Fullerton, Calif. - January 17, 2015 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team picked up its first win of the season on Saturday night as it handled Hope International in straight sets to conclude its West Coast trip. The Pride was victories by the scores of 25-23, 25-21, 25-21.
Springfield, which is the three-time defending NCAA Division III National Champion, entered the season ranked third in the AVCA Division III Preseason National Coaches Poll, and is now 1-2 on the year.
Playing its second match of the day and the third in 24 hours, the Pride put together its most complete effort of the trip, hitting at a .354 clip while producing 12.0 team blocks. Keaton Pieper (Dallas, Texas) was masterful on the night, collecting 38 assists and four blocks while running the Springfield offense. In the middle, the duo of Shaun Ermi (Rush, N.Y.) and Jason Mascoe (Uniondale, N.Y.) were equally as impressive, with Ermi totaling seven kills and five blocks while hitting .500 and Mascoe notching eight kills on 12 errorless attempts for a .667 hitting percentage to go along with five blocks of his own. Angel Perez (Naranjito, Puerto Rico) led all players with 12 kills and Matthew Peretto (Vallejo, Calif.) registered a match-best eight digs.
The Pride hit .300 in the opening frame and were led by the play of Mascoe and Ermi, who combined for seven kills and five blocks out of the middle. With things even at 11, Ryan Malone (Chicopee, Mass.) produced a kill and two-straight aces to force the Royals into a timeout. The hosts responded back to tie the set at 18, but Malone and Mascoe combined for consecutive blocks to give Springfield a lead it would not relinquish. Springfield would go on to win the frame, 25-23, after Sean Zuvich's (San Pedro, Calif.) second kill of the evening.
Springfield's offense continued its efficient play in the second, hitting .333. After Hope International cut the Pride's lead to 12-11, Springfield scored seven of the next 11 points to earn a 19-15 lead following another Zuvich kill. The Royals answered with a 6-2 run of their own, but back-to-back attack errors by the hosts gave Springfield set point. Malone ripped his third ace of the evening, finding the back line as the Pride prevailed, 25-21.
Trailing 17-15 in the third, Springfield seized control of the match with a 8-1 surge, capped off by a kill from Mascoe in the middle. Pieper converted a kill to give the Pride match point, and two points later, Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) hammered his fourth kill of the set to give the Pride its first win of the year. The Pride totaled 16 kills in the frame while hitting .429.
Springfield will play its home opener on Saturday, January 24 when it hosts a tri-match with Emerson and Newbury beginning at 4:00 pm.