Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - April 6, 2019 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team cruised to a pair of straight-set sweeps over Vassar and Daemen on Saturday afternoon. The Pride prevailed over Vassar in the opener, 25-19, 25-22, 28-26, before taking down Daemen, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19.
Ranked No. 2 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Poll for the fifth-consecutive week, Springfield pushed its record to 25-2 and has won 10-consecutive matches.
Springfield will play its final match of the regular season when it travels to face Sacred Heart on Wednesday night at 6 pm.
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Springfield 3, Vassar 0 (25-19, 25-22, 28-26)
Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) once again led the offense with a team-best 12 kills, hitting .333, while teammate Eli Irizarry Pares (Baymon, Puerto Rico) added nine kills at a .533 hitting percentage on the pin for the Pride. Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) handed out 23 assists and totaled six digs and two blocks, Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) totaled seven kills, and Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) registered six digs. Springfield hit .308 as a team in the win and limited the Brewers to a .076 hitting percentage.
Clinging to a 15-14 lead in the first set, Springfield used a 4-1 surge to earn a 19-15 cushion and force the hosts into a timeout. The Pride's advantage would grow to 24-18 before the teams traded service errors to complete the 25-19 win. The Pride would total 16 kills as a team at an impressive .500 hitting percentage, with Neary, Eli Irizarry Pares, and Brandow each totaling four kills apiece.
Springfield would open up a 10-6 lead following back-to-back errors by Vassar, only to have the hosts use a three-point burst in the later stages to pull within 20-19 and force the Pride into a timeout. Out of the break, Vassar would commit a service error and Brandow would elevate for consecutive kills to push the Pride's cushion back to 23-19. Springfield would hold on for the 25-22 win as Brandow paced the way with four kills in the frame.
Both Brandow and Eli Irizarry Pares had four kills apiece in the third set, but it was the Brewers that earned set point at 25-24 following Springfield's sixth attack error of the set. The Pride would benefit from a Vassar service error and kill from Brandow to earn match point themselves, and would eventually take the 28-26 win when Vassar committed its 24th attack error of the match.
Springfield 3, Daemen 0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-19)
Plenty of new faces saw action against Daemen, with Rafa Robert-Rodriguez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) hammering a career-best 13 kills at a .556 hitting percentage to go along with six aces and six digs. Matt Lilley (Stony Brook, N.Y.) directed the offense with 30 assists and three aces of his own as six players had at least three kills. Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) led all players with 10 digs and Stiven Cyfeku (Pogradec, Albania) was credited with three blocks. Daemen managed to hit just .028 in the loss.
Springfield put on plenty of pressure from the end line in the opening set, totaling six aces as a team. Holding an 8-7 lead, the Pride blew the stanza open with a 10-4 run and would take the 25-16 win after Lilley pumped back-to-back aces to complete the frame.
Robert-Rodriguez shouldered a heavy load in the second set, erupting for eight kills on 10 swings. With an 9-8 edge, Springfield put together a 5-2 surge to force Daemen into a timeout following an ace from Astin Sesoko (Corona, Calif.). That was all the cushion the Pride would need, as it eased its way to a 25-20 win.
The Pride would limit Daemen to just two kills in the third set and a -.190 hitting percentage as it stormed out to a 15-7 advantage. Springfield would lead by as many as nine points before completing the sweep with a 25-19 third-set win.