April 1, 2016 - A balanced offensive attack guided the Springfield College men's volleyball team to a three-set victory over Baruch College on Friday evening in Blake Arena. The Pride won by the scores of 25-18, 25-12, 25-18.
The Pride, which is ranked second in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Poll, improved to 24-2 on the year. Baruch drops to 16-12 with the setback.
Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) directed the Springfield offense to a .485 hitting percentage with 32 assists on the night. The Pride is now hitting .394 on the season, the best team hitting percentage in all of college men's volleyball. Four different players recorded at least seven kills in the victory, with Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn) totaling a match-best 10 kills and six digs while hitting .643. Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) posted nine kills at a .543 clip to go along with four digs and three blocks, and Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) chipped in nine kills of his own. Julian Welsh-White (Collingswood, N.J.) tallied seven kills and joined Garcia Rubio with match high honors in blocks as they each were credited with five.
Baruch was limited to a .014 hitting percentage in the match as Springfield controlled the net with 12.0 team blocks. Brady Ambro registered eight kills, Scott Standring delivered six kills, and Taylor Higgs picked up a match-high seven digs.
The Pride opened up a 7-3 cushion to start the match after a Padilla Ayala overpass kill, only to have the Bearcats answer with a 6-3 push to close within 10-9 following a Standring kill down the line. Springfield responded with four-straight points, including three-straight kills by Vega, to force Baruch into a timeout. The Pride's lead ballooned to 21-13 on a Padilla Ayala ace, and Welsh-White capped off the 25-18 win with his third kill of the evening. Vega totaled six kills in the opening set, while Welsh-White notched three blocks for Springfield, which hit .429.
Springfield fell behind 4-2 in the second, but quickly got back on track with an 8-0 run that was capped off by a Garcia Rubio solo block. The hosts continued to roll, padding their lead to 24-9 on a huge block by Welsh-White and Garcia Rubio before Vega hammered home his eighth kill of the night for the 25-12 win.
The Pride led from wire-to-wire in the third and raced out to 6-2 lead on a Padilla Ayala kill. Baruch would get as close as 8-6 on an Ambro kill before the Pride put together a 6-2 surge that featured a pair of kills by Woods. Springfield, which hit .625 in the stanza and posted 16 kills, didn't let the visitors get closer than four and earned the three-set win following the Bearcast 24th attack error of the night.
Springfield will clash with top-ranked New Paltz on Saturday night at 6 pm, going up against a Hawks team that handed the Pride it's only Division III loss of the season.