New Paltz, N.Y. - March 9, 2016 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team had its 20-match winning streak snapped on Wednesday evening after it was swept by host New Paltz in the Hawk Center in a meeting of the top-two ranked teams in the nation. The Hawks prevailed by the set scores of 25-23, 25-21, 25-17.
New Paltz, which was ranked second in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, improves to 20-2 and has now won 18-straight matches. The Pride, which has been ranked the top Division III team in the nation for the last eight weeks, lost to its first Division III opponent of the season and dropped a match for just the second time this season as it now stands at 21-2.
Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) led the Pride with nine kills, four digs, and three blocks, while Trevor Mattson (Redlands, Calif.) added six kills and a pair of blocks. Julian Welsh-White (Collingswood, N.J.) totaled a career-high eight blocks for the Pride, which finished the match hitting just .262, its lowest output of the year.
For the hosts, Joe Norman led all players with 13 kills at a .429 clip, while Anthony Bonilla added 10 kills for the Hawks, which hit .373 in the victory.
The Hawks used tough serving to start the match to keep the Pride off balance as the hosts took a quick 5-1 lead following an ace to force Springfield into an early timeout. The set, which would feature 14 ties, was a back-and-forth affair and Mattson gave Springfield its first lead of the night following an overpass kill at 17-16. Despite hitting at a .500 clip and getting five kills from Vega, Springfield was hampered by eight service errors and would drop the frame, 25-23, following a kill by Norman.
Springfield snagged a 3-1 lead to begin the second set on a Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) ace down the line. The Pride's last lead would come at 10-9 on a New Paltz ball handling error before the hosts put together a 6-2 surge that feature three kills by Bonilla. Welsh-White and Vega combined for a stuff to bring the Pride within 23-21, only to have a kill by Bonilla and block by Andy Fishman give the hosts a 2-0 set lead. Springfield managed to hit just .150 in the set and could not overcome a combined 10 kills from Bonilla and Norman.
In the third, a kill in transition by Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn.) evened things at eight apiece. However, the hosts poured on seven-unanswered points, benefitting from two Norman kills and a pair of Pride attack errors to have its lead balloon to 15-8. New Paltz totaled 17 kills, hitting .520 as a team in the third set and coasted to a 25-17 third set win to complete the three-game sweep.
Springfield will take off for its Spring Break and play again on March 26 when it hosts a tri-match in Dana Gymnasium with Sage and Daniel Webster starting at 12:00 pm.