Fairfield, Conn. - April 10, 2019 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team closed out the regular season with a five-set victory over Division-I foe Sacred Heart on Wednesday night in the Pitt Center. The Pride won by the set scores of 20-25, 25-18, 25-17, 19-25, 15-12 to capture its 11th-straight win.
After five weeks of being ranked No. 2 in the country in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Poll, Springfield was tied for first in the nation in this week's poll and now stands at 26-2 on the year. The Pride will now await its postseason fate when it tunes into the NCAA Division III Championship Selection Show, which will air at 10 am on Monday, April 15 at NCAA.com.
Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) totaled a team-best 14 kills and eight digs, while Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) added 11 kills and seven digs of his own. Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) stuffed his stat line with eight kills, hitting .583, to go along with 36 assists, six digs three aces, and three blocks, and Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) was credited with 10 digs. Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.) contributed five blocks and three aces and Rafa Robert-Rodriguez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) chipped in nine kills.
In the opening set, Sacred Heart used a 9-3 run to break open a 7-7 contest and seize a 16-10 edge. The Pride would manage to hit just .074 in the frame as the Pioneers eased their way to a 25-20 win.
Springfield rattled off six-straight points in the early goings of the second set, highlighted by a pair of aces from Parker, to gain a 10-7 lead it would not relinquish. The Pride totaled 13 kills at a .345 clip in the stanza, including four off the arm of Neary, to knot the match up a set apiece following a 25-18 win.
The Pride continued to roll in the third, hitting .360, and holding the hosts to just six kills on a .000 hitting percentage. Clinging to a 15-14 lead, Springfield erupted on a seven-point run, getting a stuff block from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares for the comfortable 22-14 edge. The Pride would eventually take the 25-17 victory on a big swing from Robert-Rodriguez.
The Pioneers responded in the fourth, forcing the Pride into eight attack errors and just a .037 hitting percentage. Despite Springfield racing out to a 7-2 lead, Sacred Heart would rattle off five-straight points down the stretch to take a 22-17 lead and force a fifth set with a 25-19 victory.
Trailing 8-6 at the switch, the Pride use a huge kill from Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and an ace from Robert-Rodriguez off the tape to even things up. Springfield would later benefit from three-straight miscues from the Pioneers to gain a 13-10 edge, before Parker and Brandow combined for a block for match point at 14-12. Brandow then went back to the endline and unleashed the Pride's 11th ace of the night to complete the win.
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