Springfield, Mass. - March 13, 2019 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team earned a four-set win against New Paltz in a showdown between a pair of nationally-ranked teams in Blake Arena on Wednesday evening. The Pride prevailed by the set scores of 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23.
Springfield, which was again ranked No. 2 in the nation in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, improved to 19-2 as it bested the Hawks for the second time this year. New Paltz dropped to 14-6 with the loss.
Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) recorded 32 assists, 11 digs, five kills, and four aces, while his older brother Eli Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) contributed a team-best 11 kills. Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) added four kills, five digs, three aces, and three blocks, and Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) totaled eight digs, seven kills, and three blocks as the duo highlighted a defensive effort that limited New Paltz to a .130 hitting percentage.
New Paltz was led by Nick Smith and Aaron Carrk, who each had 13 kills in the loss. Matthew Grace was credited with 38 assists and Robert Nolan turned up nine digs. The Hawks combined for 51 attack and service errors and took 43 more swings than the Pride as Springfield totaled 45 digs compared to the visitors 25.
Brandow and Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.) combined for a block in the middle to give Springfield an 8-2 lead in the opening set as the Hawks committed three attack errors on their first eight swings. The Pride's cushion would grow to 15-5 when Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares ripped an ace and back-to-back kills from Brandow in system gave the Pride the 25-16 win. Springfield hit .412 in the first set, while holding the visitors to a -.033 clip.
Grace crafted an ace early in the second as the Pride whistled for a timeout trailing 7-4. The Hawks, who had kills on each of their first seven swings, expanded their lead to 10-5 on Carrk's third kill of the set, but a kill in transition from Brandow capped off a 6-3 push as the Pride pulled within 13-11. An overpass kill from John Ronan pushed the visitors advantage back to 17-12, but a three-point burst from the Pride would force the Hawks into a timeout of their own. Springfield would continue their late push, gaining a 22-21 edge behind the tough serving of Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares, but the Hawks would score four of the final five points of the set to take the 25-23 win.
Brandow elevated for a solo block on the pin to give the hosts a 14-10 lead following New Paltz's sixth attack error of the third set. Eli Irizarry Pares put away an overpass kill at 19-14, and after New Paltz pulled within 20-17, Springfield answered with a kill from Brandow and ace by Jasuta to regain a five-push edge. The Hawks would respond with four-straight points to make it a 23-22 game on a block by Carrk and Ronan, but the Pride would use two kills from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares down the stretch to take the 25-22 win.
New Paltz stormed out to a 8-1 lead to begin the fourth, taking advantage of four-straight Springfield miscues. The Pride would get within 12-10 when Brandow blistered an ace, only to have the Hawks use a 3-1 run to snag a 15-11 edge. Brandow would again come up big for the hosts, sealing for a stuff block to force the Hawks into a timeout after their lead was trimmed to 16-15, and another block from Parker and Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares would even things at 18-all. New Paltz would regain a 21-19 lead following consecutive kills from Smith, but Eli Irizarry Pares would find space down the line to tie things back up at 21. Two-straight attack errors by the Pride allowed the visitors to take a 23-21 advantage, but Springfield answered back with a block from Jasuta and Eli Irizarry Pares and an ace from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares as the visitors called for a timeout. Out of the timeout, Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares delivered another ace off the tape, and a New Paltz attack sailed wide on match point for the 25-23 win.
The Pride will be on Spring Break next week before returning to Blake Arena for a match on March 28 at 6 pm in their first-ever meeting with Cal Lutheran.
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