Newton, Mass. - March 7, 2017 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team won its 20th-straight match as it defeated Lasell College in four sets on Tuesday evening in an important regional showdown. The Pride won by the set scores of 25-13, 25-16, 19-25, 25-14.
For the eighth-straight week, Springfield was the top-ranked team in the nation according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Coaches Poll, and is now 20-1 on the season. Lasell, which was ranked 12th nationally, dropped to 16-4 as it dropped its third-straight match.
Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) posted a match-high 16 kills to go along with nine digs and four blocks, while Trevor Mattson (Redlands, Calif.) chipped in 11 kills. Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) was credited with 35 assists, Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) totaled a match-high 12 digs, and Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) registered seven blocks.
Springfield put together a 5-0 burst early in the opening set, as three-straight attack errors by Lasell put the hosts in a 6-2 hole. The Pride continued to apply pressure at the net, forcing the Lasells into six attack errors on their first eight swings, as the visitors lead ballooned to 12-3. Following a long rally, Vega found the back corner in transition for an 18-7 lead, before Irizarry Feliciano pounded a kill out of the middle for the 25-13 win. Vega finished the frame with five kills for the Pride.
Tied at five, the Pride poured on a 6-2 burst capped off by consecutive kills by Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) to force the hosts into a timeout trailing 11-7. Springfield didn't let up out of the break, as Mattson crushed back-to-back kills from the right side for the 15-8 cushion, only to have the Lasers battle back within 16-11. That would be as close as the hosts would get as Vega smashed overpass for set point, and a Lasell service error wrapped up the 25-16 win.
Springfield's offense struggled in the third set, and after five attack errors in the early going, head coach Charlie Sullivan burned a timeout facing a 13-8 deficit. Lasell's lead grew to 22-14, and despite a late push to get within five, Springfield dropped just its second set in its last 44 played by a 25-19 decision. The Pride hit just .138 in the stanza, while Lasell totaled 15 kills at a .481 clip.
Garcia Rubio and Irizarry Felicano produced a huge block to give Springfield an 8-3 lead in the fourth, and Vega forced the Lasers into a timeout at 14-6 after he crafted a kill around the block. Vega and Irizarry Feliciano combined for a stuff on the pin to push the Pride's lead to 19-8, and Garcia Rubio delivered an ace on match point to complete the 25-14 victory.
Springfield will play its final match before Spring Break when it hosts nationally-ranked Marymount on Thursday night. The Pride and the 9th-ranked Saints will play at 6 pm.