Springfield, Mass. - April 3, 2018 - When the Springfield College men's volleyball team hosts the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Blake Arena on Thursday, April 5 at 6 pm, the video stream airing on SpringfieldCollegePride.com will be broadcast in Spanish.
The broadcast is part of an effort to highlight the ongoing relief efforts in Puerto Rico needed after Hurricane Maria swept through the Caribbean in late September 2017, causing catastrophic damage in the U.S. Virgin Islands and across Puerto Rico, where it was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in more than 80 years. Nearly 200 days since the storm, it is estimated that 68,000 Puerto Ricans still don't have power. At the Puerto Rico Relief Awareness Game, Springfield College Men's Volleyball/Unidos por Puerto Rico t-shirts will be for sale for $10, while donations for Puerto Rico Relief Awareness can be made here.
Springfield's roster has eight members who hail from Puerto Rico, including Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares from Bayamon, Johjan Mussa Robles from Caguas, Joseth Irizarry Feliciano from Adjuntas, while Eli Irizarry Pares, Ricardo Padilla Ayala, Rafa Robert, Sergio Figueroa Velez, and graduate assistant coach Alex Irizarry are from San Juan.
Springfield College's men's volleyball team boasts the largest contingent of Puerto Rican student-athletes of any volleyball team, male or female, that compete at the any of the NCAA Division I, II, or III levels. The Pride have been the top-ranked Division III program in the AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll for the last 27 polls dating back to last season, and are currently riding a 25-match winning streak.
A Springfield College student who originally hails from Puerto Rico will be the voice of the broadcast for Springfield College, nearly two years since he did the Pride's first-ever broadcast in Spanish in 2016. Javier Cruz will be performing the play-by play duties and is a doctoral student at Springfield College in the Teaching and Administration program. A former middle blocker who played at the International American University of Puerto Rico, Cruz earned a Bachelor's degree in 2005 in Secondary Physical Education. The Mayaguez, Puerto Rico product also earned a Masters degree in Sport Training Performance from the same institution in 2009.