Beverly, Mass. - March 28, 2018 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team picked up a four-set win at Endicott College on Wednesday night by the set scores of 20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-23.
Tonight's match pitted the two teams with the top hitting percentages in Division III, as Springfield entered with the best offense in the country (.376), followed by Endicott's hitting percentage of .349 that was second-best nationally. Springfield has now won 24-straight matches to boost their record to 24-1 on the year and has been the No. 1 ranked program in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Coaches Poll for the last 26-straight polls dating back to last season. The loss snapped Endicott's 11-match winning streak as the 14th-ranked Gulls dropped to 17-2 on the season.
Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) each had 11 kills in the win, while Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) added 10 kills. Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) handed out 40 assists as the Pride were held to a .228 hitting percentage.
Springfield committed eight attack errors in the opening set and was limited to a .071 hitting percentage as it dropped a 25-20 decision. After falling behind 15-11, Springfield pulled within 21-18 on a kill by Jasuta, but the hosts used a 4-2 surge down the stretch to become just the second Division III program this season to take a set off the Pride.
The Pride regrouped in the second set, hitting .375 behind four kills from Jasuta. In a frame that featured seven ties, Springfield broke open a 15-all game with a three-point burst that featured a kill and a timely ace from Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico). After the Gulls answered with two-straight points to make it a one-point game, Springfield reeled off a 7-4 run to even the match at a set apiece when Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) and Gabriel Irizarry Pares combined for a block at 25-21.
Even at 10-all in the third set, Springfield used a side-out kill from Figueroa Velez before his tough serving resulted in five miscues from the hosts as the Pride opened up a 16-10 cushion. Endicott would pull within 20-19, but a kill from Gabriel Irizarry Pares and Gull attack error provided Springfield with the breathing room it would need to pull out a 25-22 win. Padilla Ayala turned in five kills in the frame for the visitors.
The fourth set featured eight ties and three lead changes as Springfield leaned on Zuvich and Jasuta, who combined for nine kills on 11-errorless attempts. Tied at 13 apiece, Springfield scored four-straight points, with consecutive aces from Padilla Ayala putting the Pride ahead 17-13. Endicott would battle back within 23-22, but a pair of Jasuta kills sandwich an Endicott point to lift Springfield to the 25-23 win.
Springfield will hit the court again on Saturday at 6 pm when it hosts SUNY New Paltz, taking on the Hawks for the third time this season in a rematch of the last two NCAA Division III Championships.