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Men's Volleyball Sweeps Rivier In Important In-Region Showdown

Springfield, Mass. - February 9, 2016 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team picked up an important in-region win over Rivier University of Tuesday evening in Blake Arena as it cruised in straight sets. The Pride won by the set scores of 25-23, 25-22, 25-16.

Springfield, which is again ranked the top-ranked Division III team in the country according to today's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coaches Poll, improves to 11-1 on the season, 8-0 against Division III teams.  Rivier, which received votes today's AVCA national rankings, slips to 6-3.

Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) led all players with 15 kills, which came at a .722 clip, while Julian Welsh-White (Collingswood, N.J.) notched a career-best 11 kills on 12 errorless attempts. Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn.) added 10 kills and joined Welsh-White with a team-best three blocks.  Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) continued his strong play directing the Pride's offense as he dished out 43 assists, and guided Springfield to a .468 hitting percentage.  

After falling behind 11-10 to start the match, the Pride rattled off four-straight points, highlighted by three consecutive aces by Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) to force the visitors into the first timeout of the evening.  The hosts didn't let up out of the break, scoring four of the next five points thanks to earn an 18-13 cushion.  Rivier responded with a 8-3 push of its own, capitalizing on six Springfield miscues to knot the set at 21 all.  An ace from Eric Johnson (Tustin, Calif.) would later give the Pride set point, and Welsh-White hammered his fifth kill of the frame to complete the 25-23 win.

After a Springfield error evened the second set at 12, Woods put away a kill to jumpstart a 5-1 surge which put the hosts ahead 17-13.  Rivier would answer back with a 7-2 run to take a 20-19 lead thanks to five Springfield errors, forcing Springfield head coach Charlie Sullivan to burn a timeout.  Even at 21 all, the Pride put together three-straight points, capped off by a Vega overpass kill to earn set point. Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) and Woods put the exclamation point on the win with a block, wrapping up the 25-22 win.

Vega tallied four quick kills to power Springfield to an 12-5 lead to begin the third.  The hosts, which totaled 18 kills hitting .600 in the frame, were never threatened and eased their way to a 25-16 win.

Springfield will play a tri-match in New York City on Saturday when it plays New Jersey City University and host Hunter starting at 1:00 pm.