Springfield, Mass. - March 28, 2019 - Playing for the first time since March 13, the Springfield College men's volleyball team shook off some early rust before cruising to a straight-set win over Cal Lutheran in Blake Arena on Thursday night. The Pride won by the set scores of 25, 25-, 25-15, 25-18.
Springfield, which was again ranked No. 2 in the nation in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll and No. 1 in the East in today's NCAA Division III Regional Rankings, improved to 20-2. In their first-ever meeting with Springfield, Cal Lutheran fell to 11-9. The Kingsmen checked in at No. 8 in the West in the regional rankings.
Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) totaled 27 assists and continued to direct a very balanced offensive attack as five different Springfield players recorded at least four kills. Eli Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) registered 11 digs and eight digs, Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) produced eight kills, five digs, three aces, and two blocks, and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) turned in six kills, two blocks, and two aces. Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) added 10 digs and anchored a defense that held Cal Lutheran to a .000 hitting percentage on the night.
The Pride used a four-point burst early in the opening set to snag a 7-4 edge, only to have the visitors answer back with an 8-4 push as Springfield whistled for a timeout trailing 12-11 after its third-straight miscue. Cal Lutheran would push its lead to a pair of points on six occasions, the last coming at 23-21, before the Pride would get an ace from Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) to force the visitors into a timeout with the score knotted at 23-all. Springfield would continue its late push, taking the 25-23 win after Neary blasted a ball off the block. Springfield overcame 15 combined service and attack errors in the opening set to pull out the victory.
Springfield carried that momentum in the second set, seizing an 8-2 cushion after Brandow buried a ball in transition. The Pride's cushion would grow to 16-7 following the Kingsmen's fifth attack error of the set and Jasuta later bounced his sixth kill of the evening for the 25-15 win.
In the third set, Springfield jumped out a 10-5 cushion after Brandow blistered an ace as Cal Lutheran called for an early timeout. The Kingsmen would get as close as 15-11 before Neary crafted a kill to make it an 18-12 contest. Brandow later elevated for a monster stuff block for match point and Jasuta unleashed a match-sealing ace for the 25-18 win.
Springfield will play for the final time this regular season in Blake Arena on Saturday when it hosts a tri-match with Hunter and Endicott beginning at 1 pm.
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