Rochester, N.Y. - April 23, 2016 - The Springfield College men's volleyball advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship match after a three-set victory over Stevenson on Saturday evening in Kidera Gymnasium on the campus of Nazareth College. The Pride won by the set scores of 25-23, 25-16, 25-16.
The No. 2 seed in this year's NCAA Championship, Springfield now owns a 28-3 record and will square off with top-seeded New Paltz at 2 pm on Sunday. Stevenson's year comes to a close with a 26-8 this season and advanced to the semifinals as the No. 6 seed.
Dating back to 2008, the Springfield College men's volleyball program has appeared in eight of the last nine national championship matches, including seven-consecutive appearances. The Pride was crowned Molten Invitational National Champions in 2008 and 2010 before capturing NCAA Division III Championships in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) was sensational directing Springfield's offense to a .310 hitting percentage as he dished out 37 assists in the win. Greg Woods (Middletown, Conn.) was both efficient and effective on the offensive side of the ball, totaling a match-best 14 kills at a .579 clip, while Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) contributed 13 kills, five digs, four blocks, and two aces. Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) racked up nine digs and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) notched four kills and four blocks in the middle.
The Pride raced out to a 6-2 lead after Jasuta converted out of the middle and extended its lead to 11-6 as Vega hammered a backrow kill in transition. Springfield led 19-14, but committed four-straight hitting errors to aid a 5-0 Mustang run that evened things at 19-all. Out of a timeout, Jasuta manufacted a kill around the block and Vega crushed a ball cross court, only to have Stevenson later even the set at 22-22. A timely block from Garcia Rubio and Julian Welsh-White (Collingswood, N.J.) gave Springfield the lead for good and Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) sealed the 25-23 win blistering a ball down the line for Springfield's 13th kill of the frame. The set was marred by service errors as the teams commited 17, including nine by the Pride.
Springfield earned an early 4-0 lead thanks to a pair of blocks and forced the Mustangs into the timeout at 8-2 after Woods crushed a ball down the line. Stevenson got as close as 12-7, but a sideout kill from Garcia Rubio fueled a 3-0 burst that put the Pride back in control. Springfield dominated the frame, hitting at a .458 clip thanks to five kills each from Vega and Woods, while limiting the Mustangs to a .083 percentage.
The third set was back-and-forth from the start, as it featured 10 ties and three lead changes. Stevenson's offense was outstanding to start, producing eight kills on its first 14 errorless attempts to give the sixth-seed a 13-9 advantage. Coming out of a Springfield timeout, Woods crafted a ball down the line to jump start a 3-0 run that forced Mustangs into a timeout. Stevenson's last lead would come at 16-15 thanks to Springfield's seventh attack error of the set, before the Pride put together a remarkable 10-0 run to complete the sweep. Led by the outstanding serving of Garcia Rubio and trio of blocks, including two by Jasuta, Springfield earned a spot in the national championship match, with Woods tallying with 14th off the night to wrap up the night.