Springfield, Mass. - February 24 2018 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team bested both Sage and Rivier in straight sets on Saturday afternoon. The Pride opened the day with a 25-19, 25-15, 25-21 victory against Sage before turning in a 25-18, 25-16, 25-13 win over Rivier.
The Pride, who was ranked No. 1 in the country in the latest AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll for the 21st-straight week dating back to last season, improved to 16-1 on the season and have now won 16-straight matches, including their last 32 sets.
After a seven-match homestand, Springfield will now hit the road for its next five contest, beginning with a match this upcoming Friday at Baruch in New York City, which will begin at 6 pm.
Springfield 3, Sage 0
In the win over Sage, Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) totaled 14 kills at a .357 clip, while Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) returned to the lineup to produce 10 kills, four digs, and three aces. Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) handed out 30 assists in leading the Pride to a .378 hitting percentage and added a team-best three blocks.
Springfield broke open an 8-5 game with five-straight points thanks to the tough serving of Neary, only to have Sage battle back to 17-16. However, a kill from Zuvich jump started a 4-0 burst that was finished off by a block from Neary and Chris Parker (East Northport, N.Y.). The Pride sealed the 25-19 win when Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) ripped the hosts fifth ace of the set.
The Pride's offense hit at a .571 clip in the second set, with De La Espriella accounting for six kills. After trailing 5-3 in the early going, Springfield reeled off a 11-2 run that featured six attack errors by the Gators. Sage hit -.050 in stanza and its eighth attack error gave the Pride the 25-15 win.
The third set featured eight ties and two lead changes, the last coming at 18 all following a Springfield attack error. A service error and kill by Parker gave Springfield the cushion it would need, and Neary and Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) delivered a stuff block for conclude the sweep.
Springfield 3, Rivier 0
Going up against a Rivier team that had won its last six matches and 18-straight sets, the Pride hit .449 as a team and ripped 11 aces in the victory. Kenny Lawrence (Longwood, Fla.) was dominant on the right side as he racked up 14 kills at a .478 clip to go along with five digs and three aces. Eli Gabriel Irizarry Pares (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) directed the offense with 33 assists and chipped in five kills, while Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) turned in 10 digs and nine kills. Eli Irizarry Pares (San Juan, Puerto Rico) led all players with 11 digs.
Even at 9 in the first set, Springfield strung together a 6-1 burst that forced Rivier into a timeout following an ace from Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.). Rivier would get no closer than four and Figueroa Velez's fifth kill of the set concluded the 25-18 victory.
Clinging to a 14-12 lead, Springfield scored five-straight points behind the serving of Gabriel Irizarry Pares to have its advantage balloon to 19-12 following a big swing out of the middle from Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico). Springfield had 17 kills on a .517 hitting percentage in the stanza, with five coming off the arm of Lawrence.
Gabriel Irizarry Pares and Irizarry Feliciano teammed for a block to give Springfield a 6-2 edge in the third, and the host lead grew to 17-8 when Figueroa Velez converted in transition. Springfield would eventually cruise to a 25-13 win, as Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Ricardo Padilla Ayala (San Juan, Puerto Rico) closed on the pin for a block.