Springfield, Mass. - March 30, 2019 - Competing in Blake Arena for the final time in the regular season, the Springfield College men's volleyball team earned a pair of hard-fought victories on Saturday afternoon. The Pride swept Hunter in its first outing of the day before rallying for a five-set victory over nationally-ranked Endicott in five sets in the nightcap.
Springfield, which was once again ranked No. 2 in the nation in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll and No. 1 in the East in the initial NCAA Division III Regional Rankings, improved to 22-2.
The Pride will next travel to Lasell on Tuesday, April 3 for an in-state battle beginning at 7 pm.
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Springfield 3, Hunter 0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-18)
Springfield put together one of its best offensive performances of the season as it hit at a .410 clip in the three-set sweep of the Hawks as Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) handed out 38 assists to go along with a match-high three aces. Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) was sensational on the pin, racking up 15 kills on a .565 hitting percentage, while Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) turned in nine kills hitting .615. Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.) controlled the middle as they combined for 12 kills and six blocks, and Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) was credited with a match-best 11 digs.
The Pride used a 6-1 burst early in the opening set, getting a pair of blocks from Parker and a huge swing from Brandow in transition, to gain a 10-5 advantage and to force the Hawks into a timeout. After an ace from Neary pushed the Pride's advantage to 18-13, the Hawks would produce an 8-3 run to even things at 21. However, Springfield would regroup with three-straight points, as Eli Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) buried a ball cross court for set point, and Jasuta would later hammer his third kill of the frame for the 25-23 win. Springfield hit at a .409 clip in the opening set, with Brandow posting a team-best four kills.
In a second set that featured 14 ties in the early going, Hunter gained an 18-16 cushion on a kill in transition as the Pride called for its second timeout of the frame. Springfield would respond with a 4-1 surge, and Brandow capped off a long rally with a kill to regain a 20-19 edge. Neary later manufactured a kill off the block to force the Hawks into a timeout at 23-21, but the visitors would answer with three-straight points of their own to gain set point. Springfield would side out with a kill from Parker, and the Pride would use a kill and ace from Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares to pull out the 27-25 win.
Both teams were tremendous offensively, as each were hitting above .500 midway through the third set, before Astin Sesoko (Corona, Calif.) hammered a ball cross court for to cap off a three-point burst to give the hsots the 15-12 lead. Springfield continued to click offensively, with Brandow muscling a kill to the floor out of the backrow at 20-13, and the Pride would coast to the 25-18 win as it hit .522 in the stanza.
Springfield 3, Endicott 2 (20-25, 23-25, 26-24, 25-19, 17-15)
In match featuring two of the top three regionally-ranked teams in the East, Springfield pulled off the reverse sweep to earn the five-set victory. Brennen Brandow (Manorville, N.Y.) rebounded for a slow start to erupt for a career-high 24 kills to go along with 10 digs, three aces, and thee blcoks, while Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) turned in 47 assists, 11 digs, seven kills, and two aces. Both Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Eli Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) had 12 kills, and Johjan Mussa Robles (Caguas, Puerto Rico) also registered a career-best performance, totaling 21 digs.
Springfield whistled for a timeout in the opening set as the Gulls seized a 9-5 lead following the hosts third attack error in the early going. Facing a 13-8 deficit, Springfield put together a 6-2 push, as Jasuta put away a kill to pull the Pride within 15-14. However, Endicott would respond with a 4-1 burst of their own to regain a 19-15 cushion, and the Pride would get no closer than two as the Gulls pulled away with a 25-20 win.
Brandow blistered an ace to put Springfield ahead 7-4 in the second set, but Endicott would answer right back with a 6-3 run to earn a 10-8 lead following a Pride attack error. A kill from Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.) would knot things up at 13, only to have the visitors score the next three points as the Pride burned a timeout. Springfield would battle back to snag a 20-19 lead when Astin Sesoko (Corona, Calif.) found room down the line for a kill, but Endicott would score the next four points to gain the 23-20 lead. The Pride would again tie the set at 23, but back-to-back attack errors by Springfield would give the Gulls a 25-23 win.
Springfield put pressure on from the endline to start the third set, racing out to a 12-5 lead after Brandow ripped the Pride's third ace of the frame. However, the Gulls would begin to find their rhythm and manufactured an 11-3 surge as they took a 16-15 lead and Springfield called for their second timeout. Endicott would later have match point at 24-23, but a service error coupled with a huge block by Jasuta and Brandow gave Springfield its first set point of the night. An Endicott attack error allowed the Pride to escape with the 26-24 win in a frame where Eli Irizarry Pares notched six kills.
Brandow put on an offensive show in the fourth set, registering 10 kills on 16 errorless attempts as he powered Springfield to forcing a fifth set. Clinging to an 8-6 lead, Springfield reeled off an 8-3 run as Brandow hammered a kill at 16-9 to force Endicott into a timeout. The Pride would push its lead to six and eventually take the 25-19 win when Jasuta let one rip from the end line for an ace to complete a set where Springfield hit .419 as a team.
Endicott took an 8-6 lead at the switch in the fifth as Springfield called for a timeout, but the Gulls would push their advantage to 11-8 when they converted out of the middle. However, a kill from Jasuta kickstarted a four-point run by Springfield, as Brandow again crushed a kill for the 13-11 lead. Endicott would fight off two match points before Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares elevated for a kill at 16-15 and Parker unleashed a match-sealing ace at 17-15.