Newark, N.J. - April 11, 2018 - The Springfield College men's volleyball team had its 28-match winning streak snapped on Wednesday night as it dropped a four-set match to Division I NJIT. The Highlanders earned a 25-22, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23 win over Pride.
Springfield, which over the weekend set a program record for consecutive victories, lost for just the second time this season, and first time since its season opener on January 13. The Pride were again ranked the top Division III team in the country in the 28th-straight AVCA National Poll on Monday, a span that has stretched over 460 days.
With the conclusion of the regular season, Springfield will now await to see if it earns one of two national at-large bids to the 12-team NCAA Division III Championship, as the bracket and field will be released on Monday at 10 am on NCAA.com.
Sergio Figueroa Velez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) led the visitors with 12 kills, six digs, five aces, and three blocks, while Kyle Jasuta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) produced 11 kills at a .529 clip. Mike Neary (Ventura, Calif.) delivered 38 assists and Joseth Irizarry Feliciano (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico) recorded six blocks.
The Pride dug itself an early 14-8 deficit in the first, but would battle back to within a pair of points three times, the last at 24-22 on a kill by Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.), only to drop the next point for a 25-22 setback. The Pride benefited from nine NJIT service errors as the visitors managed just eight kills at a .368 clip in the set, compared to NJIT's 20 kills which came on a .500 hitting percentage.
Figueroa Velez ripped his sixth kill of the second set to tie things at 22, but the Highlanders would side out with a kill and then deliver consecutive blocks to take the 25-22 win. After falling behind 15-11 in the third, Springfield used a 6-1 spurt capped off by a kill from Billy De La Espriella (Northridge, Calif.) to force the Highlanders into a timeout. An ace from Figueroa Velez would give the Pride a 23-19 cushion, and NJIT's sixth attack error allowed the Pride a 25-20 win in a frame where it totaled 14 kills, getting four from both Jasuta and De La Espriella.
Springfield continued that momentum into the fourth, surging out to a 10-3 advantage. However, the hosts regrouped and benefited from five Springfield miscues as part of an 8-0 run as they retook the lead. The Pride answered back and appeared poised to force a fifth set after Jasuta converted at 19-15 as NJIT whistled for another timeout. Out of the break, the hosts used a 6-1 surge to earn a 21-20 cushion, and despite Springfield knotting things at 23-all, back-to-back hitting errors by the Pride derailed its comeback bid.