's volleyball team powered past NYU in straight sets in Dana Gymnasium on Friday night. The Pride won by the set scores 25-20, 25-23, 25-16.
Springfield, which was ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll for the 17th-straight week dating back to last season, improved to 5-1 on the season. The Violets, who were 10th in the national poll this week, dropped to 2-2 on the year.
The Pride was relentless from the service line throughout the entirety of the match, racking up 11 aces, including four from Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.). Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) paced Springfield's offense with 10 kills, while Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) totaled nine kills and a match-high seven digs, and Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) chipped in nine kills at a .333 clip. Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) directed the offense to a .299 hitting percentage and was credited with 27 assists and a team-best four blocks.
NYU was limited to a .194 hitting percentage in the setback, but finished the match with 8.0 team blocks, with Neil Ferraro registering six blocks for the visitors. Alex Li and Evan Lindley each contributed 10 kills, and Matin Bikdeli produced 25 assists.
The first set featured 11 ties and four lead changes, and Springfield wasted no time burning a timeout after Li ripped an ace to put the visitors ahead, 10-7. Springfield would regain a 13-12 lead thanks to a 4-0 push that was highlighted by consecutive aces from Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.), but a big swing from Li would knot things at 18-all. A sideout kill from Figueroa Velez kickstarted a 5-0 burst by the Pride, as the senior delivered back-to-back aces and fueled the Pride to a 23-18 advantage. Zuvich would later hammer his fourth kill of the set for the 25-20 win.
Padilla Ayala bounced a ball down the line for a 6-2 lead in the second set, and thanks to the tough serving of Jasuta, Springfield extended its lead to 14-5. Facing an 18-11 deficit, the Violets started to claw their way back into contention and manufactured an 11-5 run to make it a 23-22 ballgame after another ace from Li. However, Padilla Ayala responded with a big cross court kill for set point, and after a sideout kill from Ethan Talkov, Jasuta converted out of the middle for the 25-23 win. The Pride hit .310 in the second set, with Padilla Ayala accounting for six of Springfield's 15 kills.
The Pride used a 4-1 burst early in the third set to jump out to an 8-4 advantage following an ace by Neary. Holding onto an 11-7 lead, Springfield broke the game open with a 9-3 surge that featured three aces, including a pair by Jasuta, to take a 20-10 lead. NYU got no closer than eight points and the Violets 12th service error gave the Pride the 25-16 win. Springfield would hit .400 in the frame, bolstered by four kills from Figueroa Velez.
Springfield will begin its four-match roadswing when it heads to Harvard on Monday evening at 6 pm in Cambridge.