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No. 1 Men's Volleyball Downs No. 7 Wentworth and Hunter In Three Sets

No. 1 Men's Volleyball Downs No. 7 Wentworth and Hunter In Three Sets

Springfield, Mass. - March 4, 2017 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team picked up two more straight-set wins of the season when it bested in-state foe Wentworth and handled Hunter on Saturday afternoon in Blake Arena.

The Pride, which is the top-ranked men's volleyball program in Division III according to this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Poll, improved to 19-1 with the wins. 

The Pride will hit the road on Tuesday to take on in-region rival Lasell for a 6 pm tilt.  

Springfield 3, Wentworth 0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-21)

Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) guided Springfield to a .409 hitting percentage as he handed out 32 helpers to go along with four digs and three blocks.  Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) was dominant on the pin, totaling 15 kills at a .571 clip, while Trevor Mattson (Redlands, Calif.) chipped in 11 kills of his own.  Jonathan Rodriguez Lopez (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) finished with a match-high five blocks and Tucker Evans (Midlothian, Va.) posted three of the Pride's eight aces. 

Springfield was aggressive from the opening whistle from the end line, and its constant pressure resulted in an 11-3 advantage in the early going.  The Pride's lead grew to 17-7 when Vega hammered a ball cross court in transition, and the senior wrapped up the 25-15 win with his sixth kill of the set.  The Pride hit at a .412 clip in the frame and forced the Leopads into seven attack errors and a .000 hitting percentage.  

After falling behind 3-1 to start the second, the Pride strung together a 9-2 spurt to force the visitors into a timeout following an attack error.   Wentworth climbed within 17-14 thanks to a kill off the block, but Springfield would push its lead to 22-15 following consecutive aces from Evans.    Wentworth benefited for three-straight Springfield attack errors to close within 22-19, but the teams would trade points until Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) blasted a kill off the block for a 25-21 win. 

Both teams were efficient on the offensive side of the ball to begin the third set before Springfield broke it open using a three-point surge to extend its 15-14 lead to a 18-14 edge following a big swing from Mattson in transition.  The visitors would get no closer than two and Mattson ripped the Pride's 18th kill of the set to complete the 25-21 win.  Springfield hit .560 in the stanza, with Vega totaling six kills for the hosts.


Springfield 3, Hunter 0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-21)

Springfield put together the single-best three-set hitting percentage in all of college men's volleyball so far this year, hitting at a .692 clip with 39 kills on 52 attempts with just three errors. Luis Garcia Rubio (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) totaled 34 assists, while Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) led the Pride with 12 kills, hitting .688.  Trevor Mattson (Redlands, Calif.) had nine kills on 12 errorless attemps, and Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) registered a career-best six blocks in leading the Pride's defensive efforts which held Hunter to a -.015 hitting percentage on the night.  

Springfield earned a 7-4 lead to begin the match when Padilla Ayala converted for a cross court kill in transition, and Hunter burned its first timeout of the game at 13-7 when Padilla Ayala blistered back-to-back aces.  The Pride pushed their advantage to 21-10 following consecutive aces from Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) and Jasuta converted out of the middle for the 25-13 win.  Springfield produced 12 kills on 16 errorless attempts for a .750 hitting percentage to go along with five aces, including three by Vega.

Vega banged a kill out of the back row at 12-8, but the visitors battled back within 16-14 following a kill in transition.  However, the Pride responded with a 9-2 surge to win the set, highlighted by three straight blocks by Jasuta, before Padilla Ayala crushed a ball down the line for the 25-16 win.  Vega converted kills on all five of his swings for the Pride, which hit .611 in the game.

Leading 12-9 in the third, the Pride closed out the match on a 13-4 run, getting consecutive blocks from Shaun Ermi (Rush, N.Y.) and Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) to seal the 25-13 win.  Springfield hit .722 in the set, with Padilla Ayala notching five kills on five swings.

 Photo by Chris Unger '18