Nashua, N.H. - January 21, 2017 - Competing against Division III competition for the first time this season, the Springfield College men's volleyball team swept Rivier and Endicott on Saturday evening.
Springfield, which is the top-ranked team in the nation according the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Poll, improved to 3-1 on the year.
The Pride is set to head to New York City for three matches, starting on Friday at Baruch starting at 6 pm before take on New York University and Mt. St. Vincent on Saturday beginning at 2 pm at the Brooklyn Athletic Facility.
Springfield 3, Rivier 0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-6)
The Pride hit .451 as a team as Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) directed the offense with 32 assists, while Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) each totaled nine kills, with Jasuta hitting at an incredible .727 clip. Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) had a great all-around performance, racking up seven digs, six kills, and six service aces, and Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was credited with a match-best 12 digs.
Facing a 5-3 deficit in the opening set, Springfield rattled off four-straight points to take the lead for good. The host Raiders climbed with 16-14 before a back row kill from Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) and a Padilla Ayala ace gave Springfield some breathing room at 18-14. Rivier would get no closer than three as Springfield hit .407 in the set, with Jasuta terminating a swing in the middle for the 25-20 triumph.
After a back-and-forth start to the second set, Rivier used a 4-1 burst to earn a 15-12 lead before Springfield answered with four-straight points, getting a huge swing from Rodriguez Lopez in the middle to go back on top. The teams would then be tied seven times, the last coming at 23-all, and out of a Springfield timeout, consecutive Raider miscues allowed the Pride to win, 25-23.
The visitors carried that momentum into the third, surging out to a 9-2 lead following another big swing from Rodriguez Lopez. Padilla Ayala closed out the match on an eight-point scoring run from the end line, including four aces, with back-to-back scores from the end line completing the 25-6 win. Springfield hit at a .579 clip in the stanza while holding Rivier to just two kills on a -.100 hitting percentage.
Springfield 3, Endicott 0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-12)
Springfield put together its best offensive showing of the early season, posting a .531 team hitting percentage behind the efforts of Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico), who notched 32 assists. 17 different players saw the court for the Pride, with 10 players producing at least one kill. Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) paced the Pride with seven kills, five aces, and four digs, Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) registered six digs, and Jonathan Rodriguez Lopez (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) added six kills on six swings.
Leading 3-2 in the opening set, Figueroa Velez ripped a trio of aces as part of a 6-0 burst to give Springfield a comfortable 9-3 lead. The Gulls would get as close as 13-7 following consecutive Springfield hitting errors before a three-point surge that featured a kill and ace from Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) forced Endicott into a timeout. The Pride coasted to a 25-13 win as it hit at its best clip of the day, a .556 team performance.
Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) converted out of the middle as Springfield earned an 11-6 advantage to start the second, only to have Endicott answer with a 5-2 push to close within a pair. However, the Pride used a 6-1 run, highlighted by a pair of aces from Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) to balloon its lead to 19-12. Springfield would finish the set with 15 kills on a .500 hitting percentage en route to the 25-15 win.
In the third, Springfield held the Gulls to a .000 team hitting percentage for the second-straight set as it eased its way to a 25-12 win to complete the sweep. Leading 13-9, Springfield reeled of a 7-1 run thanks to four Endicott hitting errors, and Shaun Ermi (Rush, N.Y.) sealed he win with back-to-back aces to bring Springfield's match total to 13 winners from the end line.