Springfield, Mass. - March 24, 2018 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team stormed past both Arcadia and Lehman in Dana Gymnasium on Saturday. The Pride started the day with a 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 win over Arcadia before besting Lehman by the scores of 25-15, 25-18, 25-15.
Springfield has now strung together 23-consecutive victories to improve to 23-1 on the year. Springfield has been the No. 1 ranked program in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Coaches Poll for the last 25-straight polls dating back to last season.
Springfield will next prepare for an important in-region contest with Endicott on Wednesday at 6 pm.
Springfield 3, Arcadia 0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-16)
Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) and Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) combined for 27 assists in leading Springfield to a .365 hitting percentage in the victory over the Knights. Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) produced a team-best seven kills on 13-errorless attempts for a .538 hitting percentage, while Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) turned in six kills and two blocks. Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) ripped five of Springfield's 12 aces, and Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was credited with a match-best nine digs.
After an ace down the line from Evans gave Springfield an early 4-2 edge, Arcadia answered back with a 5-1 push to force the hosts into their first timeout of the morning. Out of the break, the Pride responded with 8-1 surge, getting back-to-back blocks from Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) and Irizarry Feliciano to open up a 13-8 advantage. Arcadia would get as close as 19-15, but Springfield would close out the frame on a 6-2 run to take the 25-18 win. De La Espriella had five of Springfield's 10 kills as the hosts hit .474.
Behind tough serving from Evans, Springfield jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the second stanza and would force the Knights to burn both of their timeouts by the time the Pride's advantage had grown to 12-5. The Pride's lead ballooned to 20-12 on an ace from De La Espriella, and Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) delivered Springfield's fifth ace of the set to complete the 25-18 win, a stanza in which the Pride hit .438.
The Knights raced out to a 7-3 lead in the third as three early Springfield miscues made head coach Charlie Sullivan call for an early timeout. The Pride would claw their way back into the contest, taking their first lead at 14-13 after Gabriel Irizarry Pares found the back corner for an ace. Holding on a 17-16 lead, Springfield closed out the match on an 8-0 burst, getting three aces from Evans down the stretch to complete the three-game sweep.
Springfield 3, Lehman 0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-15)
Springfield managed to hit .411 in its second outing of the day as Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) and Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) doled out 27 of the Pride's 34 assists. Kenny Lawrence (Longwood, Fla.) was dominant on the right side, collecting 12 kills at a .435 clip, while Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.) recorded five kills and a match-best four blocks. Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) recorded five aces and Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) was credited with a match-high nine digs.
Springfield manufactured a 9-2 burst early in the opening set to seize a 16-7 advantage after Lawrence hammered a ball in transition. The Pride's lead would balloon to double digits at 22-12 following three-straight aces from De La Espriella, and Lawrence pounded his sixth kill of the set for the 25-15 win. Springfield hit a blistering .600 in the opening stanza was totaled six service aces.
Gabriel Irizarry Pares elevated for a stuff block at 10-6 in the second set to force the Lightning into an early timeout. Shevin Blades (Bridgetown, Barbados) put away an overpass at 14-7, only to have Lehman battle back with a 10-5 run to close within 19-17. However, Blades produced a pair of kills and a solo block as part of a 6-1 surge down the stretch to take the 25-18 win.
Consecutive kills from Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) allowed Springfield to earn a 6-0 lead to begin the third set. An ace by Parker pushed the Pride's lead to 16-6, and Lehman would get no closer that eight, as the Pride pulled away for the 25-15 victory to wrap up the sweep.