Chicopee, Mass. - March 22, 2018 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team returned from a 14-day layoff to sweep local-foe Elms College in straight sets on Thursday evening at Picknelly Arena. The Pride won by the scores of 25-17, 25-20, 25-20.
Springfield, which set an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Coaches Poll record after earning the No. 1 ranking for the 25th-consecutive poll, improved to 21-1 on the year with its 21st-straight win. The Blazers fell to 13-5 in the loss.
Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) distributed a balanced attack on the night as the Pride hit .403 in the win, while he stuffed his stat line with 34 assists, seven digs, seven kills, and two aces. Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) recorded eight kills on eight-errorless attempts, Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) chipped in eight kills, and Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) tallied six kills at an .857 clip. Zuvich led the Pride with three blocks, Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) added six digs, and Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) tallied two of the Pride's six aces.
Even at 5-5 in the opening set, a pair of Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) kills bookended a 4-0 burst as Springfield forced the the hosts into a timeout after earning a 9-5 edge. Springfield's lead grew to 16-9 when Padilla Ayala crushed an ace, and consecutive kills from Zuvich pushed the cushion to 21-13. The Pride finished off the 25-17 win when Figueroa Velez crafted his fourth kill of the night around the block, as the Pride finished the frame with 16 kills at a .542 clip.
The Blazers seized a 10-8 advantage in the second set after the Pride's fifth attack error of the stanza, but Springfield would respond to take a 14-13 lead after Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) blistered a service ace. Padilla Ayala delivered another ace out of an Elms timeout to put Springfield ahead, 18-14, and after the Blazers pulled within 19-17, the Pride used a 6-3 push to seal the 25-20 win. Springfield hit .364 in the set, with four players totaling at least two kills.
Elms surged out to an 8-4 lead in the third set following Springfield's third attack error, but a 5-1 burst capped off by back-to-back aces from Gabriel Irizarry Pares tied things up at nine. Elms would own its final lead at 15-14 on a Pride service error before a 4-1 Springfield surge, which was finished off by a huge stuff from Zuvich and Irizarry Feliciano, put the visitors up 18-16. The hosts would climb with 22-20, only to have kills from Gabriel Irizarry Pares and Jasuta provide match point before a solo stuff from Zuvich wrapped up the victory.
Springfield will play its first home match since February 24 when it hosts Lehman and Arcadia in a tri-match in Dana Gymnasium starting at 11 am.