Springfield, Mass. - February 1, 2019 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team battled their way to three-set sweep over Marymount in the 32nd annual International Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic on Friday night in Blake Arena. The Pride won by the scores of 25-23, 25-22, 25-20.
The Pride, ranked No. 1 in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Poll, improved to 6-1 and will play in the championship game of the Classic for the ninth-straight season. The loss dropped the Saints to 2-5.
Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) ran the Pride's offense to a .360 hitting percentage as he delivered 27 assists and added 10 digs, while older brother Eli Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) produced 12 kills at a .474 clip to go along with eight digs. Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) registered seven kills on 12 errorless attempts, Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.) notched a team-best four blocks, and Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) was credited with eight digs and seven kills.
For Marymount, Sam Safley totaled a team-best 10 kills, while both Eric Wiles and Emington Shahan had nine kills. Joseph Zanelotti delivered 31 assists for a Marymount team that head .204 in the setback.
Marymount produced six kills on their first seven swings, and a backrow kill from Safley in transition forced the Pride into a timeout trailing 7-3. The hosts would respond with a 6-2 push, getting a kill off the block from Eli Irizarry Pares to knot the frame at 9-9. The Pride would open up a 14-12 cushion when a Saints attack sailed wide as the visitors would burn their first timeout. However, Marymount would regain a 19-17 lead as they put together a 5-1 burst, capped off by an ace from Wiles, which forced Springfield into their second timeout. Facing a 21-19 deficit, Springfield poured on five-straight points, with a Brandow solo stuff bringing the crowd to its feet. The visitors would get as close as 24-23, but the Saints committed their ninth attack error of the set for the 25-23 win.
The Saints again jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in the second set, but a kill from Brandow down the line would pull the Pride within 8-7. Marymount would again earn themselves a three-point cushion at 16-13 on a crosscourt kill from James Knight as Springfield called for their second timeout of the stanza. Springfield would not go quietly, and Parker blistered an ace to even the frame at 17. Out of a Marymount timeout, Springfield didn't let up and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) crafted a kill to kickstart a three-point burst to allow the hosts to gain a 23-20 lead. Springfield would pull away with the 25-22 win in a frame where the Pride hit .500, with Brandow and Eli Irizarry Pares combining for eight kills on 11 errorless attempts.
After a back-and-forth start, Springfield put together a 5-1 surge that was highlighted from an incredible backrow kill in transition from Brandow, to gain a 10-6 lead. The Pride's lead would grow to 15-10 when Brandow hammered a ball in transition, but a 7-1 run by the Saints that was finished off by another kill from Shahan made the hosts call for a timeout leading 18-17. Out of the break, Springfield scored three-straight points, as a pair of Marymount miscues and an ace from Parker allowed the Pride to gain a 21-17 lead and force the Saints into a timeout of their own. Springfield would coast from there, taking the 25-20 win after Neary converted in transition for Springfield's 15th kill of the frame.
Vassar 3, NYU 2
In the nightcap of the 2019 International Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic, Vassar outlasted NYU in five sets to advance to the championship match for the second time in the last three seasons. The Brewers won by the scores of 18-25, 25-19, 25-13, 17-25, 16-14.
Jefferson Waters erupted for 18 kills at a .364 clip to go along with 11 digs and four blocks, while Kevin Ros led the offense with 36 assists as the squad hit .231 on the night. George Diehl chipped in nine kills, and Joe Hendrickson delivered a team-best five blocks.
For NYU, Evan Lindley turned in 14 kills, eight digs, six blocks, and two aces in the setback, while Matin Bikdeli notched 32 assists in leading the Violets to a .144 team hitting percentage. After NYU totaled 15 kills at a .407 clip in the opening set, the Violets managed just 24 kills the rest of the night.