Springfield, Mass. - April 28, 2017 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team swept Hunter College in the NCAA Division III Championship Quarterfinals on Friday afternoon at Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College. Springfield won by the scores of 25-13, 25-13, 25-16.
Springfield improves to 27-2 on the year and will play in the NCAA Championship Semifinals on Saturday at 4:00 against the winner of Dominican and Stevens. Hunter, the No. 8 seed, concluded its season with a 28-7 record.
The Pride entered the match with the top team hitting percentage in all of college volleyball, owning a .419 percentage, and hit .473 in the three-set victory. Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) totaled 32 assists in the win, while Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) totaled 11 kills on 14 errorless attempts for a .786 percentage from the pin. Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) recorded six of Springfield's 15 aces, Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) added eight kills out of the middle hitting .889, and Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was credited with seven digs.
Springfield grabbed an early 5-2 advantage when Padilla Ayala converted out of the back row and Hunter burned its first timeout of the afteroon after Vega ripped an ace down the line at 9-4. Padilla Ayala sandwiched a pair of aces around a Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) kill in transition to make it to 16-7, but the Hawks would climb within 19-13 on a Pride attack error. The Pride responded with six-straight points, highlighted by a pair of aces from Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico), to take the set, 25-13. Springfield hit .500 as a team in the stanza, with Padilla Ayala totaling five kills and three aces.
Hunter earned a 4-3 lead in the second, but the Pride regained a 7-5 edge when Jonathan Rodriguez Lopez (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) bounced an overpass. Springfield's lead would grow to 17-10 thanks to some tremendous serving from Padilla Ayala and the Springfield forced the visitors into a timeout at 21-12 when Rodriguez Lopez converted out of the middle in transition. Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) then delivered a pair of aces out of the break to make it an 11-point lead, and Rodriguez Lopez hammered a ball out of the middle for the 25-13 win. Springfield totaled 14 kills on 28 errorless attempts in the frame, with Vega producing five kills.
Consecutive aces from Padilla Ayala allowed the Pride to gain a 6-3 lead in the third and Evans cranked an ace at 10-5. A kill from Jasuta at 15-9 forced a media timeout, and after Sullivan went to his bench at 16-10, Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) brought the home crowd to its feet with a big swing out of the backrow following a long rally. Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) sealed the win in impressive fashion, registering Springfield's 15th ace of the match for the 25-16 win.