Kenosha, Wisc. - April 26, 2018 - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced Thursday evening that Springfield College senior outside hitter Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was named the 2018 TeamSnap/AVCA Men's Volleyball Division III National Player of the Year.
Figueroa Velez has had a special final season at Springfield and has powered the Pride to the top seed in this year's NCAA Division III Championship. Heading into Springfield's ninth-straight national semifinal appearance, Figueroa Velez leads the team with 244 kills, which have come at a .320 clip, while he also ranks second on the team with 154 digs and third on the team with 39 blocks. An AVCA All-America First Team honoree, the Movement and Sports Studies major has been tremendous from the end line this year, totaling 61 aces, which is the second most in single-season program history. This year, Figueroa Velez hit .381 and averaged 4.50 points per set against AVCA nationally ranked teams, notched 10 matches this season hitting at least .400, and had nine matches with at least three aces.
This marks the the fifth time in program history that the Springfield College men's volleyball program has had the AVCA Division III National Player of the Year.
Last season, Luis Vega was recognized prior the Springfield winning its 10th national title as he produced 372 kills at a remarkable .459 hitting percentage on the outside. In 2014, middle Jimmy O'Leary took home the national honor after leading the Pride to the national title with 247 kills, while leading the nation with a .526 hitting percentage. In 2011, senior middle Cal Palumbo was honored after totaling 258 kills at a .506 clip to go along with 102 blocks and 23 aces, while outside hitter AJ Nally was Springfield's first-ever AVCA Division III National Player of the Year in 2010 after he totaled 466 kills and set the program mark for most digs in a season with 305.
With five AVCA Division III Player of the Year selections, Springfield College has the most honorees in the award's 15-year history.