Nashua, N.H. - March 1, 2016 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team earned a straight-set victory over host Rivier University on Tuesday night by the set scores of 25-23, 25-16, 25-17.
Ranked as the top team in the country for the seventh-straight week in today's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coaches Poll, Springfield improves to 20-1 on the season, 17-0 against Division III teams.
Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) tied his career-high with 10 kills at a .833 clip, while Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) chipped in six kills, six digs, three blocks, and three aces for the Pride. Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) collected 33 assists and four blocks, Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was credited with six digs, and Julian Welsh-White (Collingswood, N.J.) added four blocks and four kills.
Springfield's offense struggled to begin the match, with head coach Charlie Sullivan burning both of his timeouts in the first 19 points as the Pride dug itself a 12-7 deficit. The host Raiders lead would grow to 15-9, only to have Springfield pour on a 10-4 surge to even things at 19 apiece after Vega tooled the block in transition. Rivier answered with the next three points to regain a 22-19 cushion, however, Springfield put togther a 6-1 burst to close out the frame en route to the 25-23 win following back-to-back kills by Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico).
The Pride got off to a better start to begin the second set, as Jasuta pounded a ball in transition as Springfield gained a 10-6 lead. The Pride pushed its lead to 12-6 out of the timeout on a Trevor Mattson (Redlands, Calif.) kill, but Rivier climbed within 13-10 on an ace. Springfield out-distanced itself with a 9-3 push and would coast the rest of the way, as Vega's serving kept the Raiders at bay for 25-16 win.
Springfield raced out to a 12-7 in the third set following a Rivier attack error. The Pride remained in control as its lead ballooned to 20-12 on a Jasuta overpass until a 4-1 push push by the Raiders, capped off by an ace, forced Springfield into a timeout leading 21-16. A thunderous block by Jasuta and Vega gave Springfield match point, and Jasuta put away his 10th kill of the match to wrap up the sweep.
Springfield will play again on Friday evening when it heads to New York City to take on Baruch at 7 pm.