New York, N.Y. - March 2, 2018 - The top-ranked Springfield College men's volleyball team downed Baruch College in straight sets on Friday evening. The match, which was delayed over an hour due to a winter storm and tough traveling conditions, saw the Pride cruise to a 25-10, 25-11, 25-16 victory.
Springfield has now reeled off a NCAA men's volleyball record 35-straight sets, besting the previous mark of 32 that Hawaii set in 2017. Springfield has also earned 17-consecutive victories as it improved to 17-1 and remain the No. 1 team in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Coaches Poll for the 22nd-straight week dating back to last season.
The duo of Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) and Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) combined to hand out 30 assists as the Pride's offense put on a show with a .547 hitting percentage. Five different players had two aces as Springfield totaled 12 from the service line. Kenny Lawrence (Longwood, Fla.) turned in a match-best 10 kills at a .617 clip, while Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) produced seven kills and both Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) and Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) each had five kills.
In the opening set, Springfield used a pair of aces from Irizarry Feliciano to surge out to a 7-2 advantage and force the Bearcats into a timeout. The Pride totaled six aces in the set and hit .529, with both Lawrence and Padilla Ayala accounting for three kills each, as it coasted to a 25-10 win.
Even at five in the second set, Springfield used a 9-3 surge capped off by an ace from Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) to open up a 14-7 cushion. Springfield limited Baruch to a -.054 hitting percentage and posted 11 kills at a .558 clip, including four from Padilla Ayala.
The Pride earned an early three-point edge in the third set but blew the frame open with an 8-2 burst midway through the stanza, as it took advantage of six Baruch miscues. Lawrence had five of Springfield's 13 kills in the set, and Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) sealed Springfield's 35th-straight set win with a kill for the visitors at 25-16.
Springfield will remain in the Big Apple and play a tri-match with Hunter and Mt. St. Vincent starting at 12 pm.