Springfield, Mass. - April 21, 2018 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team cruised past Lancaster Bible in straight sets in the NCAA Division III Championship Quarterfinals on Saturday evening Blake Arena. The Pride won by the scores of 25-11, 25-18, 25-12.
This marks the ninth-straight season that the Pride has advanced to the national semifinals as Springfield will square off with Vassar on Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm CST at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Pride, which has been ranked the top Division III team in the country in 29th-straight AVCA National Polls, improve to 29-2. Springfield finished the season with a perfect 17-0 record at home and pushed their home-winning streak to 35 matches. Lancaster Bible's season comes to a close with a 22-5 record.
Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) totaled 25 of the Pride's 34 assists as he directed an offense that hit at a .466 clip in the contest. Playing for the final time in Blake Arena, graduate student Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) was outstanding, producing 11 kills on a .625 hitting percentage to go along with nine digs. Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) registered seven kills, five aces, four digs, and three blocks, and Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) added seven digs as part of a Springfield defense that limited the Chargers to a .027 hitting percentage.
A night after setting a NCAA Division III Tournament record with 41 kills, LBC's Nate Miller totaled 13 kills at a .049 hitting percentage. Kole Horst totaled six digs, Daniel Kreider was credited with four kills and four blocks, and Kaleb Answell produced 20 assists.
Springfield got off to a terrific start in the match, racing out to a 4-0 lead after Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) buried a kill in transition. After the Chargers answered with a 4-2 run, Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) blistered an ace to give the Pride a 9-4 edge. Lancaster would climb within 13-10, only to have the Pride pour on a 5-0 burst that was capped off by a kill down the line by Figueroa Velez. Keider would then side out for the Chargers, but Springfield would score the final seven points of the frame, with Figueroa ripping an ace for the 25-11 win. The Pride hit .476 in the win, with five players totaling at least two kills, while Lancaster was limited to a -.042 hitting percentage.
Three-straight aces from Figueroa Velez allowed Springfield to take an 8-4 lead in the second. The Pride continued its pressure, gaining an 18-8 cushion on a huge stuff from Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Figueroa Velez. The Chargers responded with an 8-4 run, but Jasuta came up with three kills down the stretch to seal the 25-18 win.
Leading 5-4 in the third, Springfield benefited for a 3-0 burst that was capped off by an overpass kill from Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.). Following a service error on the ensuing point, the Pride manufactured nine-straight points, as the visitors committed five attack errors, which gave the hosts a commanding 17-5 lead. Springfield hit .647 in the frame, and Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) wrapped up the win with a big swing from the pin at 25-12.