Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - January 30, 2016 - Led by a pair of dominating performances by Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico), the Springfield College men's volleyball team grinded out a four-set win over Vassar College and eased past Ramapo on Saturday afternoon in Kenyon Hall.
Springfield, which is currently the top-ranked Division III team in the country according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coaches Preseason Poll, improves to 7-1 on the season, 5-0 against Division III teams.
Springfield will play again on Tuesday when it travels to face Emmanuel for a match beginning at 8 pm.
Springfield 3, Vassar 1 (25-21, 14-25, 25-22, 25-18)
In a four-set win over the Brewers, Vega was sensational as he produced 21 kills at a remarkable .769 clip to go along with five blocks, five digs, and a pair of aces. Julian Welsh-White (Collingswood, N.J.) racked up seven kills on nine errorless attempts with a match-high seven blocks, while Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn.) posted 11 kills and five blocks for the Pride. Springfield finished the match hitting .385, with Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) notching 46 assists and seven digs. Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was credited with 10 digs and Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) chipped in 10 kills and six digs.
Springfield's offense hit at a .481 clip in the opening set, but it's defense was the difference as the Pride's 5.5 team blocks limited the Brewers to a .050 hitting percentage. Tied at 7-7, Springfield scored three-straight points to take a 10-7 lead it would not relinquish. The Brewers would get as close as 15-14, but five-consecutive points from the Pride put the set out of reach en route to the 25-21 win. Vega was dominant, posting six kills, while Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) added three blocks.
Vassar stormed out to a 7-1 lead and never looked back in the second set as the Brewers eased its way to a 25-14 win. Springfield was held to a .067 hitting percentage, totaling just eight kills in the set, with three coming off the arm of Padilla Ayala.
The third set featured eight ties and two lead changes, as Vassar took its final lead at 20-18. However, Padilla Ayala and Vega took over the set for the Pride, combining for five kills as the Pride closed out the set on a 7-2 burst for a 25-22 win. Vega finished the frame with six kills for Springfield, which hit .462 as a team.
Vega put on a show in the fourth set, putting kills away on all nine of his swings as he led a Springfield offense that hit .619 in the frame. Holding a 17-15 cushion, Springfield sealed the four-set win with a 8-3 push that featured four kills from Vega.
Springfield 3, Ramapo 0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-14)
13 different members of the Pride saw action in the sweep of Ramapo in Springfield's second match of the afternoon. Vega was once again dominant, recording 10 kills at a .643 clip to go along with five digs and three aces. Garcia Rubio and Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) combined for 29 assists as the Pride hit .303 in the win. Welsh-White stuffed his stat sheet with six aces, four blocks, and four kills and Irizarry Pares totaled 10 digs for a second-straight match.
Following three-straight aces from Welsh-White, the Pride raced out to a 5-1 start in the opening set. Ramapo would get as close as 6-4, but six-straight points by the Pride, highlighted by a pair of Vega aces, put Springfield in control as it eased its way to a 25-16 win. Four different players recorded at least two kills, with Vega producing three kills for the Pride.
Knotted at 17-all in the second set, the Pride put together a 4-1 push, capped off by back-to-back blocks by Welsh-White and Trevor Mattson (Redlands, Calif.). Vega totaled four kills on six errorless attempts in the frame as the Pride edge the Roadrunners, 25-22 in a set that featured 13 ties and five lead changes.
In the final set, Ramapo opened an early 8-5 lead, only to have the Pride put together a 16-2 run thanks to 10 Roadrunner errors to take control of the frame with a 21-10 lead. Springfield hit a match-best .364 in the set, with Vega totaling three of the Pride's nine kills.